Lawrence, Mass. – As a healthcare professional who has endured the personal and professional tolls of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Linda Miller, RN felt both relieved and honored when her turn came to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. She is now giving back by volunteering to administer inoculations at Lowell General Hospital’s regional vaccination site at Cross River Center, located at 1001 Pawtucket Blvd. East in Lowell.
“I heard that medical volunteers were needed, and since I have that skill as well as extra time on weekends, I was happy to help out,” said Miller, a Dracut resident and clinical hospice director at Merrimack Valley Hospice, a nonprofit agency of Lawrence-based Home Health Foundation. “I feel very strongly that it’s important for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.”
“We are vaccinating our region faster and more efficiently thanks to the incredible contributions of volunteers like Linda and so many others,” said Amy Hoey, chief operating officer at Lowell General Hospital. “Merrimack Valley Hospice and Home Health Foundation are wonderful partners in caring for our community, so it comes as no surprise that they wanted to help us when our patients need us most.”
According to Hoey, Cross River Center is currently providing approximately 2,000 shots per day, and has administered more than 50,000 doses since the vaccines were released.
Miller said she was impressed with the level of organization and high spirits among medical staff and vaccination recipients alike at both the main campus of Lowell General Hospital and Cross River Center, where she received her first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine, respectively. Since completing the required orientation session, online course and tour, she has volunteered two shifts this month at Cross River Center administering the vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
“I saw a variety of elderly and younger patients, from all different cultures. Everyone was so gracious and appreciative, and really excited. One person drove two hours for their appointment, and lots of people told me it felt like Christmas morning to be able to get vaccinated,” said Miller, who administered and documented patient vaccinations, as well as scheduled second doses when appropriate. “They kept saying, ‘Thank you so much for doing this,’ and even though I didn’t do it to be thanked, but as a way of giving back to the community, it still felt very rewarding.”
About Merrimack Valley Hospice
Merrimack Valley Hospice is a not-for-profit agency providing comfort care and supportive services to patients nearing the end of life and bereavement services to their families and loved ones. Together with Home Health VNA, the agencies provide a full continuum of home health and hospice care in more than 110 communities throughout the Merrimack Valley, Northeastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Merrimack Valley Hospice also serves the Southern Maine region as York Hospital Hospice. For more information, visit MerrimackValleyHospice.org.