Several Shenandoah University professors in Loudoun and Fairfax counties are helping out on the frontlines of the Northern Virginia COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Many of the faculty, including those in pharmacy and nursing, are serving as vaccinators and providing first- and second-dose vaccinations to health care workers, teachers, police officers, and older adults in the community. Some also answer vaccine questions and deliver vaccines to injection stations at various clinics.
Since late December, Assistant Professor of Nursing Kathleen Eid-Heberle, Ph.D., RN, and School of Nursing Coordinator at Scholar Plaza, Loudoun, Lesley McCorry, MSN, RN, have been administering vaccines as part of the Medical Reserve Corps through the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). Volunteers distribute about 500 shots a day in a Point of Dispensing site in Sterling.
The Medical Reserve Corps was created in 2002 as a way to organize medical and non-medical volunteers to assist after disasters that occur in the United States and U.S. territories.
Volunteering with the VDH required each faculty member to complete eight online modules to ensure they fully understood the components of the vaccines and the administration guidelines. The entire course took about eight hours to complete.
McCorry said seeing the community of volunteers come together has been a great experience.
It’s very rewarding to know we’re contributing to the health and safety of the community. The recipients are so grateful.”
Lesley McCorry, MSN, RN
Dr. Eid-Heberle, who has volunteered with the MRC since 2006, said no one waits more than 30 minutes to get their vaccine at the Sterling POD.
“To see the development of the POD and how the public health department has fine-tuned the process has been incredible,” she said.
Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Pharmacy Practice at Inova Center for Personalized Health – Fairfax, Erin Adams, Pharm.D., volunteered at an ICPH clinic and one at an Inova family practice, where she answered vaccine questions and administered the vaccine.
Volunteering at the COVID-19 vaccination clinics has been an energizing experience in helping to protect the public. They were grateful and in some cases overwhelmed with tears to be getting the vaccine. I am proud of the determination and collaboration of so many people that led to the mass-vaccination clinics, as well as to be a part of it.”
Erin Adams, Pharm.D.
ICPH Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Whitney Zentgraf, Pharm.D., vaccinated individuals through Inova Health System in Fairfax.
I was proud to represent Shenandoah University and pharmacists by vaccinating over 50 individuals at the Inova COVID Vaccine Clinic in Fairfax in one morning. I was so impressed by the clinic’s efficiency in providing 2,500 to 4,000 vaccines a day to people in the community. It made me so happy to see so many older adults, health care workers, and people from the school systems getting vaccinated. We’re making progress.”
Whitney Zentgraf, Pharm.D.
Assistant Professor of Nursing Martha Nolen-Vesterlund, DNP, is a faculty member at ICPH. She has been helping at Shenandoah’s James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center, which is serving as a mass-vaccination site.
I encouraged our nurse practitioner students to participate, and it was wonderful getting to work with them as nurses outside the classroom. I have worked three shifts and plan to do more. It has been a true blessing to be a part of this movement. The patients were so grateful, and we all finally have some hope this will be over soon!”
Martha Nolen-Vesterlund, DNP
Other Northern Virginia volunteers are:
- Azman Sabet, MSN, RN, who volunteered at the Fauquier Free Clinic in case management and patient education. He also contacted patients to encourage vaccination and collected a list of interested individuals.
- Sheila Hautbois, PA-C, MPH, CHES, who has been working shifts at the Inova vaccine clinic since the first week the clinic opened. She’s helped with vaccine documentation in the state registry, but has mostly been serving as a clinical lead person in the post-vaccination monitoring area. “It’s been an amazing experience,” Hautbois said.
- Stephanie Bernard, MMSc, PA-C, RD, is the interim program director and an associate professor in the Division of PA studies. She is also Faculty Senate vice president. Bernard has been commuting to the Winchester campus to volunteer as a vaccinator.
If you are interested in volunteering with the MRC in your community, please visit the MRC site.