Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(7,220 posts)
Thu Feb 11, 2021, 09:12 PM Feb 2021

Scenes from a mass COVID vaccination site (volunteer's perspective)

Most vaccinations are happening at convention centers in my state, so several of the largest healthcare providers have banded together to figure out the scheduling and logistics at mass vaccination sites. It's an "all hands on deck" situation. Think about what's needed besides injectors when you have thousands of people to vaccinate every day: There are screeners, greeters, mobility assistants, interpreters, logistical help...you name it, we're there doing it. I took a few days from my regular job to help. Here's what I experienced:

Most people were absolutely thrilled to be getting their vaccinations. Many were afraid, anxious, and/or overwhelmed to suddenly go from not seeing anyone for a whole year, to being around literally hundreds of people (something I could also relate to). A few took their frustration and fear out on the very people who were there to help them. We tried to put ourselves in their shoes, and helped move them through as quickly and cheerfully as we could. I could see how scared many of them were, their hands shaking as they handed their appointment information over. Many people thanked us kindly for being there and helping them.

Everyone wore masks (as is the law in Oregon). A few wore scarves or otherwise inappropriate masks, but they all complied when we gave them a proper mask to wear. Many wore double masks and/or face shields.

The worst person I saw was an RN(!) who refused to answer the three health screening questions, and barked "NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!" at me in a snotty tone when I tried again. I told her that I really wanted her father to get his vaccination, so we needed to follow the process to keep things moving. She wouldn't back down, and eventually she was asked by other staff to leave. There were about a hundred people in line by then, and only 10 screeners. We shook it off and kept things moving.

I was amazed and honored to see hundreds of other health plan volunteers, some staying an extra shift when a snowstorm kept other volunteers home that day, all going out of their way to get our fellow Oregonians the vaccines they need (even though some of us hadn't gotten our own vaccines yet).

My favorite experience was a woman wearing a "proud grandma" mask. She told me her granddaughter would turn a year old the next day. Then she started to cry, and it dawned on me that she'd probably never been able to visit the child, or hold her. "You're almost there! You're doing the right thing!", I said cheerfully and helped her to get to where she needed to go.

My takeaway is that things are ramping up fast, and we're getting much better at this mass vaccination thing. I would also ask that when you get your vaccination, please be kind to the people who are there to help you.

9 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Scenes from a mass COVID vaccination site (volunteer's perspective) (Original Post) flibbitygiblets Feb 2021 OP
MA said that those who bring/drive someone to get the vaccine BigmanPigman Feb 2021 #1
Michigan as well. roamer65 Feb 2021 #3
A financially strapped old person might sell to the highest bidder? Cicada Feb 2021 #4
Bravo! Farmgirl1961 Feb 2021 #2
Greetings, fellow Oregonian, and THANK YOU for volunteering! flibbitygiblets Feb 2021 #5
You are welcome. Farmgirl1961 Feb 2021 #9
Are you volunteering on Saturday? Reader Rabbit Feb 2021 #6
Yes, assuming they don't cancel. (I just got a call that they cancelled Friday.) flibbitygiblets Feb 2021 #7
My husband and I got our second shot last Saturday at our local health department. Grammy23 Feb 2021 #8


(51,228 posts)
1. MA said that those who bring/drive someone to get the vaccine
Thu Feb 11, 2021, 09:20 PM
Feb 2021

can also get a shot. I wish they'd do that in my state.


(4,533 posts)
4. A financially strapped old person might sell to the highest bidder?
Thu Feb 11, 2021, 09:41 PM
Feb 2021

If you need help to go there then it’s ok with me if you get paid too.


(1,488 posts)
2. Bravo!
Thu Feb 11, 2021, 09:35 PM
Feb 2021

I am semi-retired in Central Oregon and also between careers (I went back to school for Massage Therapy and became an LMTin August). Been taking online courses and searching for something meaningful to do. I signed up to volunteer as a non-medical helper for the vaccine clinics being administered at our local fairgrounds.

I volunteered last Friday and while my particular job wasn’t all that exciting, it was so exciting to be part of something historic and so important. All of the folks were there for their second dose and were beyond elated to be able to get the vaccine.

Hoping to volunteer on a regular basis. We are all in this together.


(1,488 posts)
9. You are welcome.
Sun Feb 14, 2021, 04:52 PM
Feb 2021

It feels like this is a civic duty. I am on the roster and hopefully will be volunteering regularly.

Reader Rabbit

(2,618 posts)
6. Are you volunteering on Saturday?
Thu Feb 11, 2021, 10:05 PM
Feb 2021

That's when I'm scheduled to get my jab. Right now I've got my finger crossed that Snowmageddon won't cancel it!


(7,220 posts)
7. Yes, assuming they don't cancel. (I just got a call that they cancelled Friday.)
Thu Feb 11, 2021, 10:11 PM
Feb 2021

Crossing my fingers and toes that you get your jab this weekend! (If not, I've heard they'll reschedule you for the following week.)

Good luck!!


(5,803 posts)
8. My husband and I got our second shot last Saturday at our local health department.
Thu Feb 11, 2021, 10:29 PM
Feb 2021

It was busy. (Even for early appointment times) but people were orderly and pleasant. We got checked in and almost immediately went to the hallway where the vaccination stations were set up. They had about 10 or 12. The whole process took less than 5 minutes and we were then directed to a waiting area with a sticker on our shirt indicating when we could leave (if we had no reactions to the shot which we did not). Our appointment was at 8:30 and we were walking out the door to our car a few minutes before 9 a.m.

The professionals and volunteers (giving out water, checking our stickers for when we could leave, asking how we felt, etc) made it run smoothly. One lady felt dizzy and a doctor came and checked her. They were very attentive and helpful. They had EMS on site in case anyone needed to be transported to a hospital (nearest one was about 5-6 blocks away.) All in all I’d give them an A+ for a well run operation, pleasant staff and volunteers.

This was in Pensacola, FL. So not all of Florida is a mess. We are rated as one of the hot spots in the state with a very high number of cases and deaths. So I am more than relieved to get our shots and hopefully build some antibodies to the virus so we can have a little more freedom.
Latest Discussions»General Discussion»Scenes from a mass COVID ...