Transcript for Seattle is the 1st city to reach 70% vaccination rate
It was back in January of 2020 the country's first confirmed case of covid-19 was identified in Washington state. Well now, Seattle has become the first American city to fully vaccinate 70% of residents 12 years old and up. Here to discuss is Seattle mayor Jenny durkan. Welcome. Great to have you on the program. And certainly congratulations are in order for making this milestone and I think a lot of other major cities might want me to ask you, how did you do it? What was the secret to your success? It was a combination of things, but I think it took consolidated leadership at every level, making sure we had the best collaborations between our hospital systems, our volunteers, the residents of Seattle. City government, public health. We brought vaccines to where people were, we were able to bring together some of the best public health experts and really anticipate what we needed to do next from testing to vaccinations, and so I'm so excited that we've reached that 70% milestone. Almost 80% of residents 12 and above have started at least the first dose. So Seattle now can be reopened for business. And we're really focused on recovering, reopening, and I want to invite all your listeners to come to Seattle. It is a great city. We're ready to have you. Now, I cannot believe this is about to come out of my mouth here, but you all are closing vaccination sites. You are closing some of your mass vaccination sites. Were you waiting to get to a certain percentage of the population vaccinated before you closed those. What went into the decision and what happened to the vaccination sites? Of course for those who want to be vaccinated it will still be available. Throughout the pandemic we found we had to anticipate how do we get what people needed where they were. If you asked people to stay home, you have to have a community-based strategy. We had mass throughput sites in various neighborhoods throughout the city. First with testing, then with vaccinations and then we set up the world's largest civilian-run vaccination site that did at a mass high level, all city run with volunteers. But as we turn the dial now we know that the strategy has got to be to meet people where they are. So we've been innovating. We were one of the first in the nation to bring vaccinations to major league baseball games and soccer matches, to the breweries around town, to the business districts. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get their vaccinations, so we started with the mass throughput sites. But as we got to the critical mass now we know to get to the next level we've got to bring vaccinations to the people. And I know you said you want tourists to come back. You are reopening businesses. I was actually there last August. We were climbing mt. Baker just outside of Seattle. Spent a couple nights there. And everything was shout dun. It was really sad, thats's all changing now. So what's the plan for reopening and what will Seattle look like this summer? So we are focused on reopening and making sure we come back more equitable, really listening to the voices of last summer, and every downtown across America saw that same thing. Windows boarded up. Small businesses closing. This has been a hard, dark time for every major city in America. So Seattle is pulling together. We're using our arpo funds, the recue plan fund from president Biden and the funds they allocated and really focuses on continuing to help those people who are still struggling. Because we know so many people lost their jobs. And we're not quite out of the woods yet. This is a huge milestone and we're shifting into battle. We know we have some things to get through but Seattle had almost 80% occupancy in some of its hotels a few weekends ago. We're starting to see things open up. The orcas were passing through Puget Sound. And wile we have our challenges, we're really focused on coming back stronger, better and together as a city Seattle mayor/seattle tourism board member. You're making the pitch for your city. So congrats. That is a big deal and you have come a long way. It's good to see the smile on your face and to have these positive things to report and we'll see you out there in Seattle, mayor. It will be great to see you. And I think it is a milestone for all of America. This has been a tough, tough time for us. And I think showing what we can do when we come together, business, philanthropy, community, community-based organizations. You know, we went through a tough time but I think we're all coming back. I do too, and I love ending on that hopeful note. Mayor, thank you so much. Thank you. Just ahead here on "Gma3,"
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