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SDSU pharmacy students help administer COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 6:29 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Students in the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions at South Dakota State University are playing a big role in helping fight COVID-19. As the number of people needing to be vaccinated against the virus grows students are lending a hand in that process.

Part of the curriculum for SDSU’s pharmacy students includes training to give immunizations. Because of this local health systems have asked for students’ help in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The COVID vaccine just became one more opportunity for our students to really expand the number of people who can immunize to allow it to happen in a much more rapid fashion,” said James Clem, head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice.

Students used to be trained on immunizations in their third year of college, but due to increased interest training has been moved up in the curriculum.

“Our first-year students learn to give immunizations in the spring semester and so that just increases that availability of students,” said Brittney Meyer, associate professor for the Department of Pharmacy Practice.

Once students are trained, they can volunteer at clinics to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine. While doing so, students are under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional.

In mid-December, Micah Olson, a fourth-year pharmacy student started volunteering.

“It’s been really great. I think that people are really excited to want to be vaccinated and the other students are also really excited to be involved in something that’s so much bigger than yourself,” said Olson.

Not only is this a good opportunity for hands-on practice, Olson feels it’s essential.

“Just doing the most you can to serve your community in help in whatever ways you can. It makes a huge influence to help get this vaccine out to as many people as we can as soon as possible,” said Olson.

So far, over 30 students have signed up to participate but professors expect that number to grow.

SDSU also recently held an immunization training course for pharmacy technicians and community pharmacists in South Dakota who did not already have training. That way they could help out as well.

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