2020 Medical Reserve Corps COVID-19 Operational Readiness Award (ORA) Program
In response to the pandemic, UTMRC organized its incident command system and participated in the following activities: distribution of PPE, contact tracing training, and planning with Austin Public Health and Homeland Security to establish an Alternate Care Site. Due to the trusted partnership between the City of Austin (COA), School of Nursing (SON), and UTMRC, training and advice from UTMRC has been provided to the COA when requested. Based on our past successes, ability to organize quickly, and strong pre-established community partnerships, UTMRC was well suited to conduct and assist with mass influenza vaccination. Because of the predicted morbidity and mortality related to influenza and COVID-19, especially among vulnerable populations, it was imperative to improve access to vaccinations. The objective was to prepare our unit to respond to ever-changing epidemiological occurrences related to COVID-19 and potential influenza outbreaks, while meeting the needs of our community. Along with hands-on learning about operations, planning, logistics, and finance during a pandemic, UTMRC members learned the unique process of conducting mass vaccinations safely in this environment. This award helped to strengthen our relationship with local community partners including Austin Public Health, SON’s Family Wellness Center, and two churches in the community, who work with vulnerable populations. We aimed to build an optimal, pandemic-safe, mass vaccination model for other MRC units to utilize in anticipation of future COVID-19 vaccinations. This program has helped UTMRC in emergency/disaster preparedness, such has being more efficient and capable in responding to future events to support COVID-19 relief efforts.
Funding for 2021 ORA program was provided by the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) Challenge Award.