While utilities are working hard to make sure their employees receive their COVID-19 vaccinations, since their work is critical to the running of the nation, many of these utilities are going above and beyond by offering to help their local health departments get other citizens vaccinated.
One such utility is Chelan County Public Utility District in Wenatchee, Wash.
“The town has a community center, which is now being used as a vaccination site,” said Neil Neroutsos, corporate communications manager for the utility. “They are doing the vaccinations in stations in the parking lot outside the center.”
The utility is helping the process by assisting with logistics at the site to help manage traffic flow, providing security, using volunteer employees to act as parking lot attendants, providing snow removal to ensure citizens can safely reach the vaccination locations and even providing backup generators if and when the need arises.
“The site is right next to some land that we own, so we also allow people to use that area for overflow parking,” Neroutsos said. “People can stay there until they are directed to come in for the vaccinations.”
Prior to the actual vaccination process, the utility offered the services of its graphic designers to create fact sheets, billboards and a newsletter for the public to educate them about the vaccines.
Another utility providing services to its community is Salt River Project (SRP) in Phoenix. SRP has worked with a couple of different vaccine distribution sites to provide assistance with staffing needs. All of the work is performed by volunteer employees, according to Patty Garcia-Likens, spokesperson for SRP.
“The response from SRP employees has been very positive, and many of them have been able to react on short notice as needed,” she said.
Another utility stepping up in this regard is Midwest Energy & Communications in Cassopolis, Mich. In addition to getting its own employees vaccinated, the utility plans to host a drive-in site for the regional health department to provide vaccinations to others in the community.
“We have extensive parking just outside of our vehicle bays, where people can sit for 15 minutes, so they can be monitored after they are vaccinated,” said Patty Nowlin, vice president of corporate communications.
Still another utility offering assistance is the Snohomish County Public Utility District in Everett, Wash.
“We have had a few folks acting in support in planning teams,” said Aaron Swaney, public relations and media liaison for the utility. “We have also offered the county some of our facilities for storage and other power supply needs.”