Nearly 1,000 volunteers played a key role in vaccinating thousands of people at Northern Light mass clinics


By Kathleen O’Brien, Bangor Daily News Staff Nearly 1,000 volunteers have played a key role in efforts over the past year to set up and staff COVID-19 vaccination clinics across the Northern 10-hospital network Light Health. The health system recently said 925 volunteers helped in vaccination clinics that formed the cornerstone of the state’s early vaccination strategy last spring, when demand for vaccines was at its highest.

By Kathleen O’Brien, Bangor Daily News Staff

Nearly 1,000 volunteers have played a key role in efforts over the past year to set up and staff COVID-19 vaccination clinics across Northern Light Health’s network of 10 hospitals.

The health system recently said 925 volunteers helped in vaccination clinics that formed the cornerstone of the state’s early vaccination strategy last spring, when demand for vaccines was at its highest. Northern Light released the figure in conjunction with National Volunteer Week.

These 925 volunteers donated 22,414 hours to help Northern Light’s COVID-19 response and vaccination effort. Of those volunteers, 800 were community members and 125 were salaried employees who volunteered overtime, Northern Light spokesman Derek Hurder said.

At the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Northern Light’s largest clinic, these hundreds of volunteers have helped turn the arena into a well-oiled machine, said Stacey Coventry, Northern Light’s director of volunteer and community development services.

In late January 2021, the hospital system transformed the arena into an easy-to-navigate vaccination clinic in three days, and it became the first mass vaccination clinic to open in the state.

The volunteers “also provided a warm, friendly face that welcomed people and walked them through the process, often alleviating the anxiety of many who came and were nervous about being vaccinated and navigate the size of the clinic,” Coventry said.

The clinic opened on February 2, 2021 and vaccinated around 1,800 people in its first week. On average, it took each patient 35 minutes to get vaccinated, including a 15-minute watch period after the patients received the injection.

In May 2021, Northern Light announced that it had reached the 100,000 vaccine mark. The Cross Insurance Center clinic closed later that month after demand dropped.

The health system now has around 175 volunteers serving in 58 different roles, but the hospital system no longer needs volunteers to help vaccinate patients, according to Coventry.

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