San Francisco H1N1 Vaccination Clinic: A Collaborative Success
By Kurt Kleier, Volunteer, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter
January 6, 2010
Over the last few months, Red Cross volunteers have supported H1N1 vaccination clinics throughout the Bay Area. On December 22, I volunteered at the H1N1 mass vaccination clinic at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. I worked as a “floating runner,” performing public affairs work, ensuring that other runners were relieved for breaks, and assisting in making sure that all logistics ran smoothly. More than 9,000 people were vaccinated throughout the entire day.
The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter had a significant presence at the clinic. More than 70 individuals volunteered their time to help in the vaccination effort. The Red Cross Bay Area Responder (our emergency mobile command center) was on site to serve Red Cross volunteer needs in addition to providing canteen services to more than 1,000 individuals.
This was the last and largest in a series of clinics that American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter volunteers participated in alongside the San Francisco Department of Public Health. “Clinic organizers from the Department of Public Health told us that the Red Cross volunteers were a huge part of the clinic’s success,” said Aaron Litwin, Red Cross disaster manager for San Francisco County.
All clinic workers, most of whom did not know each other before the clinic, demonstrated competence, coordination, creativity and cultural diversity. Taking advantage of San Francisco’s diverse population, organizers were able to recruit multi-lingual staff, with over 15 languages and dialects available to participants. The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter looks forward to collaborating with other agencies in future endeavors.