Galveston County looking for volunteers to administer COVID-19 vaccines

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- President Joe Biden announced plans to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to every adult by May 1, which is less than two months away.

In Galveston County, nearly a quarter of the entire county's adult population, ages 16 and older, have received at least one dose. The county judge said they're able to ramp up and expand to administer even more vaccine doses if there's supply.

One thing that would help out the county immensely is getting more volunteers, such as Kelley Shepherd. She is a UTMB Health nursing student and has been volunteering at Walter Hall Park, a large vaccination site in League City.

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Many are calling them "angels" for making these house calls for patients who can't leave their homes, but getting it done isn't easy.

"I've been virtual a lot and so I thought this would be a good way to get some experience with patients and with shots and it has been," she said. Working in the medical field runs in her family.

"It's been interesting. I've gotten to hear about it and I wanted to go into it," she said. In fact, after Kelley starting volunteering, her mom, Angela, decided to volunteer too.

"I retired in September from full-time practice and teaching at UTMB, and Kelley came probably a month ago and was telling me about it," said the mom. "I could tell it was a really good experience, and I thought, 'I want to go out there too.'"

The mother and daughter duo are two of 140 volunteers who were at the League City location on Friday.

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UTMB teamed up with West Point Baptist Church in Galveston to issue 200 doses of the vaccine, and it was a life-saving event for many.

"About 75% of everyone here are volunteers," said Ann O'Connell with the UTMB vaccine program.

UTMB, Galveston County, the county health district and volunteers are helping the mass vaccination site run smoothly and efficiently. They are vaccinating 15,000 people at Walter Hall Park a week. O'Connell said she'd like to have even more volunteers on board.

"All types, but we are really hoping to recruit those that have a medical or clinical background," she said.

You don't have to be a doctor or a nurse either. People in other professions can administer doses such as veterinarians, dentists and medical students.

"It's just a really good feeling that you're being able to help someone," said Shepherd.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, you can sign up by visiting the Galveston County website.

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