RNs Keeping Up the Momentum of Vaccinating Underserved in South Los Angeles

By Carol Davis

Nurse volunteers from the Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN) who have been vaccinating thousands of residents of the historically underserved South Los Angeles community have extended the COVID-19 clinic through the end of May and are calling for more volunteer RNs.

RNRN is a national network of direct-care RNs who respond to disaster-stricken areas when they are needed. It is a project of National Nurses United (NNU) and the California Nurses Foundation (CNF).

Since March 1, RNRN has deployed six teams of volunteers who have helped administer more than 66,000 COVID-19 vaccines at the Kedren Community Health Center in South Los Angeles so far, according to a press release. A seventh team of RNRN nurses began volunteering this week.

RNRN is calling on registered nurse volunteers to assist at the clinic, operated in partnership with International Medical Corps, in the coming weeks. Interested RNs can sign up to volunteer for the vaccine team here.

Such targeted clinics are helping to even out the vaccine disparity found in minority communities that are significantly behind in getting COVID-19 vaccines because of unavailability and other barriers such as transportation issues, no access to computers or social media, language, and education.

As of April 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that race/ethnicity was known for slightly more than half (55%) of people who had received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. Of this group, nearly two thirds were White (65%), 11% were Hispanic, 8.5% were Black, 5% were Asian, 1% were American Indian or Alaska Native, and less than 1% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

“Providing free and equitable access to the vaccine is such an important step in defeating the pandemic,” Jean Ross, RN, president of NNU, said in the release. “We are so proud of our RNRN volunteers who are helping to vaccinate thousands of people in underserved communities.”

“Everyone is so thankful to be vaccinated,” Mo Berry, a retired University of California-Irvine nurse, who volunteered at the clinic in March, said in the release. “I am proud to be a part of NNU’s work to address the historic inequities that have adversely affected underserved communities for so long.”

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.