Swedish Vaccination Clinic Announces Closure

Swedish Vaccination Clinic Announces Closure

After providing community members with about 48,000 doses of the COVID-19 Moderna and Pfizer vaccines on Seattle University’s campus, the Swedish Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Seattle U announced its closure. Feb. 26 was the last day of operation at the vaccination clinic as the state shifts to offering mass vaccination sites.

Students received an email Feb. 23 sharing the announcement from Swedish saying the clinic would close. Through the clinic, Swedish has administered over 85,000 vaccines in the Campion ballroom since its opening in January.

“The Swedish Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Seattle U, which began in January, will conclude its operations on our campus this Friday, Feb. 26. With the state focusing more on mass vaccination sites, the Swedish clinic is serving as a model for those efforts,” the email stated.

Because of the partnership between Swedish and Seattle U, many students were able to volunteer at the clinic and receive the vaccine. As Swedish announced the closing of the clinic, students that volunteered have been able to reflect on their experience. 

Second-year Criminal Justice student Jennifer Huffman shared how she participated as a data entry volunteer.  

“Volunteering at the clinic was a great way for me to give back to the Seattle community. With that role in data entry, I was able to meet many vaccinators and people receiving the vaccine,” Huffman said. “I absolutely loved getting to talk with people, not just about the vaccine and COVID-19, but about anything in life. It brought a sense of normalcy into my life again, just being able to have conversations with people.”

Third-year Math major Zach Gonzalez received his second dose of the Moderna vaccine on the clinic’s last day of operations. Gonzalez reflected on the unique opportunity the clinic provided for Seattle U students.

“I think the physical and mental ‘shield’ that the vaccine can provide hasn’t materialized for me yet. Regardless, I recognize how lucky I am to have such rare access to something that’s so important to defeating the pandemic,” Gonzalez said. 

Not only were Seattle U students able to get the vaccine after volunteering, but the clinic site was in one of the campus residence halls. While this location provided everything necessary for the clinic’s operations, including access to parking and large spaces for check-in, waiting in line and waiting post-vaccination, residents of Campion began to have some concerns with the clinic as hundreds of people entered their building every day. 

A group of residents signed a petition led by student Samuel Seawright. Seawright was unable to be reached for an interview regarding the letter. However, President Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J. commented on the concerns expressed by students. 

We had a letter that was sent by a student with about 100 signatures from students that reside in Campion about difficulties they were having over the lack of safety measures in place in terms of where the people that were working the vaccine clinic congregated in the lobby,” Sundborg said. “We immediately went to work with Swedish, talked through with them all of the different issues that were brought up by the students, and then worked out a way in which we could assure that wouldn’t continue.”

After confronting Swedish with the students’ concerns, Sundborg, Provost Shane Martin and Vice President for Student Development Alvin Sturdivant sent a letter back to Seawright sharing how they addressed the concerns, including enforcing proper social distance protocols in line, reducing the congregation in the lobby and ensuring the entrance and exit to the building remained as free as possible. 

Sundborg shared that he received a letter of gratitude from Seawright for the measures the administration had taken with Swedish to mitigate the concerns brought forth in the initial petition. Sundborg also commented on the fact that the students were not trying to shut down the clinic, rather they wanted more safety protocols to be implemented. 

“They were very articulate in saying that they understand the importance of the clinic and the good it does for the community, they just thought there was a set of problems here that need to be addressed,” Sundborg said. “They were not challenging that there be a clinic at Seattle U, they just wanted it to be carried out in a way that was safer and not as disruptive for their residential life.”

As the clinic is no longer in operation, Campion will return to housing only residents, and community members will be able to appreciate the opportunity that Seattle U had on its campus over the last two months. Seattle U students are grateful for the chance to get vaccinations as well as serve their community. Sundborg shared his personal appreciation for the clinic and Seattle U’s partnership with Swedish, noting the historical significance of the event. 

“I’m grateful and I’m proud as president that we have been able to do this,” Sundborg said. “It will be remembered for years and years. There’s so many people that will be grateful for the clinic being available to them and that it was so welcoming and efficiently done. It is a high point for Seattle University in its service to the community.”