Augusta Health seeks volunteers to help with COVID-19 vaccinations
Augusta Health has administered 1,510 COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare workers since the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic opened on Dec. 16.
With the press to get people vaccinated, the local hospital is seeking the help of volunteers through the Medical Reserve Corps.
You don’t have to be a nurse or a healthcare provider to volunteer to help with community vaccination. Many other volunteers are needed — registration staff, runners and educators, to name a few.
The Medical Reserve Corps provides a structure for registering volunteers, training them on the vaccination process and connecting volunteers to community vaccine events.
To apply for the Medical Reserve Corps, go to www.vdh.virginia.gov/mrc/apply-to-volunteer.
The effort at Augusta Health
Vaccinations have been staged in alignment with the Virginia Prioritization Schedule. After first vaccinating healthcare workers directly caring for patients known or suspected to have COVID-19, other healthcare workers can now be scheduled for vaccination.
The hospital has gone through its allocation of the Pfizer vaccine, so the clinic is now vaccinating with the Moderna vaccine.
It is critical that the second dose of the vaccine be from the same manufacturer as the first dose, so those vaccinated are scheduled for a second dose as they leave the Vaccine Clinic.
A second shipment of Pfizer vaccine to be used as second doses is expected soon. Because the interval between first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine is 21 days, the first healthcare workers who were vaccinated on Dec. 16 will begin their second doses on or about Jan. 6.
Those vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine will receive a second dose after an interval of 28 days.
Coordination with CSHD
Most healthcare workers are vaccinated by the system that employs them. Vaccines for local healthcare workers not employed by a system are coordinated through the Central Shenandoah Health District.
Augusta Health collaborates with the CSHD and provides assistance to the health district as needed or requested.
“Our Vaccine Task Force and our Population Health group meet regularly with the local health department to collaborate on all COVID work for the community,” says John Mack, chief operations officer of Augusta Medical Group and a member of Augusta Health’s Vaccine Task Force.
“These discussions are starting to focus on how we will work together in the coming months to vaccinate the community,” Mack said. “While the CHSD will be the lead on community vaccination, we expect that Augusta Health team members will assist in giving community vaccines, just as we have worked together for COVID testing.
“The vaccines will likely occur in stages based on the timing of vaccine shipments to the health department and the priority groupings that have been established.”