Broward County needs healthcare help to manage COVID vaccination sites

Samantha J. Gross, Michelle Marchante
·2 min read

Broward County needs help distributing COVID-19 vaccines to the community and is looking for active and retired healthcare professionals interested in giving a hand.

The Broward County Medical Reserve Corps, which helps recruit and manage healthcare volunteers in the county, is looking for healthcare professionals, people trained in national incident management or other similar skills to help run vaccination sites managed by the state health department.

Dr. Warren Sturman, a Broward Health cardiologist and the leader of the Reserve Corps, said throughout the pandemic, his group of volunteers worked on making thousands of masks for first responders and nursing homes, partnered with hospitals to secure testing and helped run logistics for plasma donation opportunities.

Now, about 300 volunteers — a group made up of doctors, nurses, healthcare personnel and general community members — are getting ready to work with the Department of Health to conduct traffic and mark windows at the Broward County state-run vaccination sites, observe those vaccinated in case of allergic reactions and answer the phones to help people who call with questions about the process.

Sturman said soon, some of the physicians and nurses in his volunteer group may be administering and handling vaccines. But for now, their operations are logistics only.

“About 10% of the volunteers are physicians, 20 to 30% nurses or licensed healthcare professionals, others are laypeople,” Sturman said. “The volunteers do anything DOH asks.”

Broward County Mayor Steve Geller said as more sites open up and the county gets more vaccine, Sturman’s team will become even more valuable.

“Hopefully we are going to get a lot more vaccines,” Geller said. “At that point, the Broward Medical Reserve will become increasingly important.”

Those interested can apply at http://browardmru.com/registernow/. The application asks for a variety of information including details on any professional license, registration or certificates you currently possess. It also asks you to pick areas you are most interested in helping with — Emergency Response, Non-Medical Administration, Unit Administration, Community Involvement, Special Events or Other.

While the application doesn’t provide any additional details on what type of work volunteers can expect, it’s not surprising that help is needed. The county’s health department has completed more than 20,000 appointments since it first opened registration earlier this month, and demand continues to be high. Seniors have reported waiting in line at some of Broward’s drive-thru sites for nearly five hours.

Making the vaccination distribution even more complicated: Only registered nurses are allowed to administer the COVID-19 vaccine — and COVID-19 surges across the country have elevated hospital demands for nurses, causing a nurse staffing shortage.