UHCOP Students, Faculty, Alumni and Preceptors Take Part in Early COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts
January 20 — UH College of Pharmacy students, faculty, alumni and preceptors across Texas are leaping forward to take part in the first mass vaccination efforts of fellow health care professionals and senior citizens as COVID-19 allotments for the state become available.
In December, UHCOP Rio Grande Valley Pharm.D. Satellite Program faculty members and students on their experiential rotations participated in the first round of vaccinations organized by RGV program partner, DHRHealth in Edinburg, providing vaccinations for nearly 6,000 employees and neighboring health care professionals in only four days.
"This event is truly a highlight in my career as we were able to provide a dose of hope to so many people," said Ron Ozuna, Pharm.D., BCPS, RGV Pharm.D. Satellite Program assistant dean and clinical assistant professor. "This event will be carved into memory for all involved and will be something our students will never forget."
UHCOP-affiliated volunteers also assisted with the Memorial Hermann Health System’s mass drive-through clinic at Houston's NRG Park, which saw over 14,000 immunized over four-day period in mid-January. Volunteer students, faculty and alumni as well as preceptors delivered immunizations, manned pre-immunization screening and post-immunization observation stations, and transported doses between staging and immunization areas.
Pharm.D. candidate Carlton Menchaca said he was proud and grateful to be afforded the opportunity to make her personal mark on history.
"I am glad that pharmacy has been an integral part in the distribution and administration of the vaccine," Menchaca said. "The cheering, joyful tears, and thankfulness that was heard throughout the day was very moving."
Second-year Pharm.D. student Catherine Vu said it was a fulfilling experience as student pharmacist and advocate for public health to be on the front line for the community.
"One of the primary reasons I chose pharmacy was because of the pharmacist’s direct impact on patients’ health," Vu said. Each 'thank you' and smile I received as I vaccinated solidified why I chose this career path. The year 2020 has been a markedly different and difficult year due to the pandemic, but these historic moments make me feel hopeful for our future."