California Launches Program For Any Resident To Get Vaccinated Through Volunteering
Farmworkers wait in line to receive the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic organized by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department at Christopher Ranch in Gilroy, California, U.S., on Thursday, March 4, 2021. Farmworkers have been one of the hardest hit communities since the start of the pandemic. Photographer: Nic Coury/Bloomberg
Photographer: Nic Coury/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Friday, the state of California introduced a new way for more people to become eligible for vaccinations as the rollout of vaccines increases across the country. Residents can sign up to volunteer at Covid-19 vaccination locations, and if they volunteer their time for at least four hours, they will be classified into a tier that allows them to get a vaccination with approval.

The “My Turn Volunteer” website has a form for users to fill out in order to find sites near them. The site describes the current need in the state. It reads,

California Volunteers, Office of the Governor, is calling on Californians to volunteer their time at our COVID-19 vaccination sites and around the community. We need both medical and general support teams. Will you join us?

Sign up and select your shift right here at My Turn – Volunteer. New vaccination sites are being set up over the next few weeks, so if you don’t see an opportunity in your area, check back soon. You can also sign up for updates, and we’ll notify you.

Join your friends, neighbors and thousands of volunteers across the state who are helping us make sure every Californian who wants a vaccine gets a vaccine.

Cristina Valdivia Aguilar, a spokesperson for California Volunteers, explained the site. “If you sign up on the tool, you’ll be able to register for a general support or medical positions, depending on your background…You can find a location near your home.”

Even though some areas are requiring eight-hour volunteer shifts, “Aguilar said if you work four hours or more, you can receive a vaccine with approval from the clinic administrator—even if you’re not eligible within the state’s framework that’s prioritizing health care workers, seniors and some essential workers such as teachers,” according to SF Gate.

“If you volunteer for four hours or more you’re classified within one of the tiers,” she said. “You’re classified as a community health worker from the California essential workforce list.”

According to SF Gate, it isn’t only medical personnel that the state needs. “Medical volunteers — including registered nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and dentists — may assist in vaccination efforts, whether prepping vaccines or injecting and observing patients.” However, non-medical workers can help with other jobs such as language support, welcoming those who arrive to get a vaccine, cleaning areas, registering people, and helping to direct traffic.

Aguilar said that while lots of places require volunteers to be 18 years of age or older, that is not true for every location. She also said that more times to volunteer will be added as the program continues.

“We were at a site in Los Angeles on Sunday and they need 200 volunteers a day,” she said. “It’s a really big site… the Kedren Community Health Center in South Los Angeles. It’s a great way to feel like a part of the solution and like you’re helping in a pandemic.”

There are other ways that citizens can help those who need to get vaccinated, as well. The government-run volunteer effort is also encouraging people to inform others about the facts of the vaccine, and also provide rides to vaccine appointments or help people schedule them.

The rollout comes as many are considering ways in which to incentivize people to get the shots, as well as an increase in the need for personnel to help with the boost in distribution.