Students from across disciplines in the College of Health and Human Services volunteered to help the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) immunize more than 770 people at a recent two-day clinic held at the George Mason University Fairfax campus. They successfully administered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to in-home daycare providers and other members of the Phase 1a and 1b community. All appointments were scheduled through the VDH.
Serving the community and responding to a pandemic involves a team of committed individuals from a range of professional backgrounds, with students, staff and faculty from across the University and College offering operational support for patient check-in and logistics.
In addition to providing critical services for the community, students received valuable hands-on experience in public health nursing during a pandemic. Recent Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduate, Taylor Paul, returned to volunteer at the clinic as a way to give back to Mason and to the community. “Being a nurse during a pandemic provides an opportunity to gain additional experience first-hand,” says Paul. Nursing faculty were on-hand to help mentor students and new nurses, offering guidance during the fast-paced event.
BSN student, Danette Smith, has volunteered at vaccine events with the Medical Reserve Corp, the Mason and Partner Clinics as well as the recent rapid-response clinic at the Fairfax campus. Smith has administered more than 140 vaccines within the community and says, “I am so proud to be part of [Mason’s vaccination] initiative – it has been so well-organized, with zero waste of the vaccine and a highly personal experience for those receiving vaccines. This is history in the making and I am grateful to be part of it.”
Margie Rodan, faculty in the School of Nursing, extolled the strengths of the Mason nursing students saying, “Our students and graduates are well-prepared for an event like this – we are here to help answer questions and offer our experience and help resolve this global pandemic.”
“I volunteered to help with the vaccine clinic because I felt it was a way to help the community become stronger and healthier. I felt a strong pull to help in any way I could to get the vaccines distributed. The experience very rewarding and I look forward to helping at future GMU COVID Vaccine efforts,” said Christine Kania, Financial Specialist for the College.
“I enjoyed working with other faculty and staff, most I haven't seen in almost a year, to use our public health skills to get as many people vaccinated as we could. We made so many people happy, knowing they were taking an important step to help end COVID-19. I love putting what I teach about public health into action,” said Laura Wheeler Poms, faculty in the Department of Global and Community Health.
In addition to the rapid-response clinic at the Fairfax campus this weekend, the Mason and Partner Clinic in Manassas Park vaccinated more than 550 patients. The MAP Clinic in Manassas Park will hold on-going vaccination events for members of the community in Phase 1a and 1b. Stay tuned for more information on these events.