Six Veteran organizations are coming together to form the Veterans Coalition for Vaccination. The goal: enable Veterans to help other Veterans get vaccinated.
A Team Rubicon volunteer prepares a shot to administer.
Veterans have the experience to help organize vaccination sites
Veterans, who have moved everything from troops to ships to entire armies, have the unique skills and expertise needed to run vaccination sites, explained one of the VCV’s founding members, Art delaCruz of Team Rubicon.
“Veterans understand process, the value of executing steps in checklists, and managing unexpected changes. They were indoctrinated in teamwork and shared efforts and focusing available resources to carry out a mission,” says delaCruz. “Plus, their extensive and broad experience allows them to tackle the wide range of necessary tasks, from the managing all logistics to distribution of the vaccine to organizing and executing site administrative tasks – think registering people to get vaccinated or monitoring vaccines for reactions – to providing leadership and organization of the volunteers at a site.”
To enable Veterans to get into the fight, Team Rubicon, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Student Veterans of America (SVA); Team Red, White & Blue; The Mission Continues, and Wounded Warrior Project created the Veterans Coalition for Vaccination (VCV) in early February.
Mobilizing Veteran volunteers across the country
At its core, the VCV – and its Veteran volunteers – will provide health departments, communities and public agencies across the U.S. with the administrative, logistical and operational support needed to stand up and maintain vaccination sites. The VCV can also provide trained health care workers to supplement hospital staff.
By uniting their members into a nationwide network, the six founding partner organizations will be able to mobilize Veterans to deliver vaccines anywhere from the inner city to the most rural outpost, and hopefully improve equitable access to vaccinations to all Americans regardless of geographic or socioeconomic limitations.
For Veterans, it’s also a chance to serve their country again, and in a new way.
Any Veteran – anywhere in the U.S. – can register or volunteer with the VCV to help get the vaccine into arms in their very own communities.
“I’m excited to be able to use the skillsets that I obtained in the military to help people in my community. I’m at the point in my life where this is what I should be doing for people. And if I don’t do it then shame on me,” says U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Jon Chapman. “I have the resources, I have the time, I have the skillset. Even if it’s not going out and administering a shot, I have a background from the military that taught me how to manage resources and people make sure that vaccinating Americans gets done.”
Already, vaccination operations have spun up Chicago, Tucson, Daytona, Denver, FL; Mecklenburg County, NC; and Jefferson, WI. And the VCV has been fielding requests for assistance from other communities hit hard by COVID-19 that are struggling to stand up clinics on their own.
The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of VA.
Julie H. Case is an editor for Team Rubicon.