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SLU Physician Assistant Program Assists with COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

As more and more COVID-19 vaccination doses become available to the public, there is a greater need for trained health care professionals to administer them. The Saint Louis University (SLU) Physician Assistant (PA) program faculty and students have jumped at the opportunity to serve their community – both on the SLU campus and the surrounding areas – to administer vaccines to those in need.

SLU PA students working SLU's vaccination clinic
SLU PA students volunteering at the university's vaccination clinic. Left to right: Katie Maher, Katy Fox, Maura Smith, Ryan Lambert, Kristen Schmutzler, Alex Wood.

Early this year, SLU PA Associate Director of Clinical Education Rhonda Pulver, MS, PA-C, and a group of PA students had the opportunity to volunteer with the Clinton County Health Department Medical Reserve Corp. in Breese, IL to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Pulver was thrilled to be making a positive impact after months of uncertainty regarding the virus.

“It feels amazing to help provide these vaccines. As a health care provider and an educator, it feels like there is finally light at the end of the tunnel,” Pulver said. “Seeing the excitement in people getting the vaccine – it has been one of the rare positive experiences since March, 2020.”

Pulver went on describe the great level of positivity and encouragement that patients brought to the clinic as they received their vaccinations.

“People were very excited. Many people had a lot of questions, but they were all good questions, trying to learn more and excited to be part of the solution,” Pulver said. “When we started with elderly folks, some cried tears of joy and we received a lot of hugs and thanks. I even had the opportunity to vaccinate some friends and family. It was amazing!

Pulver commended the great work that the Clinton County Health Department was doing with a small, but effective staff led by Louise McMinn, Sara Koopmann and Marian Voss.

In addition to the Clinton County clinic, a number of SLU PA students and faculty volunteered at the SLU vaccination clinic which took place in the Simon Rec Center during the first week of March. SLU PA student Alex Wood was excited to be able to help members of the university community receive the first dose of their vaccine.

“It felt really good helping to deliver the vaccines. I saw so many happy faces and I was really excited to be there,” Wood said. “Many of the patients were excited it was finally their time to receive the vaccine.”

In addition to Wood, SLU PA students Katy Fox, Gaby Knight, Ryan Lambert, Katie Maher, Amber Muetzel, Kristen Schmutzler, Maura Smith and SLU PA Assistant Professor Chezna Warner, MHS, MSW, PA-C, were among the 56 clinical volunteers at SLU’s vaccination clinic.

As SLU receives more doses, the university plans to host more large-scale vaccination clinics. Check SLU’s Health Advisory site for the latest updates.

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 13,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of more than 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.