Q1/ Give us a short biography of who you are. How did you join up with Mensa?

William/ I’ve been a member since 1983. I have only attended one event, but read the Bulletin regularly and enjoy the thoughtful, often funny, sometimes snarky articles. Keep up the good work. I joined Mensa as a rejoinder to my wife’s argument of “Just who is the Phi Beta Kappa here?” My membership is an effective “touche”.

I retired after forty years from my Lee’s Summit CPA practice in 2017. After retiring I did all the obligatory things:  took a cruise, bought a Buick, caught up on lots of missed naps. I also did some political things — knocked on doors for candidates and circulated a petition. Of course, the pandemic put a halt to all that.

Q2/ How did you get the opportunity to volunteer at a COVID testing center?

William/ There is a great need to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Our local paper ran an article of the need for help with testing and contact tracing. I have absolutely no medical background, but responded by email. There were opportunities even for someone like me. The Medical Reserve Corp, of which I now belong, needed people to help with traffic at a drive-in test site, to help patients complete on-line applications, to do contact tracing by phone and to write grant applications.

Q3/ What are your team responsibilities? Is it hard work?

William/ The actual nose-tickling, and later vaccinating, went to nurses and doctors. But, volunteers freed these highly-qualified people to do their jobs while we, with the medical knowledge of the traffic cones we placed, helped keep the lines going. The hardest part was donning and discarding the personal protective equipment — N95 masks, double gloves, gowns and face shields. Still, protection is vital. One in four, to one in six of those we tested in Jackson County were positive for COVID-19.

Q4/ For the sake of being accountable, who qualifies for COVID testing and vaccination at this time?

William/ The only qualifications to volunteer for MRC are passing a background check and completing an on-line orientation. Further on-line training must be done within thirty days. Those and a willingness to work 4 to 8 hour shifts are the only qualifications. Recently, I have been working at vaccination sites as a line monitor (more traffic, but inside), completing vaccination records and answering questions. The patients sign up by email, check in at the facility, complete a questionnaire, get vaccinated, then sit for fifteen minutes in the observation area self-assessing for side effects. People who show up appreciate the opportunity to get the vaccine. Those who want to wait for others to get the shots first, vaccine deniers, and COVID hoaxers aren’t there.

Q5/ How was your vaccination experience? Can you describe it?

William/ Kansas and Missouri have different rules about who is in group 1a. Medical professionals are group 1a in both states. Both states include MRC volunteers as medical personnel. The Missouri site vaccinated me immediately (totally painless, no side effects whatsoever). The Kansas site required five service days before vaccination. However, if they have excess vaccines thawed due to no-shows, Kansas vaccinates even first-time volunteers rather than waste the vaccine. Logical.

Q6/ What other impressions can you share with us?

William/ Fighting this pandemic is the greatest public health effort of this generation, perhaps this century. I’m proud to be part of it. Mensans who wish to volunteer should go to https://mrc.hhs.gov for information.