Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–As COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Muscatine County, points of delivery, or PODs, have sprung up to help distribute them to eligible recipients. With larger vaccination sites anticipated as more vaccines come in the future, United Way of Muscatine has paired with Trinity Muscatine Public Health to make sure they have enough staff to run each POD when the need arises. To meet these demands, United Way has started seeking out non-medical volunteers.

Nichole Sorgenfrey, program manager for United Way, says that any volunteer age 16 and up can help with the PODs, though anyone under 18 will need to volunteer with an adult. Volunteers can assist with a variety of tasks, including checking in vaccine recipients to ensure they completed their registration form, directing traffic between different stations, monitoring people during the 15 minute waiting period following vaccination and helping them keep track of the time, and possibly helping with digital data entry at larger sites. Each volunteer should expect to work for two to four hours, depending on the number of people receiving vaccines that day.

At this time, people who have not yet received a vaccine may still volunteer to help at a POD. In order to keep themselves and those getting vaccinated safe, Sorgenfrey did emphasize that all volunteers will need to wear masks.

If you would like to add your name to the list of possible volunteers for PODs in Muscatine County, Sorgenfrey encourages you to submit United Way’s online interest form. Once United Way receives a form, they will follow up with a call to answer any additional questions, run a background check, and then email all accepted volunteers. When a POD needs volunteers, United Way will email all approved volunteers to let them know and sign up for that event.

So far, United Way has tested this system with a small number of volunteers and found it successful. On Mar. 5, eight volunteers assisted Trinity Muscatine Public Health with their mass vaccination clinic at West Liberty Foods. The following day, an additional four volunteers helped at the second dose vaccine event held for West Liberty Public School teachers.

As state and national officials predict vaccine allotments to each state will grow, United Way hopes to provide the support needed to get shots out to county residents efficiently. “We want to get everyone vaccinated and back to normalcy,” said Sorgenfrey. “We’re making history, and we’re excited to be part of it.”

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