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Students help 4,000 receive vaccines

Students help 4,000 receive vaccines

Lauren Durham ’22 January 26, 2021

From Jan. 20 - 24, students in the University of Dayton Master of Physician Assistant Practice program partnered with Premier Health to distribute nearly 4,000 COVID-19 vaccinations to the local elderly population. The mass vaccine distribution clinic was held at UD Arena.

“When our clinical partner Premier Health put out a call for help with mass vaccination, our students went above and beyond to answer,” professor Lindsey Hammett said in a Facebook post for the program. “The students and faculty worked tirelessly in the cold and on their feet for long hours to help protect some of the most vulnerable in our community.”

Hammett, program chair and director, said students and colleagues were eager to assist those most affected by the pandemic. 

“This is the first thing we could be really proactive with. We’ve been distancing, we’ve been wearing our masks, but this is something that is going to change the course of the pandemic,” Hammett said.

“This is something that is going to change the course of the pandemic.”

President Eric F. Spina thanked the Department of Physician Assistant Education for their service.

“I am humbled and amazed at the way that you quickly stepped forward to support some of the most vulnerable residents of the region, ensuring that thousands received a highly effective vaccine at the height of this COVID-19 pandemic,” Spina he told them in an email. 

To help with the clinic, a group of students put their clinical rotations on pause. They helped with a variety of tasks at the arena including transporting patients from their cars to wheelchairs, assisting with paperwork, monitoring symptoms and administering the vaccine itself. 

“This definitely made me feel proud to be from UD,” said PA student Riley McKeown, who received her undergraduate degree from UD in 2018. “What we were hearing from the people we worked with — and from the patients — is what UD is teaching all through undergrad and grad school: You’re caring for the whole person, not just numbers or charts.” 

“You’re caring for the whole person, not just numbers or charts.” 

Annie Bayer from Cincinnati, who graduated with a biology degree from UD in 2019, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to give back to the community she has come to know through her years in Dayton. “Anything to help UD,” Bayer said. 

It was a hands-on pandemic learning experience for the budding health care professionals. It was also an opportunity for Hammett to be proud. 

“The students kind of feel like our kids,” Hammett said of the program’s faculty. “We’re watching them, we’re helping them grow, we’re seeing them go out.

“It was definitely a very proud moment as a program director to see that our students not only have good skills, but they honestly care for the people in the community.”

Faith in a time of COVID