More non-medical volunteers needed at San Diego vaccination sites

Coronavirus

UPDATE: A Sharp Healthcare spokeswoman told FOX 5 on Monday that the system is at capacity for non-medical volunteers at vaccination sites. Additional slots may become available in the coming months, but the system currently only needs licensed professionals to carry out vaccinations.

LA MESA, Calif. — Vaccination super sites are in need of volunteers and Sharp Healthcare wants people to know there’s only one requirement: a good attitude.

Volunteers don’t need a medical background — organizers say it takes a village to vaccinate.

“Anything from registration, to way finding, to line management, and we even have folks that just create excitement and enthusiasm for patients that come in that are going to be vaccinated,” said Jason Broad, Sharp’s vice president of performance.

Volunteers help staff multiple vaccination sites that Sharp is currently running.

“There’s one in La Mesa, one in Chula Vista, one in Coronado and soon to be one in the metro area,” Broad said.

Retired nurse Rosa Tolang makes her drive to La Mesa all the way from Riverside three days a week because she said volunteering at an event like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It’s a long drive, but I always look forward to it,” Tolang said.

She’s not the only one traveling to help vaccination efforts. The need for vaccinators is so high that California leaders have loosened the criteria for those who administer the shots to include people from out of state.

“We are now accepting folks with an active license, also those who have an inactive license but have been active in the last five years in good standing,” Broad said.

While nursing student Isabella Santos isn’t qualified to give shots, she said it is important to volunteer. She hopes to one day work at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns and said helping out with line management is a foot in the door.

“Getting vaccines to as many people as we can is so important right now, and having volunteers really helps the process go smoothly,” Santos said.

Volunteers are also eligible to get a vaccine. Sharp officials just ask that a volunteer commits to at least three shifts in order to qualify.

Those interested can get more information and sign up through the “Sharp Lends a Hand” program.

UC San Diego said it is also looking for volunteers for a new coronavirus vaccine site opening on campus on Monday. The site will serve eligible patients, faculty and staff.

UCSD said volunteers will help with registration and be observers or runners at the site.

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