A week ago, when I started VacCorps, all I had was an idea and a heavy dose of hope: I wanted a way for non-HCPs (healthcare providers), like myself, to help the vaccination efforts, but no such volunteer sign up existed. Although there are a few places to register for healthcare providers like physicians, nurses, etc. (CVMS, TERMS) none of these were accepting workers like me. I have worked in a lab most of my professional life, I’m skilled in aseptic technique and drug/vaccine preparation, I have had HIPAA (medical privacy) training and I’ve worked in a medical office and as a medical interpreter…all transferable skills that could support vaccination providers! Many of my friends and colleagues have similarly transferable skills. Where could we sign up to help? I believe that if you want something to exist in the world, you should create it.
VacCorps is a tool that connects volunteer support staff to vaccine providers. What I realize as I reflect on a very intense week is that VacCorps is so much more than that! Upon going live last Monday, we started off with 9 volunteers signing up. By the second day, over 60 had signed up, and each day the numbers at least doubled (exponential growth!). Today we have over 260 volunteers in our database! Neighbors and friends helped spread the word via social media and the local news, they helped mail postcards to county health departments across NC and they provided emotional support during a very intense week. What I gradually realized is that, in addition to creating a tool to help vaccinators fight COVID-19, VacCorps has created more of what we want to see in the World: a place where people show up for each other as neighbors, as helpers, as workers, as volunteers. A place where people set aside their fear and worry and roll up their sleeves to work together. If anything comes of this endeavor, let it be this: that it is up to each of us to create more of what we want to see in the world. Let’s all do more of that together.