CUIMC Vaccine Volunteers Feel Sense of Community and Hope
February 18, 2021
When the call for volunteers to staff the Armory vaccination site went out to Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) staff on the evening of January 13, faculty and staff flooded the gates.
Within a week, more than 1,700 Columbia faculty and staff members volunteered to assist on site. The crush of volunteers was so great that the volunteer registration page had to be temporarily taken down. On a conference call the following week, Donna Lynne, DrPH, CUIMC senior vice president, chief operating officer, and University COVID director, addressed the overwhelming response.
“We appreciate everyone who has volunteered and who will volunteer,” Lynne said. “This is a marathon. We will be open for a long period of time to do this work.”
The vaccination site, part of the NewYork-Presbyterian vaccination effort, opened at the Armory on January 14. The cavernous 65,000-square-foot indoor track and field complex is now home to approximately 70 vaccination stations. As of January 27, all new appointments at the Armory are for New York City residents only, and a minimum of 60% of appointments are reserved for eligible residents of the Washington Heights, Inwood, Harlem, and South Bronx communities.
Vaccines are administered beginning at 7 a.m. five days a week. Volunteers without clinical experience serve as greeters and patient intake specialists, while those with medical training are charged with administering vaccines.