The Peace Corps, an independent agency and volunteer program run by the US government, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are preparing to carry out their second-ever domestic deployment to assist with COVID-19 vaccinations.
The latest deployment will involve recruiting volunteers to help with vaccination efforts and is the first since the Peace Corps deployed volunteers following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“The Peace Corps works hand-in-hand with communities on their most pressing challenges, and right now the US faces some of the biggest challenges in our country’s history,” acting Director Carol Spahn said in a release.
“The volunteers who contribute to this effort will bring valuable cross-cultural experience, language skills and adaptability fostered during their time overseas as they contribute to an equitable vaccination campaign here at home,” the release adds.
The Peace Corps is expected to soon start recruiting for the domestic deployment. Those eligible to serve include returned volunteers evacuated from overseas posts. In March 2020, the Peace Corps terminated global operations and evacuated almost 7,000 volunteers from 61 countries due to the pandemic.
“Assignments will focus on urgent needs as identified by FEMA, and on communities that have been traditionally under-served. Volunteers will be assigned to language support, administrative, logistical, and other work that supports vaccination centers’ operations,” the release noted.
The volunteers are expected to be deployed into the field by mid-May.
The agency also plans to post volunteer positions in several countries as soon as possible.
"We are working to bring volunteers back to the field as soon as conditions permit and depending on how the COVID-19 situation evolves. Given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and uneven timeline of vaccine distribution, it is challenging to establish the exact timing for the Peace Corps’ return to service. As conditions improve, the Peace Corps will continue to coordinate with our host country partners to identify the appropriate timing to welcome Volunteers back to service," a Peace Corps spokesperson told The Hill.