MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Volunteers have answered the call to help in the vaccination distribution process in a big way. When M Health Fairview asked for volunteers, more than 2,100 people responded, including Lisa Nasseff.

“Because you feel so helpless during this pandemic, what can you do. Even if I make a little bit of difference, it makes all the difference to me,” Nasseff said.

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The former patient in the M Health Fairview system, and regular volunteer, now helps with the vaccine distribution process at Woodwinds Clinic in Woodbury. People have to wait 15 minutes after receiving the shot, to make sure they don’t have side effects or symptoms. Lisa is an observer.

I talk to a lot of them. Most are so appreciative, and relieved that they’ve been vaccinated,” Nasseff said.

Malay Thao, manager at Woodwinds Clinic, says volunteers allow our healthcare heroes to continue normal operations while taking on this critical service.

“I mean it’s all hands on deck really,” said Thao. “They really are the core of the operations, running everything from welcoming patients into the clinic to helping to orient them through the check-in process and the observation process.”

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Some employees are even volunteering on their off time, and there are retired physicians coming back to help vaccinate.

“So I think people who are able and capable should be helping, and that’s probably my biggest motivation,” Dr. Judith Trudel said.

Trudel retired in early 2020. The surgeon said she was happy to learn how to give a shot again, something she hadn’t done in 30 years. She was also glad to volunteer in her community.

“That’s the best part. We’ve had people come in and they’re excited to be here, they’re relieved to be here. I’ve had people cry after getting their second dose. It’s really very moving,” Trudel said.

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Thanks in part to the volunteer support, M Health Fairview has administered roughly 80,000 doses of the vaccine. That is more than any other health system in the state.

Jennifer Mayerle