Virginia boosts efforts to recruit volunteer COVID-19 vaccinators

COVID-19 Vaccine

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia is working to get more volunteers on board to vaccinate residents across the state against COVID-19.

On Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced several efforts that will increase the state’s vaccinator workforce.

It includes a new initiative to recruit eligible people to administer the vaccines.

Northam recently signed House Bill 2333 and Senate Bill 1445, which expand the pool of health care providers eligible to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in Virginia. The bills were introduced by Del. Lamont Bagby and Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, respectively.

In April, Northam also issued Third Amended Executive Order Fifty-Seven, which gives additional flexibility to health care providers such as licensed practical nurses and out-of-state licensed professionals to give vaccines.

Those able to administer vaccines include dentists, dental hygienists, veterinarians, optometrists, and health professions students enrolled in an accredited Virginia program.

Also, this week, Northam announced that all Virginians 16 and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine starting April 18.

“Last year, we issued a call for 30,000 medical and non-medical volunteers to join our fight against COVID-19, and I am proud that over 35,000 Virginians have since stepped forward to assist through the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps,” said Northam.

Northam said Virginia is giving nearly 67,000 vaccine doses per day, and has administered about 3.8 million shots to-date, the governor’s office news release said Friday.

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of our health care providers and volunteer vaccinators, Virginia is administering an average of nearly 67,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine each day and has given over 3.8 million shots to date. By further expanding our vaccinator workforce, we can build on this momentum and ensure we have additional vaccination capacity as supply increases and more individuals become eligible to receive the vaccine.”

“These efforts to increase the ranks of vaccinators will immediately affect Virginians and their ability to get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Virginia Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver. “We need ‘all hands on deck’ as we ramp up our vaccination campaign, and the legislation introduced by Delegate Bagby and Senator Dunnavant is crucial to providing additional tools for these unprecedented times.”

Eligible health care workers may register to volunteer as a COVID-19 vaccinator through the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps or the newly-established Virginia Volunteer Vaccinator Registry.

The Virginia MRC is a force of volunteers that are required to complete a background investigation, volunteer orientation, vaccination-specific training as outlined by the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a skills assessment to demonstrate competency in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Virginia Volunteer Vaccinator Registry is a temporary COVID-19 emergency program managed by the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Emergency Management. A list of credentialed volunteers through the program will be made available to hospitals, nonprofits, and local health departments operating community vaccination clinics upon request.

For more information or to sign up as a Virginia Medical Reserve Corps or Virginia Volunteer Vaccinator Registry volunteer, visit the Virginia Department of Health community vaccinator page.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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