Local News

Here's how you can apply to volunteer at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic

Members of the public can volunteer to assist the state of North Carolina with emergency response, including the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, but there are some steps involved.

Posted Updated

Jessica Patrick
, WRAL multiplatform producer
RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Emergency Management started recruiting volunteers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in January.

As of Feb. 1, 1,585 people had applied, and 273 have cleared the vetting process and are preparing to help with COVID-19 vaccines and testing, data entry, parking, answering phones and more.

According to NCEM, 65% of the volunteers are non-medical volunteers.

How to help with COVID-19

Whether you want to help respond to natural disasters or public health emergencies, there are steps everyone must take before they can volunteer with NCEM.

Everyone needs to create a profile on NCEM's "TERMS" (training, exercise and response management system) website. A step-by-step guide can be found online.

The state needs medical workers to help with COVID-19 vaccines, but there is an even bigger need for people to take on support roles.

One of the biggest bottlenecks in the vaccine rollout has been inputting patients' information into the vaccine management system — and this is something volunteers can do with a little bit of training.
“We realized pretty quickly that there was a ton of work on the back-end that these agencies that are giving the vaccine need to do,” said Keith Acree, spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

To help specifically with NCEM's COVID-19 response, complete the following:

  • Create a personal profile in TERMS.
  • On the response profile page, click "join a team" and select "ESF8 – Public Health and Medical Services."
  • Next, select "COVID 19 Medical Response Volunteers."
  • Select the team you wish to join and click “Request Membership.”

Volunteers will be vetted, including a credential/license check and a criminal background check.

"Anyone can draw from the pool, whether they are a local health department or hospital or some other location that’s administering the vaccine. We may see doctor’s offices doing that if they need some help with the process,” Acree said.

At Cary Pediatric Center, Dr. Brian Bowman is encouraging his staff to volunteer at community clinics.

"With the proper training and proper equipment, your risk is not high in those situations," Bowman said. "There’s plenty of folks like myself and other colleagues of mine who know that the higher vaccination rate we have in our community the more we protect everyone. The process of getting shots into arms now includes neighbors helping neighbors."

What information will be asked of me?

Potential volunteers will be asked for personal information, including their name, social security number, drivers license number, occupation, home address, emergency contact and other information. NCEM will also want to know of any languages spoken or special skills that may be of help.

Registrants will also be asked which volunteer teams they are interested in, ranging anywhere from search and rescue, public health and medical services, hazardous materials, agriculture, mass care and human services, and more.

Depending on what services you will be offering, be ready to answer questions like:

  • How far away and how long are you willing to be deployed?
  • Do you have commitments that might pose a conflict?

Finally, be ready to share medical history information, including allergies, a record of immunizations and more.

The skills NCEM is looking for are vast but include vaccination administration, clerical work, computer networking, volunteer coordination, communication, first aid, psychosocial support training and more.

Depending on the type of response they select, people may need to take online classes before volunteering.


Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.