SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Some local physicians have expressed frustration over trying to volunteer to administer the COVID-19 vaccine but claim to have been met with red tape.
"It was actually getting ridiculous," said San Diego physician and former California Medical Association president Dr. Ted Mazer. "God bless [county representatives]. They're trying. I'm not trying to say anything negative about them but they just don't have their act together. There were so many hurdles and so many levels to get through and so many documents ... [it was] as though I was applying to a hospital for privileges."
In today's state of desperation for help getting shots out, he said that the county needs to streamline volunteer sign-ups to get boots on the ground.
"I am a licensed physician in current good standing with the Medical Board of California. It should take nothing more than a quick check with the Medical Board online to see that there's no strikes against me and my license is current as an active physician. Let me go to the sites and begin administering," he added.
Last week, a call was put out for volunteers to sign up through the County's Medical Reserve Corps. Mazer said that he finally got approved this week after many delays.
"I would say that I agree with the physicians' frustrations in that this has not been as fast as I'd like and at the same time I see people working really hard behind the scenes to try to make it happen and to try to make it easier," said San Diego County Medical Society President Dr. Holly Yang, who also signed up to volunteer. "People should cut down as much red tape as possible to get folks out there and vaccinating. I 100% agree with that statement but there's a balance."
Yang said that training and background checking is imperative for patient safety.
She believes that the processing and response times are speeding up and hopes that clinicians aren't dissuaded from offering to help.
"I would say please volunteer. Please have patience. People are working hard and we want to get you out there to get vaccines into people's arms as fast as we can," she said.
ABC 10News reached out to the county and is waiting for a response.
UC San Diego Health has also provided a platform to sign-up to volunteer. UC San Diego sent ABC 10News the following statement:
"Standing up the COVID-19 Vaccination Super Station at Petco Park from concept to opening day, in less than a week, required a series of rapid, complex and interconnected efforts, all of which continue to be refined. Initially, we engaged only UC San Diego Health team members to administer vaccines and provide operational support. On January 15, a volunteer signup page went live at health.ucsd.edu/vaccine-volunteer, and volunteers from the community began joining our efforts this week. More than 3,800 volunteers have signed up. The response to volunteer sign-ups can take up to 48 hours because it involves background checks and other administrative processes. We are extremely grateful and gratified by the community’s support and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to vaccinate as many San Diegans as possible, as quickly as possible. Volunteers are welcome to send inquiries to Volunteer Services at email@example.com."
To volunteer, visit the county's website here.