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Vaccination Sites In Torrance, Orange County Hamstrung By Lack Of Staffing, Volunteers

TORRANCE (CBSLA) — One critical element of distributing COVID-19 vaccines is in extremely short supply – people to help staff vaccination sites.

Several people who had made appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine arrived at El Camino College in Torrance Tuesday, only to be turned away because the site wasn't staffed. The healthcare company Curative was supposed to administer the shots.

Hollywood resident Ronald Quigley said the situation was frustrating, to put it lightly.

"There was a man in line who came all the way from Arcadia with a 90-year-old mother," he said. "He had to wake her up at 5 o'clock in the morning. He was irate."

Quigley said it took him days to book his appointment, but he was able to re-book with the same company for Wednesday.

In Orange County, public health officials are asking for volunteers, especially those with medical training. They especially need doctors and nurses, but will also take dentists, medical assistants, pharmacists – even those who are still students – respiratory therapists, psychiatric technicians, paramedics, EMTs and naturopathic doctors. Volunteers are also needed for logistical support for rules like computer data entry, registration and traffic.

Former California medical association president Dr. David Aizuss says Los Angeles County could make it easier for volunteers to help administer the vaccine.

One of the issues, Aizus says, is the county requires physicians to commit to 10-and-a-half-hour days.

"Physicians are ready, willing and able to volunteer but your typical busy physician can't do that unless he takes that entire day off of their office," he said.

Many colleges appear to be leading the volunteer front: Chelsie Osuna is a last-year nursing student at Glendale Community College.

Osuna has been administering vaccines at USC Verdugo Hospital and Glendale Adventist as part of her clinical hours, doing 10-hour days and loggin 96 hours in about six weeks.

"We're administering vaccines pretty much the whole of the day," she said. "There are some RNs there supervising just to help direct patients. There are people who are registering all the patients as well. As the student nurses there in the vaccines clinic we are actually administering the vaccines which is very rewarding in and of itself."


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