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Vaccination Agency Frequently Asked Questions

How is liability covered for volunteers?

According to the California Hospital Association, federal law provides protection from lawsuits for COVID-19 vaccinators. The PREP Act authorizes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary to issue a declaration to provide immunity from liability for the manufacture, distribution, administration, or use of “medical countermeasures,” except for claims involving willful misconduct. A medical countermeasure is a drug, device, or biological product that is used, developed, to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat, or cure a pandemic or epidemic. To be a covered countermeasure, a product must be approved, cleared, or authorized for emergency use by the FDA or licensed under the Public Health Service Act.

On March 17, 2020, the Secretary issued a declaration under the PREP Act for medical countermeasures used against COVID-19, including COVID-19 vaccines, remdesivir, and other products.

PREP Act immunity covers claims under tort or contract law, as well as claims related to compliance with state/local laws. Any lawsuit seeking an exception to PREP Act immunity must be brought before a special three-judge panel in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. To win, the plaintiff must prove willful misconduct was the proximate cause of death or serious injury by clear and convincing evidence. The PREP Act also establishes a program to compensate individuals for serious physical injury or death caused by a covered countermeasure.

In addition to PREP Act immunity, state law provides protection from lawsuits for physicians, hospitals, pharmacists, nurses, respiratory care practitioners, dentists, and others who render services during a state of emergency at the express or implied request of any responsible state or local official or agency. On Jan. 27, Gov. Newsom issued Executive Order N-02-21, explicitly invoking this immunity protection for hospitals and other providers participating in the state’s vaccine administration program.

Additionally, HealthImpact has general liability coverage for all volunteers.


Do volunteers undergo background checks?

Yes, VaxForce conducts both professional license checks and background checks for all volunteers.  For health professional students, they only undergo background checks as they are not yet licensed. 

The professional license and/or background checks must come back clear before volunteers are allowed to go on an assignment.


How will health professional students be able to volunteer for vaccination events?

Clinical instructors will sign up as a “team leader” and the health professional students will be members of the “team.”  The whole team will be assigned and deployed to the event.

VaxForce will have the appropriate agreements or memorandum of understanding with the academic institutions so no additional agreement or memorandum of understanding will be needed between the academic institution and the vaccination agency.  All volunteers are covered for liability according to the FAQ on liability. 


What type of volunteer activities does VaxForce encompass?

There are four possible types of volunteer activities for vaccination agencies to choose from:

Supplementing Existing Clinic/Agency Staff for Clinic/Agency Events
Leading Health Volunteers for Outreach Vaccination Events
Telehealth Outreach (outbound calls)
Patient Education and Clinical Advice Line (inbound calls)

Clinic or clinical agencies who want to expand their existing efforts but need health volunteers can post their vaccination events on VaxForce.  In this situation, the clinic or clinical agency will lead the event and volunteers will supplement the existing workforce under the direction of the clinic/agency staff.

Some community agencies have expressed interest in partnering with clinics or clinical agencies to conduct outreach vaccination events.  However, these community agencies are not eligible to enroll in myCAvax (formerly CalVax) and the CAIR2/RIDE/SDIR system.

There will be a Lead Volunteer who will have all of the CDPH-required training to lead the event.  The community agency will handle the general operation logistics and the VaxForce Lead Volunteer will handle the orientation, onboarding, and healthcare logistics of the event.

An agreement or MOU will be created between VaxForce and the clinic/clinical agency.

If clinics, clinical agencies, or community agencies want to do outreach to hard-to-reach members in a community, VaxForce volunteers can help call or contact persons on the clinic, clinical agency, or community agency lists. 

Healthcare professional skills of assessment, active listening, patient education, building trust, motivational interviewing, and care coordination that are essential in increasing the vaccination rates in these hard-to-reach communities.
Some organizations may need additional support in answering questions from people who are hesitant about receiving the vaccine.  Agencies may be doing outreach with non-healthcare volunteers.  Should additional support from healthcare providers be needed, VaxForce can help provide volunteers for patient education, motivational interviewing, clinical (not medical) advice, and possibly care coordination by giving resources of vaccination events in the community.



For any additional questions, please email