Volunteers essential to getting Lane County vaccinated against COVID-19

What helps volunteers get through long hours helping vaccination clinics run smoothly? Many said it's the gratitude from the community that keeps them coming back.

Posted: Apr 14, 2021 6:55 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- The work of doctors, nurses and pharmacists has been integral to fighting the battle against COVID-19. But volunteers who are helping to make sure vaccination clinics run smoothly also play an important role.

"Some of our hardworking volunteers give 30 to 40 hours of volunteer time," said Lane County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team supervisor Jason Bowman. "It's really built into the identity of our volunteers that if there is an emergency, they want to go out and help."

Bowman said that there are no other incentives for volunteers to come out to help at vaccination clinics other than to get through the pandemic.

"Search and Rescue team volunteers, we look at them as unpaid professionals," Bowman said. "We've worked through rain, we've worked through sleet, and we've even had strong winds."

Volunteers said sometimes the work at these vaccination clinics entails long hours.

"We might work eight to 12 hour days," said Search and Rescue team volunteer Eduardo Tapia. "We start a couple hours before the people show up so we can prepare the area, lay out the cones, and prepare the materials so once people come we can attend to them."

Volunteers said that it's the gratitude from the community that keeps them coming back and continuing to give their time.

"Everyone's in a good mood because they know they're protected against COVID," said Search and Rescue team volunteer Daniel Phillips.

Lane County Public Health volunteer Julie Felix also weighed in.

"Everyone that comes through is so appreciative," said Felix.

A pop-up clinic at Lane County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, April 14, at 2 p.m. was arranged less than 24 hours before the event began. This is due to an extra 600 doses available for use from the vaccination clinics this past weekend. But officials said that appointments filled within a few hours.

Those who want to volunteer for the county can CLICK HERE.

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