Sep. 26—ALBANY — Phoebe is making plans to reopen mass vaccination sites once it receives clear direction from the federal government on how and when it can begin offering COVID-19 booster shots.
The Food and Drug Administration approved allowing third doses of the Pfizer vaccine to those 65 and older, individuals at high risk of severe COVID-19, health care workers and other workers at higher risk for occupational exposure six months after they received their second dose. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must weigh in and provide further guidance.
"We're waiting for instructions from the federal government, but we want to have our plan in place and be ready to start inoculating those who are eligible for a booster as soon as we get the go-ahead," Phoebe Vice President of Operations Will Peterson, who oversees the health system's vaccination efforts, said.
Phoebe also is asking for volunteers to help with its community COVID-19 booster effort.
"The Phoebe Family has been surrounded by amazing support and encouragement by the communities we call home, throughout the pandemic," Phoebe Director of Volunteer Services Suzanne Perrine said. "That support has meant the world to us, and now we need our community's help again."
Active or retired health care workers can volunteer to serve as inoculators, while other volunteers could offer non-clinical logistical support.
"We have already been in contact with retired nurses and physicians who are interested in helping us administer vaccinations, and we certainly have room for others to join that effort," Perrine said. "We'll also need volunteers to help with everything from greeting people at the front door to offering them juice or a snack after they get their shot. There's really something for anyone to do."
Phoebe plans to open mass booster shot sites in Albany, Americus and Sylvester for a limited time when demand is expected to be high.
"Our teams did an amazing job of operating mass vaccination sites from January through May of this year," Peterson said. "We got so many comments from the public about how efficiently we ran those sites. Once we're able to provide boosters, the format and process will be very similar, but our resources are still stretched thin as we respond to this latest COVID surge. We think volunteering for this lifesaving effort is a great way for folks to serve their community."
Anyone interested in serving as a booster site volunteer must fill out an online registration form through the rb.gy/nahtb5 link. Once the schedules for the mass vaccination sites are set, Phoebe will contact each volunteer to schedule their shifts.
Phoebe will communicate the locations and hours of operation of the booster sites, as well as who is eligible and how they can schedule booster appointments, once the CDC issues its final guidance.