While getting vaccinated right away may not be right for everyone, large-scale vaccine distribution has been cited as a critical step in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in the US.
Unfortunately, numerous logistical challenges have already arisen for local health departments, hospitals, and other providers, and many local communities have called for volunteer support — both medical and non-medical — administering vaccines and organizing and managing vaccine clinics.
As of mid-January, 31 million vaccine doses were distributed across the U.S., and of those, only around 12 million were administered, based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a large national undertaking to get vaccines rolled out at scale. And we believe that grassroots volunteers have a critical role to play.
Vaccine Access for All
Let’s not mince words: first and foremost, access to vaccines is a human rights issue. Everyone who wants to get the vaccine, and meets the appropriate health criteria, should have the ability to educate themselves and access the vaccine.
Given the legacy of deep trauma and betrayal by the US healthcare system, vaccine hesitancy is understandably prevalent amongst people of color. And, the stark data around mortality rates for COVID-19 amongst people of color is deeply concerning: according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis, Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans are dying at a rate almost three times that of white Americans. Of the approximately 3% of Americans who have gotten one dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine, white residents in 16 states that provide data by race are being vaccinated at considerably higher rates than Black residents -- with many cases being two to three times higher.
America needs volunteers to help organize vaccination efforts and bridge the confidence, information, technology, and distribution divides. It’s on each of us to help make sure people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, races and ethnicities are equipped with factual information that enables us to make the right decisions for ourselves and our families. We must ensure access is not gated by any private commercial or entrepreneurial aim: while commercial endeavors are wonderful, during a public health crisis, this level of vigilance is particularly essential.
At VolunteerMatch, we are currently working with private citizens and public sector organizations to try to help ensure the right systems and technologies are in place to help guarantee that as clinics are organized, a ready slate of volunteers is standing by to support those efforts. Over the last 2 weeks, we have heard from over 3000 people who have raised their hands to say they’d like to help by volunteering for vaccine clinics — both medically trained and non-medical volunteers.
If you are working on organizing a vaccine clinic volunteering in your city, state, or community, and would like help connecting to volunteers, please contact us.
What You Can Do
1. Share the Facts
Share the facts around vaccines on social media, with your friends, family, neighbors, and church. Here are some facts from the CDC about the vaccines. Helping people have accurate, current information means we can each make the right decision for ourselves. Here are some of the benefits of getting vaccinated, also from the CDC.
2. Volunteer to Help Get More People Vaccinated
As COVID-19 continues to impact our nation, your community most likely needs you to help volunteer to staff vaccine clinics. Both medical and non-medical volunteers are needed. Lend a hand and support the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to help stop the spread. When you sign up, you’ll be added to our list and begin to receive updates on how to help with efforts being organized locally.
3. Share the Volunteer Opportunity
Share that you have signed up to help with vaccines on social media or with your friends or family to encourage them to consider if volunteering is also right for them. If you aren’t able to volunteer, you can still share the opportunity with others to get the word out. By helping to stop the spread, we are helping to save lives, and hopefully get our communities back to some semblance of normalcy sooner.