Volunteering at a Mass Vaccination Site

By Judith C. Miller, RN, MSN

August 20, 2021

I recently volunteered at a mass Covid-19 vaccination site at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH.  

The approval and availability of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine prompted the state to set up a mass vaccination site at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the goal of vaccinating 12,000 people.  The whole event was put together in one week. There were over 350 volunteers – nurses, doctors, pharmacists, EMTs, social workers, interpreters, and so many others registering and screening both volunteers and vaccine recipients. 

I am not sure that anyone looked at the weather forecast – cold and windy.  But then again, maybe they did. Hand Warmers (used by skiers) were given out freely to us. I still thought I would freeze to death in spite of layers and layers of winter clothing.  We were definitely not a fashion show.

Vaccinators administered prefilled syringes with the vaccine.  They had to be kept close to the chest – literally – to keep the vaccine from freezing. 

Cars with their screened occupants were sent through the nine vaccination lanes in a steady fashion.  Each lane had 4 vaccination sites.  Four cars would enter the lane and the eligible and screened occupants received their vaccines and the appropriate paperwork was done. Then all four cars were directed to the observation area to be observed for side effects and four more cars took their place and the same thing happened over and over again.  At one point when I checked our timings, we were doing a carful of people every 3-4 minutes. Some cars had one person to be vaccinated and some had two or three or even four.

It was well organized, in spite of the short plan time, and when a few glitches happened, adjustments were made and things smoothed out.  

I am not sure of the exact final total, but the three-day total (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) was about 12,000 people. Congratulations and a hearty thank you to all those health care workers and others who volunteered to work on their time off to keep others safe and healthy.

I know some of you have probably done this too. Thank you. And to those who may be given the opportunity to volunteer in such a role – go for it.  It is very fulfilling to do your small part in helping keep people safer and healthier. 

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