As vaccines are being rolled out in communities across Washington state, nurses have been asking how they can help in distribution efforts. To help deliver vaccines across the state, nurses must register as an Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioner in the Washington State Emergency Registry of Volunteers (WAserv) at WAserv.org.
WAserv is a statewide registry of volunteers who stand ready to respond during public health emergencies. Once registered in WAserv, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) contacts volunteers with information on how they can help. Volunteers might be asked to assist local facilities with vaccinations, care for COVID-19 patients, or support medical staff in other ways, depending on their expertise.
Additionally, while an emergency proclamation from the Governor is in effect, a volunteer health practitioner who is licensed in another state may practice in Washington without obtaining a Washington license if they are in good standing in all states of licensure and are registered in the volunteer health practitioner system.
What if you have an expired or inactive license?
On Jan. 31, Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah authorized the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act), which allows retired and inactive health care providers to help administer COVID-19 vaccines.
If you have an expired or inactive license, you must meet the following requirements outlined in the PREP Act:
- The person held at any time since July 1998 a full active Washington State license to practice as a/an
- Advanced registered nurse practitioner, under chapter 18.79 RCW;
- Registered nurse, under chapter 18.79 RCW;
- Licensed practical nurse, under chapter 18.79 RCW;
- Physician, under chapter 18.71 RCW;
- Osteopathic physician and surgeon, under chapter 18.57 RCW;
- Physician assistant (allopathic or osteopathic), under chapters 18.71A or 18.57A RCW;
- Pharmacist, under chapter 18.64 RCW; or,
- Naturopath, under chapter 18.36A RCW;
- No license ever held by the person in any United States jurisdiction has been subject to enforcement action, as determined by the Department of Health;
- The person has performed at least one of the following:
- Administered a vaccine by intramuscular injection within the ten years preceding the date of this authorization;
- Participated regularly in immunization services, including administration, over the course of their professional experience; and/or,
- Completed a refresher immunization training within the six months preceding or at any time after the date of this authorization. The training may be given by a person holding a Washington State license in good standing in any profession listed in section 1 above, a health care facility, a person or entity currently authorized by the state to provide continuing education to any profession listed in section 1 above, a public health agency, or an accredited educational institution;
- The person administers COVID-19 vaccines in support of an enrollee or participant in the state or federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination program;
- The person has registered in WAserv at waserv.org, for which instructions can be found here.
- The person has received confirmation from the Department of Health that (s)he is authorized hereunder; and,
- The person has not been otherwise excluded from this authorization by the Department of Health.
What if you need immunization training?
If you need additional immunization training to qualify as a volunteer, as identified in #3 in the requirements, the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission recommends these resources:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccine training
- Department of Heath COVID-19 vaccine training resources
- Washington State Pharmacy Association immunization training
- Oregon Health Science University dental immunization training
- Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS):