Getting Started: Approximating an Exponential Solution to COVID-19


A few weeks ago I was listening to a news report about the various bottlenecks to COVID-19 vaccine deployment. One of the bottlenecks listed was the staff needed to put shots in people’s arms. I thought to myself, “Well, I have lab experience, aseptic technique experience, why can’t I volunteer to help the vaccination efforts?”. What I realized is that, although there are sites for traditional vaccinators and health care workers (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, etc.) to register to work in the vaccination efforts, there wasn’t anywhere for someone like me to register. My math brain kicked in and I thought: “There is no way a linear solution (vaccinating people) can control an exponential problem (COVID-19)! You need to make the linear solution approximate an exponential solution….how do you do that?” In NC there is a huge pool of non-traditional vaccinators (dentists, veterinarians, etc.) and folks trained in laboratory and aseptic technique. Then my friend sent me this link and I realized that in order to run a mass vaccination center in the most exponential way possible, not only were we going to need vaccinators, but all the support staff to help them…and there is no time to hire such a workforce. And so, the VacCorps concept was born: a centralized place where volunteer support staff can sign up and be connected to vaccine providers across the state of NC with the following goals in mind:

  • Staff mass vaccination centers without further taxing health care providers that are currently caring for COVID-19 patients
  • Connect underserved and/or rural communities to pools of volunteer support staff


To be clear: VacCorps is not in any way associated wit Philly Fighting Covid (news story linked above) or any of its affiliates. I linked to this news story as a way to imagine a mass vaccination site run like an assembly line.
Our top value is transparency. VacCorps is completely non profit, and currently funded entirely by me, Cathrine Leonowens (Founder and CEO). We serve the community by connecting volunteers to vaccine providers for free. Our platform is open source (using R and residing on github) and our strategic plan is available publicly on the website. When you “contact us”, you are contacting me directly and I am here to answer all your questions.
I feel sad about the news of Philly Fighting Covid and how they failed their community and I feel dismayed that there are organizations out there that are not transparent and are seeking to profit in unethical ways from the pandemic.