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To assist West Virginia’s full-court-press COVID-19 vaccine rollout, more than 1,000 health professional students from colleges and universities across the state have volunteered to administer vaccines in coordination with local health departments and community health partners. This is thanks to a new initiative – the West Virginia Vaccine Administration, Collaboration, and Support (WV VACS) Team – resulting from a partnership among the National Guard, Department of Health and Human Resources, and Higher Education Policy Commission.
Prior to working in communities, students complete an online curriculum that is designed to enhance their knowledge about COVID-19 vaccines and their administration. There are two courses offered to students: one for those already trained to administer vaccines, and one for those wishing to help with support staff.
Once fully trained, groups of students work under supervision with local health providers to give vaccines and support data entry. Higher education institutions determine whether students participate in this voluntary program for either course credit or community service.
“Participating in the vaccine distribution has allowed us more vaccine training during a time when some of our regular clinical rotations weren’t available because of COVID,” said Claire Miller, Marshall University nursing student. “This has been good for me professionally and provided me the opportunity to help my community at the same time.”