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ISU students volunteer to help deliver nearly 5,000 COVID-19 vaccines

Coronavirus

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The following is a news release and photo from Idaho State University.

POCATELLO — Idaho State University student pharmacists, nurses, dental hygienists and physician assistants have helped close to 5,000 people get COVID-19 vaccines in recent weeks. The students work alongside clinical faculty supervisors at volunteer clinics across the state and in Anchorage, Alaska, where ISU also has a pharmacy school.

Idaho Governor Brad Little visited the vaccine clinic in Pocatello Friday, where Southeastern Idaho Public Health, Portneuf Medical Center and ISU have joined forces to deliver vaccines to community members.

Health professions students at ISU receive vaccination training early on in their educational journey, some even in the first semester. Little said having these students already trained has helped make a monumental difference in the state’s ability to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

“We were one of the first states to open up licensing so retired nurses, physician assistants, a lot of the people that ISU educates, some of them that weren’t totally certified, we pulled them ahead to get them in to help with critical health care and also with these vaccination clinics,” Little explained.

After a person has received their vaccine from a student nurse, pharmacist or PA, ISU’s dental hygiene students provide follow up education and monitor each person for side effects. In total, close to 3,000 shots have been given since the clinic opened near Holt Arena on February 25.

Similarly in Meridian, student pharmacists, nurses and PAs have given close to 600 COVID-19 vaccines to Treasure Valley community members at a volunteer clinic that opened March 5 at ISU’s Meridian campus. The majority of the vaccines in both locations are either Pfizer or Moderna, which both require two doses, so the patients also book a follow-up appointment for their second dose while they’re at the clinic.

In Anchorage, Alaska, ISU provides the only pharmacy school educational opportunity in the state in conjunction with the University of Alaska Anchorage. There, student pharmacists helped administer over 1,450 COVID-19 vaccines in nine clinic locations since late February. These students also work at volunteer clinics, separate from the regular jobs that many of them hold where they are giving vaccines as part of their regular job duties as well.

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