As COVID-19 vaccination efforts begin to roll out around the globe, Lions are answering the call for volunteer assistance. From setting appointments to monitoring symptoms post vaccination, Lions are serving to ensure patients and medical personnel have a helping hand through each step of the vaccination process.
…Lions are answering the call for volunteer assistance.
Many Lions have volunteered at COVID-19 testing sites during the past year. Being an integral part of vaccination efforts is a natural extension to serving at testing sites. “This type of work is the epitome of our motto ‘We Serve,’” notes Lion Kim Stewart of the Alma Bay of Fundy Cyber Club Branch in Nova Scotia, Canada. Lion Kim is gearing up with fellow members to assist her local health department in the safe deployment of vaccinations beginning in April.
In the U.S., the Barkhamsted Lions in Connecticut recently called seniors ages 75 and over to see if they needed help scheduling their COVID-19 vaccines. Past District Governor Lion Dave Roberts says that many seniors don’t have the technology to schedule appointments and can be overwhelmed with the scheduling process. Lions were provided scripts and lists of seniors to call. Some seniors were lonely and just enjoyed talking, even though they did not need help scheduling their vaccine appointments. When necessary, Lions also provided rides for seniors to get their vaccines, as many do not like to drive during the winter months or lack access to transportation.
You don’t have to be a medical professional to help out. Here are some of the ways Lions are serving around COVID-19 vaccination efforts:
- Scheduling vaccination appointments and making reminder phone calls
- Providing rides for seniors or for those who require transportation assistance to a vaccination site
- Directing traffic and assisting with parking
- Screening for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 prior to entering the vaccination site
- Providing directional guidance and wayfinding through each step of the vaccination process
- Ensuring patients are registered and helping them fill out required paperwork
- Administering vaccinations (if Lion is a current or former medical professional)
- Monitoring line movement, ensuring social distancing between patients
- Observing patients for adverse reactions post vaccination
- Offering their clubhouse as a vaccination site
Lions clubs in the UK have been very active in multiple facets of the vaccination effort. The Banbury Lions Club regularly serves at COVID-19 vaccination sites by directing traffic and helping those with mobility needs find appropriate parking spaces, unload wheelchairs and secure walkers. Rain or shine, and often in below freezing temperatures, the club helps the clinic avoid bottlenecks by monitoring the flow of foot traffic into the clinic.
Lion Mike Baldwin of the Bletchley Lions Club says that he and fellow Lions are happy to rally around this effort because “it’s a chance to see each other, carry out vital community service after about 10 months of being dormant, and it offers really good PR opportunities because everyone is wearing Lions vests while serving at the vaccination sites.”
Lion Victor Wright of the Bletchley Lions Club (UK) directs car park traffic at a local COVID-19 vaccination site.
Nearby, the Balsall Common Lions Club provides friendly faces and a calming presence while safely ushering community members through the vaccination process at a local health center. “We have received dozens of uplifting comments, personally and on social media, plus a number of inquiries about volunteering with Lions – so a very positive influence on recruitment,” says Lion Mark Whitfield.
Balsall Common Lions (UK) help out at their local COVID-19 vaccination site.
Volunteer requirements vary by region and may include age restrictions and a background check. As a perk, volunteers may have the opportunity to get vaccinated if extra vaccine doses are available at the end of a volunteer shift.
Stafford Lions (UK) serve at their local COVID-19 vaccination site.
Contact your local public health department, medical reserve corps, hospital system or vaccination clinic to find out how your club can assist.
Sarah Hermann is the manager of volunteer engagement and events at Lions Clubs International and a member of the Windy City Lions Club.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted communities around the world in different ways. To ensure we’re serving safely wherever we live, Lions should follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization or local health authorities. Visit our Serving Safely page for resources that can help you safely serve your community.