‘It feels good’: Hundreds paid to get vaccinated while celebrating Pride month

SPOKANE, Wash. – Several hundred people decided to take advantage of some quick money while also celebrating Pride month in an event called “Pride, Popsicles and Pokes” at the Washington Cracker Building on Saturday.

Payton Marks went to get her COVID-19 vaccine, wanting to get the shot, and to also connect with others in the LGBTQIA+ community. In addition to the COVID vaccine clinic, the event had some food, resources, music, a market to support LGBTQIA+ artists and more.

“It exceeded what I thought was going to happen. It’s so cool,” Payton said.

While having protection from the virus is good, getting some money to do it is also a plus.

About 250 people made an appointment Saturday to get vaccinated, which were administered by Washington State University’s Range Mobile Clinic.

The Spectrum Center put on the event with the help of Spokane Pride, Asian Pacific Islander Coalition and the Spokane AIDS Network. For the first dose, Spectrum Center Spokane gave people $25. They’ll then give away $50 when people come back for their second dose. Not only that, those who got vaccinated also got free food from the Mixed Plate food truck.

“It feels good, I’ll just say it,” Payton said.

“I like the idea that she could get paid, because she doesn’t get to have a job right now, because she’s working hard in school,” added Regina Marks, Payton’s mom.

KJ January, the director of advocacy and engagement with the Spectrum Center, said they wanted to give people money in case they had to take time off work to get vaccinated. She said she understands the hardships some people may be facing because of the pandemic.

Though it would end up at $75 total to get fully vaccinated, she said it would at least help them get some money instead of missing a full day of pay.

Giving people money to get vaccinated would also help the community get back to normal quicker.

“That’s the whole purpose, really just to get people safe so we can get back to being together as a community, because Spokane is growing and we need to meet each other and we need to connect, especially now more than ever,” January said.

Cassandra Claflin got the vaccine Saturday hoping to finally feel a little more safe going out. She had been waiting for a while, wanting to get the all-clear from her doctor that it was OK.

“I’m excited to get my second shot and then be in the clear to do more activities in public,” she said. “Just excited not to be kind of frozen in time waiting for things to start up again.”

The Spectrum Center says it plans to have more events like this over the summer. January said they’re still working on pinpointing dates and times.