Updated March 9 to include information about My Turn Volunteer, which now offers the COVID-19 vaccine in return for at least four hours of volunteer work.
We've been asking for your questions around the COVID-19 vaccine for weeks now. And one big question we're hearing: "How can I volunteer to help the vaccination effort?"
There are several available programs, either run by the state of California or by Bay Area counties themselves. As California expands its vaccination program and site capacity, new volunteer opportunities will likely continue to open up around the Bay Area. We'll add them as we find them here — and if you know of one that's not listed in this story, let us know.
Before taking a look at volunteer opportunities around the Bay Area, consider these quick questions:
Do You Have Medical Training?
Some organizations and locations are only looking for volunteers with a medical background. We've noted MEDICAL next to these opportunities.
Can You Volunteer Safely?
If you're in a group with a higher risk of contracting a severe case of COVID-19, or have have underlying conditions that increase your risk of complications from COVID-19, you may consider remote volunteering instead. We've noted REMOTE next to the opportunities we found that are virtual.
Are You Prepared to Wait?
Several counties are warning volunteer applicants of delays in vetting, and say it might be a while before you hear back from anyone about your application — either because of processing times or because officials are waiting to hit a certain threshold of vaccinations when more volunteer support will be required. So, we'd recommend patience when waiting to hear back about volunteering. In the meantime, you might consider other volunteering opportunities that support your community, such as volunteering at a local food bank.
- Do you have questions about how to get the COVID-19 vaccine? Submit yours here
My Turn Volunteer
MEDICAL | NON-MEDICAL
My Turn is the state's site for finding and scheduling vaccine appointments (more information here), and now it has a new volunteer sign-up portal called My Turn Volunteer. You can sign up for medical and non-medical "general support" shifts at California vaccination sites and to receive updates on when new opportunities open near you.
The big news: As reported by SFGate, working four hours or more as a volunteer through My Turn Volunteer will make you eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine with approval from the clinic administrator, regardless of whether you're in a current priority group (e.g. age 65 or over) according to the state.
Visit the My Turn Volunteer site for more information.
California Health Corps
The state is seeking medical professionals "to ensure adequate staff for health care sites throughout California," and is looking for professionals like nurses (RN, LVN, CNA,) physicians (MD, DO, psychiatrist), paramedics and respiratory therapists. Paid positions are available.
You'll need to be at least 18 and have a valid California license for clinical practice, among other requirements. Visit the California Health Corps site for more information.
#CaliforniansForAll is an initiative from the state's California Volunteers organization, connecting people in California to safe volunteer opportunities — some of which are remote. Sign up for #CaliforniansForAll here, and view current volunteer slots here (select "view only virtual opportunities" to see just the remote openings).
VaccinateCA is a COVID-19 vaccine appointment dashboard that shows vaccination locations near you, noting their current availability and how to schedule an appointment. It's entirely created and staffed by volunteers, and the organization says they're looking for volunteers to help them call health care providers across the state to update the dashboard. Sign up to volunteer with VaccinateCA here.
The American Red Cross
MEDICAL | NON-MEDICAL | REMOTE
The American Red Cross says its volunteers are now supporting local communities across 25 states in their efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, including California. The organization says volunteer duties might range from setting up vaccination locations to on-site administrative work.
The Red Cross says volunteers with medical backgrounds might also be called on to help administer vaccinations if their state licenses permit them to do so. Browse opportunities and apply here.
Some remote volunteering opportunities are also available with the Red Cross — take a look at roles here by searching "NHQ" or "virtual" under "Apply Now."