San Diego County

Organizers Put Out Call for More Volunteers at Vaccination Super Stations

NBC Universal, Inc.

There is a volunteer shortage at the downtown vaccination super station keeping it from running at max efficiency, according to the site's volunteer director.

San Diego County partners with UC San Diego Health to staff the site with health care workers who administer vaccines, monitor patients and work through appointments.

They’re doing a fantastic job, but Layah Blacksberg, UC San Diego Health’s director of volunteer and spiritual care services, said more community volunteers would help the site run a lot smoother.

One of the biggest things volunteers help with is directing traffic, which can get bad around the super station, but Blacksberg said volunteer participation is lagging behind.

“We're currently at 20% a day and we are really looking to grow that to approximately 30%,” Blacksberg said.

Traffic is expected to worsen over the weekend as the site works to honor make-up appointments after the early-week storm forced the site to close for two days.

The volunteer shortage is concerning with the county set to open two more super stations soon, including one at CSU San Marcos that will open Sunday. Blacksberg said they will all be staffed from the same pool of volunteers.

A county spokesperson said it would be a mischaracterization of fact to suggest the county can't staff its current super stations, adding that opening new vaccination sites is the best way to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.

While behind, Blacksberg sees hope in the current recruiting effort.

“If we can get those 2,500 people who registered this week to volunteer three times over the course of the next few months then we are in really good shape,” she said.

Shifts are four and eight hours long, and the greatest need is between lunchtime and 8 p.m., according to Blacksberg.

Volunteers can expect this feel good bonus: work one shift and at the end of it you can get the vaccine.

Volunteers will be asked to sign consent forms, and go through a background check and some training beforehand.

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