RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — More than four million vaccine doses have been administered in Virginia. To get that many shots into arms, there needs to be an army of people making it happen.
Many of those people are volunteers with the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps, or MRC.
“It would be impossible, absolutely impossible to do what we’re doing without them,” said MRC Richmond City Health District Coordinator Kate Bausman.
“We’re basically the volunteer arm of the health department, public health. It started as a way to have a group of volunteers that could respond to emergencies and disasters,” she explained.
When Gov. Ralph Northam put out a call for help last year, Virginians answered. Northam called for another 30,000 MRC volunteers and in response, over 35,000 people have signed up.
Bausman said she has personally seen a huge jump in volunteers in the Richmond metro area. Between the Richmond-Henrico Health District and the Chickahominy Health District, their volunteer numbers have jumped from 800 to 4,600.
Volunteers complete an orientation and background check to assist in COVID-19 efforts. Those with certain medical qualifications can complete additional online training to become vaccinators.
Bausman said those who are volunteering to administer the vaccines include doctors, registered nurses, pharmacists, dentists, dental hygienists and veterinarians.
Even before the vaccine rollout started, volunteers have been hard at work throughout the pandemic to help with things like COVID testing, contact tracing and case investigation.
“It’s been amazing,” Bausman said, “It’s been really incredible to see folks step up, especially in the beginning when we didn’t know how dangerous it was, what was going to happen.”
To learn more about volunteering with the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps, click here.