Since Shenandoah University began holding a COVID-19 mass-vaccination clinic in its Wilkins Athletics & Events Center, many students have volunteered their time in helping the vaccine rollout.
Students have served as greeters, translators, and vaccinators, and some have helped sign up and sign out individuals. More than 54,000 shots have been administered at the clinic as of early April.
Austin Taylor, a P4 graduate student in the pharmacy school, has registered vaccine recipients while also serving as a vaccinator.
Working in a retail pharmacy setting, I have firsthand experience seeing how thankful individuals are to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The delight and jubilation they exhibit makes my heart warm knowing that I’m helping our community get back to some semblance of normalcy one shot at a time.”
Austin Taylor ’21
Andy Espinoza is a sophomore film studies major. He was one of several students who volunteered during his Honors 202 class “Serving your Community,” taught by Director of Civic Engagement Keith Jones Pomeroy, M.A. As a volunteer, Espinoza greeted people and guided them through the check-in process.
After receiving my first dose of the vaccine, volunteering at the clinic was my way of giving back to the community. I couldn’t be any happier for what we’re doing here at SU.”
Andy Espinoza ’23
Senior Collin Miller, who is majoring in both biology and chemistry, has been volunteering at the clinic since February and has put in about 15 hours. His professors in both the biology department and in his Honors Seminar 201 class encouraged him to reach out and volunteer.
Miller mostly performs check-out duties, where he asks patients several questions following their 15-minute post-vaccination wait. Questions include what arm they got their shot in, how they are feeling, who was their vaccinator, and whether they have completed their series of shots. He then directs patients to the exit and helps them with any questions about future vaccines.
When people have talked about what convinced them to get a shot, they often mention the fact that their parents said, ‘If not for yourself, do it for me.’ And that’s so true. Many teenagers and young adults could face a COVID-19 infection and come out of it relatively unscathed, but the older population are the ones that we should be protecting by getting this vaccine. By young adults getting the vaccine, this helps reduce transmission to our elderly and also reduces any rare event of them having a severe COVID-19 infection.”
Collin Miller ’21
Miller said he chose to volunteer in part to gain some healthcare experience.
“So far it’s been mainly ‘administrative’ work, but I’ve been able to gain so many connections and friends while volunteering that it’s been a worthwhile endeavor,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of what we’ve helped build and facilitate for our community and I aim to continue assisting with the effort.”
Sophomore Daniah Ali, a pre-med biology major with a chemistry minor, has volunteered for the clinic at the check-out station. She has also translated for Spanish-speaking families and a few Arabic-speaking ones.
I volunteered for the vaccination clinic to be a part of our community gathering to get rid of the spread of COVID-19 and also to witness how healthcare workers in our community are willing to come in on their off days, which they have very few of, and get people vaccinated. I also learned that the vaccination clinic is extremely efficient and very fast-paced. It really goes to show the volunteers are all there for a purpose.”
Daniah Ali ’23
The clinic is held in collaboration with Valley Health and Lord Fairfax Health District.