Physicians Hall Front

Pharmacy Students Administer Vaccines During 'Important Time in History'

MCW Vaccine Clinic Pharmacist

In less than four months, more than 500 community and Medical College of Wisconsin volunteers, including 56 supervised pharmacy students, served more than 8,000 hours to administer nearly 20,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during an on-site vaccination clinic hosted by the MCW Office of Research.

“The rollout of the clinic was truly a team effort,” said Kristin Busse, PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor, School of Pharmacy, and Research Oversight Program director, Office of Research. “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.”

As COVID-19 vaccinations began providing a ray of hope in late 2020, the MCW Office of Research stood up the vaccine clinic, while School of Pharmacy faculty, staff and students were the first to respond to the call to administer vaccines to healthcare personnel and other eligible populations early in the vaccine rollout. The clinic ran from Dec. 22, 2020 through April 14, 2021.

The 56 pharmacy students administered doses while supervised by licensed pharmacist preceptors. 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.”

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 administering the vaccine – everyone involved felt they had a purpose and were making a valuable contribution,” says professor MacKinnon.

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