SEDRO-WOOLLEY — As the sounds of a bustling farmers market and the aroma of fresh popcorn filled the air Wednesday, people strolled into a shaded gazebo at Hammer Heritage Square to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
No appointments were required. Some came to the late afternoon/evening clinic from work and others from sports practices.
The clinic was part of Skagit County Public Health’s new focus on pop-up vaccination clinics in locations such as parks and churches, and at community events.
“Our new motto (is) ‘make it quick, make it easy, make it convenient,’” said Danica Sessions, communications coordinator for Skagit County Public Health.
The pop-up clinics are playing a role in moving the county closer to its goal of having 50% of county residents fully vaccinated by June 15.
As of Thursday, about 43% of county residents are fully vaccinated, according to state data. About 53% of residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated.
Jose Duarte was one of the 34 who got vaccinated at the farmers market. The 23-year-old Sedro-Woolley resident said he hadn’t gotten vaccinated earlier because he works during the day and hadn’t had the time to get vaccinated after work.
“I decided to come today and get it over with,” he said.
Duarte said he wanted to get vaccinated to be safe, and is looking forward to no longer having to wear a mask.
Keegan Pratt, 12, of Clear Lake, also got a shot.
“Why not?” he said. “There’s no reason not to get it.”
Keegan’s mother, Heather, said she had heard about the clinic and asked her son if he wanted to get vaccinated. They stopped by the clinic after Keegan’s track practice.
“It was convenient, nice it was here, and we didn’t have to wait in line,” Heather Pratt said.
Another plus was Keegan and brother Lachlan, 4, got to munch on popcorn from the farmers market.
The county tries to have both the two-shot Pfizer (available to those 12 and older) and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson (available to those 18 and older) at the pop-up clinics.
“We’ve been really pleasantly surprised with the number of people who have come to these pop-up clinics,” Sessions said. “I would say our biggest indicator of the success of this pop-up model is anecdotally, the things that people have shared.”
She said many — including those who were on the fence about getting vaccinated — cite convenience as a main factor in deciding to get vaccinated.
She said the county’s mass vaccination site at the fairgrounds is not a central location for many, and county staff figure that those highly motivated to get vaccinated have already done so.
“We feel that we are reaching a demographic or population that we probably were missing with our mass vaccination model,” Sessions said.
The county’s mass vaccination site will close permanently June 26.
Sessions said those who receive their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine at a pop-up clinic have two options for a second shot.
They can receive a second shot at a follow-up clinic at the same location 21 days later, or if no follow-up clinic is scheduled, Public Health staff will connect them with a second dose from another provider.
Eight more pop-up clinics are scheduled through July 24.
Vaccinations are free for those with or without insurance. Spanish-speaking staff are on site to assist non-English speakers.
For a current list of pop-up vaccination clinics, visit skagitcounty.net/Departments/HealthDiseases/coronavirusvaccine.htm or facebook.com/SkagitPublicHealth