Do you need help providing COVID-19 vaccines to your patients?
We've heard some practices may not have the staffing resources to plan for additional vaccination services. Health care providers can request short-term staffing to support COVID-19 vaccinations through local and state emergency management. These volunteers can support staffing needs such as vaccinators, post-vaccination observation monitors, data entry staff, or logistics support for planning vaccination clinic days.
How do I make a request?
Visit our emergency volunteer web page to learn more about how to request volunteers. It starts by sending your request for volunteers to your local emergency management.
For vaccination related requests, we will prioritize requests that support:
- Primary care providers
- Rural providers
- Providers serving vulnerable populations
- Providers in areas of low vaccination coverage and high social vulnerability
You can request support for specific time periods or events. Our goal is to get you staffing support, so you can vaccinate your patient populations.
Why are we doing this?
We've heard from providers that they need more staffing resources in order to continue offering COVID-19 vaccinations, in addition to routine care activities. A recent survey of pediatric and family medicine providers showed the majority (57 percent) of the survey respondents were not yet vaccinating adolescents against COVID-19, but they would be interested in administering the vaccine in the future. At least 20 percent of surveyed practices asked for some support with doing COVID-19 vaccinations.
What types of staff roles can I request?
You can request a variety of staffing job roles. Examples include:
Administrative Staff (Non-clinical)
- Prepare consent forms, review or prepare vaccination cards, look up vaccination history, call or email patients to remind them about their vaccine appointment
- Enter data into Immunization Information System and/or medical record
- Monitor low-risk patients during post-vaccination observation period
- Increase your clinic's capacity for vaccination services
- Educate and inform patients pre-vaccination about the vaccine, what to expect, and possible adverse reactions
- Screen patients for contraindications, confirm recommended observation time, and work with other clinical staff if recommended wait time doesn't seem adequate
- Handle, prepare, and reconstitute vaccine
- Administer vaccine and document vaccine administration
- Monitor high-risk patients during post-vaccination observation period
Clinic Flow Assessment and Quality Improvement Visit
- Assess your clinic flow
- Assess vaccination coverage
- Offer feedback and suggestions for how to improve your flow for offering or scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations
Frequently Asked Questions
- If I make a staffing request, can I still bill for the vaccination and counseling service provided to the patient?
Yes, you can still ask for insurance reimbursement for vaccination services and counseling provided by volunteers assigned to your clinic. These staff resources are to augment your clinic services, and the staff are working under your supervision.
- Can I make multiple requests?
Yes. Each request is for specific roles and time periods. You can make multiple requests over time to meet your needs.
- How long will I be able to make requests?
We don't know. It will depend on volunteer availability and demand for the service. Check our emergency volunteer webpage for updates.
- Will every request be approved?
We will prioritize resource requests from smaller primary care providers, rural care providers, and providers in areas of high social vulnerability and low vaccination coverage. We will try to support all requests as best we can.
- If I request a vaccinator, do I need to have a standing order in place?
Volunteer vaccinators will vaccinate under the Washington State Department of Health standing order.
- Will I need to provide training or orientation to volunteer staff?
Yes, you should give volunteer staff an initial orientation to make sure they understand their role and any site-specific information. Volunteers will receive information about the staffing request before they arrive at your clinic. Vaccinators will also be familiar with the COVID-19 vaccines, preparation, and administration.
- How will I know they came from this program and are qualified to provide the services I've requested?
You will receive confirmation from the Department of Health (DOH) if your request can be fulfilled. DOH identifies and authorizes volunteer vaccinators. They will receive basic orientation prior to deployment. The person may need additional onsite orientation at your clinic, depending on the task(s).
- Does my clinic have to be a COVID-19 vaccine provider to request volunteers and vaccines?
No, your clinic doesn't have to be an enrolled COVID-19 vaccine provider. We can work with both situations – either bring staff and vaccines to a clinic for use or use existing vaccine at an enrolled COVID-19 vaccine provider site.
- Will my clinic have to supply the administrative supplies for the vaccinations?
COVID-19 vaccines come with an ancillary supply kit, and you can use the supplies to administer the vaccine. You will need a few other supplies, such as sharps containers, gloves, and education materials (vaccine and v-safe fact sheets). If you can't gather these supplies, we can work with you.
- Are volunteers covered for liability or injury?
You can find information on liability coverage on the emergency volunteer health practitioner webpage.
- Is there any liability for my organization if a patient has side or adverse effects to the vaccine?
The vaccine is available under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or full approval by the Food and Drug Administration. For COVID-19 vaccines under EUA or with full approval, organizations are free from liability under the Public Readiness and Preparedness (PREP) Act, and injuries can be claimed through the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP).
- Will I supply personal protective equipment (PPE) for the vaccinators?
Yes, you should provide vaccinators with PPE. Masks and face shields are part of the ancillary supply kit. You will need to supply other PPE, like gloves.
- Will I have to pay the support staff?
No, you are not required to pay for staff support. Part of the request form asks if the clinic can pay for per diem or lodging. It's okay to say no. For more information on paying volunteers, please see the Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners frequently asked questions webpage.
- How will the vaccination documentation get into the IIS?
You must submit all COVID-19 vaccinations to the Washington Immunization Information System (WAIIS). You can use direct data entry or an existing HL7 interface connection to report your data into the WAIIS. You can request staffing assistance to document doses in the WAIIS and/or your patient health record.