We are in a new phase in the global public health response to COVID-19, as the focus shifts to mass vaccination and the prevention of future pandemics. Thanks to the critical philanthropic support of our community, UW Medicine continues playing a vital role in this next phase as highlighted in following summaries of three recent announcements:

Paul G. Allen Family Foundation boosts effort to address vaccine equity

As Washington continues to expand its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, many communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic are facing substantial barriers accessing the vaccine. To address this disparity, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation made a $1 million grant to Harborview Medical Center/UW Medicine to deliver COVID-19 vaccines directly to underserved communities in King County.

King County data shows that despite Black and Latinx residents experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 infection, they are receiving the vaccine at slower rates than the county overall. And only a small proportion of those experiencing homelessness have been vaccinated, despite facing higher risk of hospitalization and serious illness once infected.

With support from Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and other partners in the region, including the Seattle Mariners, UW Medicine will deliver up to 14,500 vaccines per month to the region’s most vulnerable communities through popup vaccine clinics, mobile vaccination vans and the Harborview COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Seattle Mariners Partner to Strike Out COVID-19

In addition to a $2 million gift to support the vaccination program, the Seattle Mariners are partnering with UW Medicine on a community awareness campaign called “This is our shot to strike out COVID-19.”

The campaign features Mariners players, coaches, broadcasters and alumni — including Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez, “Mr. Mariner” Alvin Davis and many more — sharing videotaped messages to encourage widespread participation in COVID-19 vaccinations. Their messages, which are recorded in English, Spanish and Japanese, highlight how vaccines can keep our community safe and begin to restore normalcy to our lives.

“Ensuring that every person is both willing and able to be vaccinated is critical to our community’s ability to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said John Stanton, Mariners chairman and managing partner. “The Mariners are proud to join UW Medicine to both increase vaccine willingness and reduce the barriers to vaccination in our region.”

Logo for the Strike Out COVID-19 campaign between UW Medicine and the Seattle Mariners

Microsoft collaboration to speed up future pandemic responses

With the end of the pandemic nearing, teams throughout UW Medicine are preparing for the future. One significant effort is being led by the Institute for Protein Design (IPD) with a transformative $5 million multiyear gift from Microsoft to advance research on biotechnological tools that may be used against future pandemics.

The funds, together with computing resources and expertise from Microsoft, will help researchers explore how artificial intelligence can best be applied to protein design to speed up the development of potent antivirals and vaccines. Read more about the science and the collaboration.

Since 2012, the IPD has developed new methods to create novel proteins and designed experimental cancer treatments, innovative vaccines and new protein-based materials. Their strategies were recently applied to the virus that causes COVID-19.

A community coming together to save lives

In addition to these recent announcements, we are grateful to the more than 800 individual donors who gave generously on Husky Giving Day this April to support our efforts to fast-track an end to the pandemic — and stop the next one before it starts.

Over the last year, UW Medicine’s ability to respond quickly to the evolving challenges presented by this pandemic and save lives has depended upon the generous support and partnership of community members, companies and organizations like these. We couldn’t be more thankful.

Help Stop COVID-19

Your generous support of the UW Medicine Emergency Response Fund will accelerate an end to this pandemic and help save lives.