A major undertaking to vaccinate Americans is taking place throughout the country, and volunteers have been eager to step up to the task. As part of an I-CERV initiative, over 25 volunteers partnered with Los Angeles County and Orange County to administer vaccinations to over 500 individuals. The volunteers included registered nurses, physician assistants, and non-clinical volunteers, who assisted with administering the vaccinations, post-vaccine observations, and registration.

“The County staff was great and very appreciative,” says Anila Ladak, who volunteered at both events and also works at UCLA as a geriatric clinical nurse specialist. “They were very organized, professional and open to having us there.” Each volunteer performed 10-hour shifts at California State University Northridge or at the Anaheim Convention center and devoted additional hours towards the Counties’ onboarding procedure prior to volunteering.

The importance of vaccination efforts is described by Dr. Nasima Vira, the Chairman for Aga Khan Health Board for the Western United States: “We all have to do our part. Until we get herd immunity with 80% of the population is immunized, I don’t know when we can get back to our normal lives.”

Volunteers like Karima Gulwani, a nurse practitioner, took time out of their daily life to volunteer and did not shy away from the chance to serve. “It was a great opportunity to connect with our community and serve for a worthwhile cause,” says Karima. Dilshad Samnani, an oncology nurse by profession, remarks, “We hope to have more opportunities to serve our communities in the near future.”

Hot temperatures during the drive-thru vaccination site in Northridge, and long travel times for those traveling from outside counties, could not discourage the volunteers from serving. Sameer Ladak, an IT analyst by profession, was grateful for the opportunity to connect with other volunteers in the community and learn new skills. 

Sumera Chaggan, a physician assistant, echoes the sentiments of all the volunteers and hopes to serve her community again in the near future.

Those interested in volunteering at vaccination sites throughout California can visit https://myturnvolunteer.ca.gov/ for more information.