January 2022

Black Health Chronicle

Dear Black & African American Washingtonians,

Welcome to the first issue of the Black Health Chronicle, curated by the Community Relations and Equity team at the Washington State Department of Health. As we work to keep communities safe & healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to continue to provide timely, accurate, accessible, and culturally relevant information to communities. The Black Health Chronicle is a platform to share COVID-19 and general health information that directly impacts our lives and communities.

We created a resource that builds up the Black community by highlighting how powerful, resourceful, resilient, and collective we are. Racial, structural & social inequities deeply impact and continue to put our community at an increased risk for long-term health conditions, which leads to increased risk for severe illness and hospitalizations from COVID-19. Thank you to those supporting the Black community in Washington State during these difficult times. The Washington State Department of Health stands with you and is determined to engage and invest in the Black community long-term.

 In this first issue, you will find the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, real-time data and a community partner highlight.

If you would like to contribute to the Black Health Chronicle, request upcoming topics, or would like to have your organization featured in one of the publications, please reach out to us at  BlackHealthChronicle@doh.wa.gov


The Washington State Department of Health Community Relations & Equity Team.

Editorial Team
Writers: Rael Odengo, DeeSha Connor, Michealea Lemons
Reviewers: Christymarie Jackson, Remeka Jones, Kathleen Meehan.
Additional Contributors: Department of Health Black &African American Employee Resource Group, Fathiya Abdi
Graphic Designer: Irene Gering

COVID-19 Vaccines: Complete Your Series and Get Boosted

This life-altering pandemic has changed many things in our lives, and it’s restriction continues to affect us all. COVID-19 is continuously affecting the lives of our community members; whether financially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or physically, we may all know someone impacted by COVID-19. As we enter this new year, let us remain hopeful and steadfast that we will get through this together, continuing to care for each other. Now is a good time to protect yourself, your family, and your community from a potentially serious and long-term COVID-19 infection.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and are the most effective way to prevent serious illness and death associated with the highly contagious virus. In clinical trials, all three vaccines were highly effective in reducing the spread of the virus to others and decreasing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. We now have three vaccine options to choose from: ModernaPfizer BioNTech (Pfizer), and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J).

Moderna (ages 18 and up) and Pfizer (ages 5 and up) require two doses to be considered fully vaccinated. Johnson & Johnson (ages 18 and up) is a single-dose vaccine recommended for people who cannot or do not want to get one of the other two. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends mRNA vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, over the J&J vaccine. The J&J vaccine has a rare but life-threatening risk of blood clots. Completing the recommended vaccine series dose provides the best level of protection from the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends COVID-19 booster shots for everyone 12 and older. Although COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death, the protection does decrease over time. The CDC and DOH recommend getting a booster shot, which can increase your immunity and continue supporting your body’s response and defense against COVID-19.

Wondering if you can mix and match doses? The answer is yes! It is completely safe to mix and match booster doses, and in fact, it’s recommended to get a dose of Pfizer or Moderna for your booster if you got Johnson & Johnson as your initial shot.

Not sure where to get vaccinated? We’ve got you covered. Try out this easy vaccine locator to schedule your 1st, 2nd or booster dose appointment.

Interested in bringing vaccines to your community?  Check out the Care-A-Van and submit a request form to bring this mobile vaccine clinic to an event or organization.  Those who are homebound can also get assistance. Their caregivers can submit a request through this form: Home Based Vaccination Form (wa.gov) or call 1-833-VAX-HELP (833-829-4357), then press #.  Language assistance is available.

Race and Ethnicity Trend Information on COVID-19 is Available on the Dashboard

The Washington State Department of Health changed theCOVID-19 Data Dashboardto improve how race and ethnicity data is analyzed and shared. Specifically, the dashboard provides statewide cases, hospitalization, and testing trends by race and ethnicity for the underserved communities such as the Black/African American population in Washington State.

The Black/African American COVID-19 Data on the Dashboard

The Vaccine Collaborative: A Bridge Connecting the Community and the State Public Health

Among the many lessons learned by the  Washington state Department of Health and community partners throughout the COVID-19during the COVID-19 pandemic by community partners and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is the need for effective community engagement and collaboration.

