MCW Vaccine Clinic Highlights the Expanded Role of the Pharmacist

MCW vaccine clinic highlights the expanded role of the pharmacist
MCW School of Pharmacy faculty and students assisted in providing more than 17,000 vaccines to healthcare personnel and other eligible populations on the first floor of MCW’s Hub for Collaborative Medicine.

The advent of the COVID-19 vaccine doses in late 2020 offered a ray of hope after a difficult year and created a universal desire to put an end to the pandemic. In response, the Office of Research at MCW stood up a vaccine clinic on site and School of Pharmacy faculty, staff and students were the first to respond to the call to administer more than 17,000 vaccines to healthcare personnel and other eligible populations.

MCW’s School of Pharmacy prepares students to fulfill the expanded role of the pharmacist, which includes administering vaccinations. And because students participate in an accelerated three-year pharmacy degree (PharmD) program with early exposure to clinical settings, second- and third-year students can administer vaccinations while first-year students can facilitate clinical work including compounding medications.

“Not only do students study immunizations and how they work, they learn the skills necessary to administer them appropriately,” explains Karen J. MacKinnon, BPharm, RPh, assistant professor, School of Pharmacy. “The vaccine clinic allowed them to practice these skills at a very important time in our history.”

Carol Eling, nurse practitioner, was the first person to receive a vaccine at the MCW clinic. “I was so excited, and for me, the decision was easy. I didn’t want to be scared anymore about getting COVID-19. I wanted to see and hug my children, grandchildren, siblings and friends, as well as attend church. The MCW clinic gave me that opportunity.”

Kristin Busse, PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor, School of Pharmacy, and Research Oversight Program director, Office of Research, served as a natural bridge between the Office of Research and the School of Pharmacy to stand up the vaccine clinic. “The rollout of the clinic was truly a team effort. Our amazing group of faculty, students and staff supported each other with grace and magnanimity during a critical and monumental time,” says Dr. Busse.

MCW vaccine clinic highlights the expanded role of the pharmacist

Asia Mian, PharmD candidate, Class of ’21, took time out from his holiday break to administer vaccines at the clinic. “I was there the very first morning, and it was surreal. So many healthcare workers wanted to mark the occasion with pictures. It was emotional for so many to receive the vaccine, and I felt grateful that I could be the one administering it to them,” Mian shares.

Many of those who received their vaccination at the MCW clinic were motivated by the positive energy of the clinic team and joined in on the effort. “From sanitizing patient sitting areas and drawing up syringes to administrating the vaccine – everyone involved felt they had a purpose and were making a valuable contribution,” says professor MacKinnon.

New Pharmacy Residencies

The MCW School of Pharmacy has developed a Community-based Pharmacy Residency Program in partnership with three local pharmacies: Evergreen Pharmacy, Good Value Pharmacy and Welltopia Pharmacy. The residency program, beginning in July 2021, will offer intensive patient care and faculty development experiences that will prepare residents as community-based primary care pharmacists and academic leaders who ensure access to high-quality, innovative primary care services, reduce health disparities and promote community wellness.

– Maureen Remmel

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