BY BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Nearly 40% of Deschutes County residents have received COVID vaccines thanks in part to volunteers at the county’s mass vaccination clinic.
But more people are needed to keep things running smoothly.
In the past six weeks, volunteers have donated more than 10,000 hours of community service at Deschutes County’s mass vaccination clinic.
With the increasing availability of vaccines and more people coming to receive them, they need even more volunteers and are asking anyone to consider helping.
“Duties for volunteers range from vaccinators, some people help within our pharmacy, and we have people who are driving golf carts,” said Molly Wells Darling, Deputy Incident Manager, Deschutes County COVID Management Team. “We have individuals who are checking people in or standing in our lines and reminding people to social distance. We have interpreters here. We have people who help with application management to make sure people are getting their paperwork done and going in the right direction to where they can get their vaccine.”
Every day the clinic operates, 230 volunteers help expedite the flow of people who receive shots.
They are credited with helping people have a positive experience as they move through the clinics’ various stations.
Volunteer Don Rodenfels, a retired nurse, says it’s fun, busy work.
“I didn’t realize how much I missed patient care and being around people until I started volunteering here,” Rodenfels said. “Both my wife and I have loved meeting people. Obviously, it’s a great way to give back to the community as well.”
Volunteers receive training and do the bulk of the work at the vaccination clinic, supervised by professional medical leaders.
They work 5-hour shifts, either mornings or afternoons.
“We are going to be running the clinic more days a week, from possibly four to six days a week. Because of that we really need more volunteers to make sure that the clinic runs as efficiently as possible,” Wells Darling said.
Right now, there’s a pool of nearly 600 volunteers.
In an effort to increase that number, every individual who receives a vaccination is given a volunteer recruitment notice.
No medical background is required to volunteer at the clinic, though many do have experience in the medical industry.
Visit www.deschutes.org/publichealthvolunteer for information about volunteer opportunities or to sign up.