Officials looking for volunteers to help distribute vaccine

NOW: Officials looking for volunteers to help distribute vaccine

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.-- The first step of distributing the Pfizer vaccine is already underway. Early next week, they’re going to hospitals all across the state of Indiana, and even to a few hospitals in St. Joseph County a couple days later. It’s only a matter of time before the vaccine starts moving in the direction to be distributed to community members.

“It’s important to realize at this point, nobody knows how much vaccines we will get and when it will be coming, I think we do have some understanding about the number of individuals who are eligible for vaccinations,” St. Joseph County Health Officer Dr. Bob Einterz said.

St. Joe County’s Health officer said that he anticipates 50 to 70% of the county’s population will want a vaccination. One of the main topics of discussion brought up throughout many meetings on community-wide administration is how they’ll be able to distribute hundreds or even thousands of vaccines a day when the time comes.

“If we assume that the health department is going to be responsible for vaccinating 50 percent of the county of the eligible individuals within the county, then we’re looking at close to 70,000 individuals that the health department will want to vaccinate,” Dr. Einterz said. “If we want to do all of this in 100 days which is what president elect Biden is hoping to do, then that translates into upwards of about 100 people every hour and that’s a lot.

The best way to make what they’re anticipating a possibility, is to get folks to help out.

“The staff are right now overworked within the healthcare system, and there’s no excess staff if anything there’s a shortage of staff and yet in just a few months we are going to want to institute the vaccine so we’ll be looking for individuals to help with everything from traffic control, registration and actual administration of the vaccine,” Dr. Einterz said.

Along with the number of people who do want to get vaccinated, there’s also a number of folks who are hesitant or against the Pfizer vaccine, however Einterz said he isn’t concerned that that will affect volunteer recruitment.

“In some ways in fact it may make things a little bit easier initially in that if there’s a lot of vaccine hesitancy, a lot of people are going to be waiting to see how things, what happens,” Dr. Einterz said. “The number of people initially may in fact not be as much and some ways that can be blessing as we try to figure out how we can be the most efficient and effective in the administration of this vaccine.”

Dr. Einterz said there will be certain criteria for the range of volunteer work they’re looking for. He said that a lot of specifics are still unknown, but that they’re working to bring more developments to the table soon.

“I just want to emphasize that there’s so much change that has happened, there’s so much change that will happen and it’s just important to roll with the punches here and be flexible,” Dr. Einterz said.

Dr. Einterz tells ABC57 that they’re in the process of creating web pages for recruitment and said it will be available in the next few weeks.

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