Looking at the newest update on COVID-19 in November, my fellow governors in North Carolina, USA, felt we had to do something. Having been a part of two National Immunization Day trips to India in 2015 and 2019 with Zone 33 regional Rotary Foundation coordinator Nancy Barbee, I knew that Rotarians had the ability to respond with a vaccine on the horizon. The global polio eradication partnership gives a blueprint that provides strategy that is effective in any community. Rotary can be a part of the COVID-19 response strategy in the same way it has been for polio and other viruses.
Together, our six district governor classmates, part of the Zone 33/34 “Flamingos,” came together by contacting the Office of the Secretary, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) offering support based on our past work to eradicate polio. From these initial conversations, the beginning of a coordinated strategy has emerged that involves more than 12,200 Rotarians in North Carolina standing ready to help when called upon.
Rotarians across the state are receiving information to elevate their confidence in the vaccines available and answer their questions. This will better equip them to provide guidance and build confidence in others, as Rotarians are looked up to as leaders in their communities. The more we have thought space together, the better. View the webinar we held 21 January with the Department of Health and Human Services at https://vimeo.com/504959100.
We sent the link to the presentation along with materials to all participating Rotarians to review and share with their clubs. You can download these in English & Spanish:
- English: https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/COVID19-Vaccine-101-Deck-Final.pdf
- Spanish: https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/vaccines/Presentacion-Vacunacion-COVID-19.pdf
Health and Human Services staff will provide a follow up webinar for Rotarians in the same format to continue providing education and elevate awareness about vaccines and vaccine distribution. The webinars also serve as a place for members to ask questions and strategize ways they can provide support.
Additionally, Rotary has offered to support local health departments, who are actively vaccinating North Carolinians. Our district governors have coordinated points of contacts for Health and Human Services for all 85 local health departments. The state department has sent this list out to all local departments. Support will look different in different communities, but can include food trays for health workers and volunteers so they can eat and not spend extra time getting food, assistance with check in processes, helping with vaccinations if you are a health worker, providing data entry support, and helping with traffic control, in conjunction with local law enforcement.