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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Delaware looks for more volunteers for its medical reserve corps to help distribute vaccine

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Part of the state’s push to get COVID-19 vaccines out and into people’s arms involves trying to get more volunteers for the Delaware Medical Reserve Corps.

Officials say both medical and nonmedical volunteers have a role to play with vaccine distribution.

Delaware Public Media’s Nick Ciolino recently spoke with Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long - who is also a Principal Investigator with the Medical Reserve Corps - about the corps and its role.

The state is trying to bolster its medical reserve corps to help assist with vaccine distribution.

Delaware is looking for medical and nonmedical volunteers to join the state’s medical reserve corps, a group formed after 9/11 in many states to help deal with the aftermath of disasters.

Officials say nurses, doctors and other licensed medical personnel are needed to administer vaccines, while nonmedical volunteers can play a role helping with setup, processing people who get the vaccine or submitting data to the state.

“We really appreciate persons who perhaps are retired. They may have worked in communications, or restaurants, front-line, been a bus driver, you name it. We take all skill sets of persons and we welcome them,” said Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, who is also a Principal Investigator with the Medical Reserve Corps. “If you can imagine, we have several hundred thousands of persons who are going to need to be vaccinated.”    

The corps is being used to assist with the large scale vaccination events the state is holding, and more are planned. 

“Each night we’re out. I was out - we have been in Sussex, and we were out last night at Delaware City DMV, tonight we’re in Middletown, Friday night in Marshallton,” said Hall-Long. “We need help, so all hands on deck.”    

The Delaware Medical Reserve Corps has units in all three counties through the Office of State Emergency Services.

It assisted with clean-up efforts and mental health services in the aftermath of storm in the First State last fall.

Hall-Long says the corps could also be used to assist the National Guard in setting up field hospitals if those were needed, but officials say Delaware hospitals are able to handle the current level of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

To date Delaware has administered at least 30,992 of the more than 75,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine it has received.

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