Success Story – Silver Diner Restaurant Group Vaccine Clinic
In July 2021, the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) and Fairfax Health Department (FHD) established a food establishment vaccine outreach division to get employees vaccinated against COVID-19. To date, the team has facilitated onsite vaccines for 73 workers, registered 28 workers for vaccines with local providers, and has reached 500 restaurants in the country. The team identified 47 establishments that have mandated COVID-19 vaccines for their employees. Silver Diner is the first restaurant group in Fairfax, VA to access the services provided by the food establishment division.
The FHD’s COVID-19 emergency response team gave presentations to diner managers in the DMV area. The team helped Silver Diner implement a new policy to have the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to all employees by November 1, 2021. The food establishment division set up four vaccine clinics in coordination with field vaccination teams in Reston, Merrifield, Springfield, and Fair Oaks, VA locations. The division worked with Silver Diner to identify a private space in the diner to administer the vaccine, while the outreach staff answered questions to ease vaccine hesitancy and provide translation services as needed.
Approaching this outreach presented two major barriers to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to this audience. First, there was widespread misinformation around the vaccine. The team addressed these concerns through individual conversations with employees and actively participate and present in at-work meetings. Second, was fear of being reported to law enforcement or other government agencies if accessing vaccines in a government facility. These are valid concerns because a number of food service workers are immigrants, and some are undocumented. The team addressed this barrier by bringing the vaccine to their work sites and providing a safe and familiar environment to get COVID-19 vaccines for them and their families.