PHOENIX - Hundreds of volunteers help keep Arizona’s mass COVID-19 vaccination sites running smoothly, and along with the altruistic benefits, volunteers also become eligible for a vaccination themselves.
Those who volunteer their time at a vaccination site are considered frontline medical personnel, making them eligible for getting the vaccine under Phase 1A – despite their age.
Volunteer positions are in such high demand, and in some cases, there’s a waiting list.
"I’m under 65. I wasn’t in a priority group and I wanted to get the vaccine honestly," says volunteer Todd Cable. He signed up to volunteer at a mass vaccination site and that's where he also got the vaccine.
Dozens of volunteers are utilized on a daily basis and even those without a medical background can help.
"They could be scheduling second doses, directing traffic, checking in people, but all of them, because it’s a healthcare facility providing a medical procedure, are considered frontline healthcare workers when they’re out there helping us," explained Dr. Cara Christ, Director of Arizona Department of Health Services.
Cable says, "The day I showed up, they made me a greeter which is the first person that meets the cars as they come in, to verify they either are over 65 or are in a priority group."
Just like the COVID-19 vaccine, to volunteer, you have to register in advance, and volunteer shifts are in high demand.
"We do have a waiting list because it’s such a positive experience, and we are offering the vaccine as well," Christ said.
Cable explains how he became a volunteer.
"The state and the city had pretty long waitlists to get into a volunteer shift. The county had a lot more shifts open. But with the county, you do have to apply to be a volunteer and you do have to pass a background check," he said.
Maricopa County health officials say they have such a high volume of people applying to volunteer, the county added six more employees to help with processing applications and background checks.
Learn about becoming a volunteer at the following links: https://mcdph.samaritan.com/custom/501/ https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/emergency-preparedness/volunteer/index.php