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Thousands of volunteers across Iowa and Nebraska critical to COVID-19 vaccine rollout

As more and more vaccine becomes available there is concern over volunteer burnout
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Thousands of volunteers across Nebraska and Iowa have stepped up to play a critical role in getting the COVID-19 vaccines out but there are rising concerns over whether it’s sustainable.

At this past weekend’s mass vaccination clinic in La Vista, roughly 4,000 people got their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine, thanks in large part to the volunteer effort.

“I never thought that I ever again would be writing my name with RN behind my name,” said Cheri Anderson, but that’s exactly what she’s doing; coming out of retirement to help out. “I just felt like it was an opportunity to serve, and I actually got my RN reinstated to be able to volunteer as a vaccinator.”

She’s been giving shots since January, along with her daughter who’s also a nurse. “I asked her, ‘hey, would you like to come help me?’,” said Becca Warren. “I knew they were going crazy in their house and not doing anything and trying to be safe, so when I asked and she was like, ‘of, course, I’d love to,’.”

So far it’s that kind of enthusiasm fueling clinics mass vaccination clinics.

“You do need volunteers to pull this off, and a lot of volunteers are giving a lot of time and a lot of hours,” said Kyle Jensen, Owner, Community Pharmacy, noting there’s concern fatigue may start setting in. “There’s a lot of people who’ve been burning it on both ends for a long time, and I do get concerned that these volunteers will get burned out.”

Volunteers are doing everything from getting people properly registered to helping them find their seats. “Whoever’s interested in helping out at these things, I highly encourage anyone who’s interested in helping to get involved,” said Jensen.

As for the mother-daughter duo, they have no intention of slowing down.

“It’s been great,” said Anderson. “We decided to do this together, and it’s been a fun thing to do together.”

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