The School of Nursing at Southern, in partnership with the Health Department in Chattanooga, held two on-campus vaccination events over the past weekend.
They were the second and third events of that nature at Southern. One was held last Friday and the other was held on Sunday. The three events combined reached an estimate of 2,000 vaccinated people including students, faculty and community members.
The events were organized by Jill Buchholz in cooperation with Kerry Allen, who are both professors in the School of Nursing.
“I reached out [to the Health Department] and offered to help,” Buchholz said.
According to Buchholz, after working with the Health Department for a few months, the director reached out to her and asked her to be a partner, which would give Southern several options for how to help vaccinate people around campus. Out of all the options, however, it was decided to set up a vaccination site at Southern.
After the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was halted, Southern was given the option to choose the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine, according to Buchholz. The School of Nursing ultimately decided to go with the Moderna vaccine because its wait period for a second dose is longer. If they had chosen the Pfizer vaccine, the second shot event would have had to be held on graduation weekend, which was more inconvenient to work out.
“The transition to Moderna has not been bad,” Buchholz said. “There [are] people who were counting on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine but won’t be able to get it now.”
Nonetheless, there will be some people who will not be able to get their second dose of Moderna at Southern because they are leaving right after school ends.
One of those students is Helen Faulk, a senior psychology major who got her first dose of the Moderna vaccine this past Friday.
According to Faulk, not being able to get a second dose on campus is “a little inconvenient, but not a big deal.”
The vaccine has also been distributed to students such as junior mathematics major Juan Moran under different circumstances.
“I feel good [about getting my vaccine] because it shows that the issue is so relevant that they are not excluding people because of their background,” Moran said. “Instead, they are encouraging everyone who is part of this community to get it.”
Moran, who is originally from Honduras, stated that he feels “privileged because [the vaccine] would have been harder to get in [his] home country.”
In order to accomplish its vaccination goals, the School of Nursing has partnered with the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists, which allows the school to use church facilities for better access to community members who wish to get vaccinated.
Due to the great reach of these events, the School of Nursing has asked for volunteers to help with logistics and the vaccination of attendees. Some of those volunteers, which include some nursing students, have even been able to receive service learning credit.
“I didn’t do it for the credit,” said Emily Suciu, junior nursing major. “I just did it to help out and to practice giving shots.”
The last vaccination event for the Winter 2021 semester will take place on May 16, when people can get their second dose of the vaccine, or the first dose if they haven’t gotten it.
Buchholz reminds everyone that the recommended maximum period of time to wait in between doses is an estimate of six weeks.