CLEVELAND — Vaccine clinics are popping up all over the country and today Northeast Ohio residents had direct access to shots. The chance to get a shot was a welcomed opportunity for anyone getting the vaccine, but also for the people administering the shots as well.
The clinics, held at three different locations, including the Urban Community School in Cleveland, were spearheaded by Case Western Reserve University students.
For many of them, they’ve administered hundreds of doses of the vaccine as the pandemic rages on.
“The first time I gave it I was a little bit nervous,” said Jessica Zhao, a senior nursing student. “But at the same time the person was so relieved and I was just like “‘Wow, this is amazing.’”
Clinics like the one at the UCS are a sight for sore eyes these days.
“I think it’s really cool that we get to be a part of this because, as the next generation of healthcare, we are a part of something that’s been really unique in a devastating way,” Hazel Herr said. “As the next wave of healthcare providers, we’ll be uniquely situated to be able to respond to something like this if it ever happens again.”
Nurses administered 800 doses between the three locations.
“I’m so blessed and grateful to be able to be a part in trying to stop this pandemic and slow down the spread,” Kaitlyn Ledford said.
For students like Ledford, a life of service was the obvious choice for a career path.
“I became a nurse because I grew up taking care of my older brother who’s severely autistic,” Ledford said. “Being in that caretaker role with my mom who was a single mom raising three kids, I knew that I really wanted to help people. Doing this as my last semester of nursing school has come full circle.”
For others, it was a selfless choice to enter the nursing ranks.
“It's kind of a crazy feeling because I'm the first person in my family to be in the medical field,” Zhao said.
As the students become the professionals, they’re hoping their model can be replicated to get vaccines in the hands of the most vulnerable populations across the county.
“Maybe this type of like students leading a clinic can start spreading out more so we can start getting more vaccinations out,” Zhao said.