Thousands of volunteers from the community have stepped up to help in the historic effort to immunize Oregonians against COVID-19. The minimum estimate of vaccinated individuals needed for our state to reach herd immunity is 2.9 million. Community volunteers help to relieve the workload for healthcare workers and other volunteers who are qualified to administer shots by staffing essential non-medical posts at mass vaccination sites throughout Oregon. The impressive volunteer contribution includes Tonkon Torp attorneys Sadie Concepción, David Forman, Bob Koch, and Christopher Morehead. “It feels like a wartime effort,” shared Bob (pictured at right). “After staying home to save lives for the past year, I've been honored to play a part, however small, in helping to end this horrible pandemic.”
Over the past several months, they have worked shifts at the Oregon Convention Center, the drive-up clinic at the Portland Airport, and the drive-up clinic at Pacific University in Forest Grove. Speaking about the atmosphere at the vaccination sites, Sadie reflected, “The energy at the clinics is so uplifting – there is a real sense of gratitude and excitement as we collectively take these steps to get vaccinated and help each other stay safe. It's been so meaningful to reconnect with and support my community in this way.”
As volunteers, they have screened people for COVID-19 symptoms, checked people into their appointments, entered vaccination data into health records, directed traffic, monitored for post-shot adverse reactions, and even transported shots from the on-site pharmacies to the individual vaccinators. “The opportunity to interact with staff, volunteers, and patients at the vaccine center has been a rewarding and valuable experience for me,” shared David. “It reminds me of how interconnected we all are despite forces that attempt to divide us and gives me hope that we have the capacity and desire to rally as a community in support of a common cause.”
On April 19, all Oregonians over 16 are eligible for vaccines. Volunteers will continue to play a vital role in helping clinics meet demand. Volunteer opportunities for both community support and qualified health care personnel are managed by individual health care providers such as OHSU, Kaiser Permanente, Providence Health, and at the Oregon Health Authority website.