The Black/African American community has been amongst  many communities that have been hit the hardest throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. DOH launched the Vaccine Collaborative to facilitate engagement between communities impacted by COVID-19 and health care organizations, public health, and other partners to inform best practices for vaccine implementation and learn how to reduce barriers.

“For a very long time, the government felt so far away from its people,” says Zyna Bakari, the Public Health Manager at the Urban League program in Seattle, Washington. “DOH set up the Vaccine Collaborative, a forum that has enabled us to facilitate real-time conversations around vaccine uptake and emerging barriers while also closing the communication gaps that existed in the previous years.”

The Collaborative has played a pivotal role in coordinating the pandemic response efforts by ensuring appropriate communications between the frontline health experts and community organizations. Community organizations have been empowered to show early leadership in mitigating the outbreak. “There is a sense of empowerment, and we advise DOH on what is not working and share our ideas about how our communities can be empowered within a healthcare system,” said Zyna.

Zyna also notes that her organization, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, has built a lot of relationships and networks with other Black community organizations throughout Washington through the Collaborative. “Before the pandemic, we may not have known about each other, but now there are so many connections formed. Through the Vaccine Collaborative, I was able to learn about so many organizations, organizers, and people,” She states. “As a member of the Black community, it excites me every day about what we will be able to do and build together as a community, now that we’re connected more than ever before.”

     “As a Black community, it excites me every day

   about what we’ll be able do to do together

           and build together as a community now

that we’re more connected than before.”

Black/African Americans living in Washington State are one community, amongst many, that continue to be underrepresented and heavily impacted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Confirmed hospitalizations and death rates are twice as high among the Black population compared to the white population. The Urban Health League program is one of the 47 community-rooted organizations that have received funding from DOH to lead and engage members of underrepresented communities.

Community-based organizations are funded to address and combat misconceptions & concerns around COVID-19 vaccines and provide information that will promote vaccine uptake. The Urban League developed a guide and campaign called, Black Health Matters – Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, to support the Black community with having open and honest conversations about COVID-19 and vaccines. The Urban League also facilitates community-led forums, leads outreach and engagement efforts, and builds relationships with trusted Black medical providers and messengers to support an open and ongoing dialogue with the community throughout the pandemic.


Seeking Birth Equity Facilitators and Application Reviewers- Apply by January 14th

The Washington State Department of Health is seeking one or more facilitators to guide future funding opportunities for community-based perinatal health improvement projects.

See the attached Birth Equity Project Community Engagement Facilitator Request For Applications for more details:

DOH is accepting applications until January 14th. For questions, email Perinatal Unit Manager Caroline Sedano.

DOH is also seeking individuals to participate in the review of submitted applications to this funding announcement. Reviewers should have professional or lived experience with Black, Pacific Islander, or American Indian/Alaska Native birthing communities.

If you would like to participate in the selection process, please contact Caroline Sedano.

Funding: Vaccine Equity Initiative All In Washington - Apply by January 14th.

All in Washington (AllInWA) announced their most recent funding opportunity for the Vaccine Equity Initiative. Grants can be used for culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate outreach and education, help fund mobile pop-up and door-to-door vaccine efforts, and address transportation or technology barriers. Please see application details here: Application-Questions-All-In-WA-Vaccine-Equity-Initiative-Winter-2021-2022.pdf (allinwa.org) and/or visit Grants + Grantees – All In WA – Child Care Initiative.

Investing in Community-led Efforts
Community Engagement Efforts

The Department of Health is currently working in close collaboration with the Black community, which includes African Americans, Somali, Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Gambian communities, to address health disparities, language barriers, and inequities. Between October 2020 and November 2021, the total community investments to ensure our communities have a voice in Washington State was more than $1,679,535.

You can access more information on funded partners leading COVID-19 outreach and engagement efforts by visiting our Community Partners Page .

COVID-19 Testing

Visit the Department of Health’s website to find more information on COVID-19 tests and testing sites.

Transportation Resources

The Department of Health’s Equity and Social Justice team developed a COVID-19 Transportation Resource Document to support communities and partners with access barriers to vaccines and testing sites.  DOH will continue to update the document with additional transportation resources on an ongoing basis.  If you would like to share additional transportation resources or have questions, please send contributions and inquiries to BlackHealthChronicle@doh.wa.gov .

For more information: You can reach us at BlackHealthChronicle@doh.wa.gov.