Hundreds of NJ residents volunteer to help with COVID-19 vaccination process
Hundreds of New Jersey residents are volunteering their time to pitch in at COVID-19 vaccination centers.
Essex County has more than 1,000 volunteers, with at least 300 volunteers working every day across five vaccination sites
“If it wasn’t for these volunteers, we would not be able to run the operations that we’re running right now,” says Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo.
Jan Carter is a West Orange resident who volunteers several days a week at a vaccine site.
“I just want to give back. I’ve been very fortunate in my life, and I was able to have a very good life. I want to help people to continue to have one of their own,” he says.
Volunteer duties include, but are not limited to, greeting and registering vaccine recipients or even making patients feel at ease before and after being vaccinated.
“You have to have it running smoothly. You don’t want to get people aggravated or upset,” Carter says. “You want them to be calm, because that’s necessary through this process.”
The volunteers say that they want to move the inoculation narrative forward after a year of the pandemic.
“We’ve been in this pandemic for way too long. Everybody should be able to get their vaccine, to be able to get some kind of normalcy again,” says volunteer Seniah Thompson.
The vaccine site at the West Caldwell School of Technology sees between 600 and 800 people daily for vaccines. No doses are wasted. At the end of the day any unused doses are offered to any of the unvaccinated volunteers and others who work at the site.
Any additional unused doses are offered to patients and staff at the nearby psychiatric hospital, as well as to the staff, inmates and detainees at the correctional facility.