The Medical Reserve Corps in Summit County is seeking volunteers to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Help is needed from people both with and without medical certifications.
As the COVID-19 vaccine program continues in Utah, more staff will be needed in order to ensure a smooth process once the state receives more and more doses from the Federal Government.
The Medical Reserve Corps is not a new organization and is a list of volunteers who are willing to step up and help when they are needed. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.
Derek Moss is the Nursing Director for Summit County and says all types of medical professionals are wanted.
“There’s really great need across the board from nurses to doctors, medical assistants, even certified nursing assistants would be beneficial,” he says. “Really any medical professional we’d love to get on our rosters so that if the need arises, we could have a resource list that we can contact.”
Summit County will be opening up a vaccine distribution venue at the Utah Film Studios near Quinn’s Junction and the Park City Hospital. According to the People’s Health Clinic, about 30 local healthcare volunteers have signed up, but volunteers with no medical training are also needed to direct traffic, help people sign in, and record data entries.
Volunteers will be scheduled on alternate days for four hour shifts.
One current roadblock to quickly vaccinating the local population is a statewide supply shortage of the vaccine. Rich Lakin is the Immunization Program Manager for the Utah Department of Health and says the state has received fewer vaccines than they originally anticipated -- up to 40% fewer in some cases -- and has caused the administration of the doses to be slower than they want.
He says the slow rollout has pushed back the schedule for some groups to be vaccinated, including teachers and some first responders, to the week of January 25th.
“There’s a large population of healthcare workers that we’d like to get through the vaccination before we move on to first responders and teachers,” explains Lakin. “We’re hoping that will occur by the end of the month of January, but due to the vaccine, we will try to roll that in as quickly as we can. But, again, the vaccine is going to drive the response, I have said that from the very beginning. If we don’t have enough vaccine, we can’t move through the populations that we’d like to because we can’t supply enough vaccine to our local health departments because the speed of them vaccinating is quicker than the amount of vaccine we can give them, so you could see how that could cause some delay.”
Originally, these groups were hoping to receive immunizations shortly after the new year, but the supply delays experienced in the state have changed that timetable.
Moss says the timetables could change again and vaccines could become available sooner, but, unfortunately, that is out of the Health Department’s hands.
“The sooner the better, in my opinion,” says Moss. “But, again, unfortunately, that supply of vaccine is completely out of our hands but we’re watching it closely and we’re in communication. Unfortunately, I wish I had an answer for that as to how soon it could happen, but I do anticipate it is actually coming very soon.”
If you are interested in volunteering with the Medical Reserve Corps, email People’s Health Clinic Executive Director Beth Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.