On Monday, April 12, Pacific University sent out an email to all students and staff to register themselves to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The school hosted a clinic on campus on Saturday, April 17.
Students and employees that attended the vaccine clinic on Saturday had the option to either walk up or stay in their car as they received their shot. Since students in physician assistant and pharmaceutical majors were affected by COVID by reducing their opportunities for on-site learning and experiences, Pacific wanted to make sure they get those opportunities. “About 80% of the vaccinators are students, and they have faculty members who are their preceptors,” said Jennifer Yruegas, the university’s general counsel in charge of the clinics.
“We’ve been doing a lot for the community,” said Yruegas, regarding the university’s efforts to help people of color communities get their vaccinations, specifically the Latinx and Pacific Islander community. Saturday’s clinic was not the first vaccine clinic that Pacific has hosted or helped with. According to Yruegas, it’s about the 13th.
Pacific has been working closely with Centro Cultural, a culture center in Cornelius, to reach the Latinx community and make sure vaccinations are available for community members that were in the first phases of vaccine distributions. Since the eligibility status has been consistently changing, all students and employees were qualified to receive the vaccine. Pacific announced that the vaccine that would be distributed was the Moderna vaccine.
Jessica Monje-Perez, a political science major at Pacific who works for Centro Cultural, was one of many volunteers helping throughout all of the clinics that the university and Centro have hosted.
“It just shows how impactful but also fulfilling it is to be a part of this greater effort,” Perez said, referring to how much their volunteering team has grown. “Every time I [volunteer], I learn that I love community service.”
Volunteers were found around the entire site and were helping patients from the moment they arrived to the moment they left. The site for getting the shot was on the west side of the Stoller Center, right next to the stadium. People who preferred staying in their cars entered on Main Street in parking lot M, where a volunteer would mark windshields with the number of people getting vaccinated in the vehicle. Then, more volunteers and campus public safety (CPS) would guide all cars into two tight lines that would zig-zag through the lot.
Volunteers were fully equipped with paperwork, clipboards, vaccine cards, and pens, handing them out to everybody who needed them. Since the parking lot was full and the walk-up line was backed up, there was plenty of time to fill out the forms needed whilst waiting and moving slowly.
After receiving the vaccine, students were required to wait in the recovery area for a minimum of 15 minutes to make sure no negative reactions occurred to anyone. More volunteers would go up to cars and wipe down the markings on their windshield wiper while asking some recovery questions.
“I definitely think it’s a really cool thing that the school’s holding these [clinics] for the community,” said Makenna Sawyer, a student volunteer at the vaccine clinic, as she was making her way through the cars in the recovery area. “I’ve seen so many different people coming here.”
For students that received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Saturday, the second dose will be distributed on May 12. Pacific will continue to have clinics for students, faculty, and other employees who were not able to make the one on Saturday. With eligibility open for the majority of people, Pacific will also be open for student’s families to sign up for vaccines as well. Learn more at https://www.pacificu.edu/coronavirus/stay-healthy/vaccines. – Ashley Meza
Photo: Aryn Henige gives Pacific Index writer Ashley Meza a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Pacific’s April 17 vaccine clinic (Spencer Hills)