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Dear Rev. Dr. Anna L Jones and leaders in the faith community

We’d like to express our sincere apologies for cancelling the community vaccination event that was planned for March 13 and for our poor communication about the cancellation. This was Public Health’s failure and we take full responsibility for what happened and for the damage this has caused to the relationships we have with faith-based and community leaders in the Black and African American community. We originally communicated plans to hold a community vaccination day the weekend of March 13. We made this commitment before we’d confirmed a healthcare provider to administer the vaccines and before we had the operational support ready to carry out a vaccination event. We then let the community partners know very late in the process that the event would not take place. It was unacceptable of us to set up expectations for a vaccine clinic, and then change course without clear explanation. And we did a poor job communicating internally amongst our teams to be able to share that information effectively with community partners in a timely way. Black and African American communities have disproportionately been impacted by COVID-19 due to the hundreds of years of racism and structural inequities that continue to impact our community. Now, more than ever, it is critical that communities most impacted by COVID-19 can look to Public Health as a trusted source of information and a reliable bridge to vaccine access. We broke that trust. We are particularly sorry to have damaged these relationships at a time when faith-based leaders have been working so tirelessly to provide such critical resources and information to the community. We are at fault and deeply apologize. We know that it takes more than words to start to repair a breach of trust and we commit to taking steps to work towards repairing our relationships. We are working to re-schedule the community vaccination clinic. As of Thursday, March 25, our staff have connected with a vaccine provider to coordinate planning for the vaccination event. We anticipate being able to confirm details in the next week. In an effort to improve communication, we commit to being in touch regularly with the key leaders involved in this effort until the vaccination event details are finalized. We will also continue to work with community leaders across King County to address gaps in access to vaccine for Black, Indigenous and people of color. It is our mission and moral imperative as a public health department to close the gaps in access. Respectfully and humbly, Public Health – Seattle & King County