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The Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals

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During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, state health officials across the nation took quick steps to stop the spread of infection. ESAR-VHP played a key role in that effort in the state of Rhode Island.

 In September 2009, the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Office of Emergency Preparedness approached the state’s ESAR-VHP program – known as RI Responds – to credential and deploy volunteers for its mass vaccination effort at a rapid pace.

Over the course of one short month, RI Responds helped to quickly mobilize 400 volunteer nurses, partnering with the state’s Nurses Association to recruit many of the nurses and providing them with the mandatory training they needed to meet state credential standards.

Once trained, nurse volunteers worked from 5:00 a.m. to midnight, at one point activating 24 clinics in 24 hours, in order to administer the first round of vaccines – all within a one month period. 

Thanks to their quick action, ESAR-VHP volunteers ultimately vaccinated an overwhelming 87.5% of school children throughout the state—more than triple the national average of students vaccinated. 

To volunteer with ESAR-VHP in your state, click here and follow the three steps to register.