The Husky Task Force: Gathering members to vaccinate the pack

The Husky Task Force is looking for new members to help.

The Husky Vaccine Task Force, led by the Healthcare Leadership students, is on a mission to vaccinate members of the community. Though around 21% of Pierce County residents are vaccinated, the Task Force believes they can pump those numbers up by recruiting volunteers from the community. UW Tacoma Task Force Members explained how the task force plans to healthify the campus and the greater community.

“The main mission of this Task Force is to spread awareness on the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine and to help get community members to get vaccinated,” student Anatoliy Voznyarskiy said. “We also hope to bring vaccines to those who possibly don’t know about it or those who aren’t in priority in taking the vaccine, such as the BIPOC and non-English speaking communities.”

There are currently 11 people on the team. Nine of them being Healthcare Leadership students including Spencer Tyson, Amandeep Dhillon, Emily Lopez-Allende, Anatoliy Voznyarskiy, Sarah Solano, Michael Villalpando, Miranda Stein, Aaron Dawson Becker and Ashly Norton. In addition, they have an Associate Professor, Dr. Robin Evans-Agnew, leading the project along with nurse preceptor Juana Gallegos teaching other students how to succeed in the field.

“This Task Force was officially started by professor Dr. Robin Evans-Agnew,” Voznyarskiy said. “He started it as a fieldwork project that several of us Healthcare Leadership major students have been selected to join and help.”

Lopez said that everything has been up and running since the second week of April. Since then, social media accounts have been created on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook where they post information about the vaccines. The task force is also reaching out to other organizations such as local leaders and community organizations. 

Beyond this, the group’s other goal is to recruit volunteers to work at vaccine clinics and help organize clinics in Pierce County. Lopez indicated the benefits of joining the Task Force, such as receiving volunteer hours and making connections.

“People should join because they are going to help get us towards our goal of herd immunity, but they’re also going to help save lives,” Lopez said. “There are various benefits that students will get from participating in the Husky Task Force. This is a good way for students to get volunteer hours, and it is a great opportunity to make connections with community members.” 

Although any UWT student can join if they’re looking to volunteer, they prefer students who have the most experience and thus may be best suited for the task. These students may include, but are not limited to, registered nursing, biomedical and healthcare leadership students.

Lopez said they’re not exactly sure how the vaccination sites will look on campus and are currently in discussion with UWT’s administration regarding how they’ll work. What they are sure of though are their plans regarding what steps to take and who to prioritize first. Students may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the vaccinations will not cost anything.

“Our first step is to make sure we have enough staff, this includes staff to give the shots and staff to help out with traffic and any other things that come up,” Villalpando said. “After that, if people get their 1st shot and schedule out their second dose per recommendation of manufacturers such as Pfizer and Moderna.” 

Villalpando explained further, noting that as long as supplies are available, they’ll keep going until all of Pierce County is vaccinated. Lopez then spoke of vaccinating the community in an equitable manner by focusing on the underprivileged.

“Based on the statistics there are still a huge chunk of people that have not been vaccinated, and we are here to help have all of Pierce County vaccinated,” Lopez said. “We are focusing on vaccinating marginalized populations who come from low-income families or have hardships with language barriers.”

Lopez said that they want to ensure that they are not missing out on the vaccine or delaying it just because they don’t know where to go or what to do, which is why they’re prioritizing groups who need them the most.

If people choose to be vaccinated they will receive a link to their sign up genius survey, will be able to sign up and leave their information such as name, phone number, and email address. Once the information is acquired, the Task Force will reach out to provide the necessary information surrounding the next steps they need to complete.