Veterans help convert vaccine doses into vaccinations in arms

Posted at 5:09 PM, Mar 05, 2021

Veterans who wish to continue serving have a new mission in front of them. The war on COVID-19.

The "Veterans Coalition for Vaccination" is using technology to help in the fight.

After Hurricane Delta hit Louisiana in the fall of 2020, Team Rubicon was there to help and rebuild.

“Team Rubicon is a disaster nonprofit that mobilizes military veterans to use their skills, experience, and education to help communities prepare, respond and recover from natural disasters," explained Art delaCruz, President and Chief Operating Officer of Team Rubicon.

Just like it is in the military, there's teamwork, a mission, and a goal.

“Military veterans bring immense experience and comfort in ambiguous environments that can help people that have been impacted by natural disasters," delaCruz said.

Formed by a former Marine sniper, Team Rubicon began with a small team of 8. There are now 140,000 volunteers who come together for a cause.

“It's another opportunity to continue to serve," delaCruz said.

Now, they have a new job.

“Veterans from across the country are coming together to aid in converting vaccines into vaccinations. Vaccines don’t save lives, vaccinations do," delaCruz said.

To say that mobilizing takes a huge amount of coordination would be an understatement. These days, that coordination comes through technology.

Justin Spelhaug is the Vice President of Technology for social impact at Microsoft, and he's a veteran who helps organizations like Team Rubicon run their operations with "Cloud for Nonprofit."

“Brings the best of our trusted cloud capabilities to solve the most challenging processes and pain points that nonprofits have," explained Spelhaug.

Things like fundraising, how to deploy volunteers, when and where and how to run programs. All of that, in one place. When it comes to something like Team Rubicon's Veterans Coalition for Vaccination, technology can streamline a big job.

“Ultimately these are really, typically, chaotic events, and the volunteer system helps provide order to what can be a chaotic event and help those health care workers get to the shots in the arms,” Spelhaug said.

He added they're using that tech to help mobilize in the most underserved of America's communities.

For Team Rubicon, it's all about supporting the health care system.

“We understood that our veterans could have impact it's not necessarily in putting needles in arms, it’s making sure we can facilitate this process so when doctors and nurses show up, that we’re vaccinating as many people as possible in a short amount of time," delaCruz said.

They've already started working in a handful of communities across the country and they're standing by, ready to deploy, when called.