Temple frontline health students, faculty receive COVID-19 vaccine

As of Jan. 25, the College of Public Health vaccinated roughly 700 people associated with the college.

The College of Public Health continues vaccinating some students, faculty and staff for COVID-19 throughout the month of February. Above, people walk past Ritter Annex where the some classes and offices within the College of Public Health are held on Aug. 19, 2020. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Students, faculty and staff in clinical settings at Temple University’s College of Public Health began receiving first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in late January, following other Pennsylvania universities who have begun to vaccinate their medical staff and students.

Nursing students at the college began administering vaccines to the college’s members on Jan. 20. The college announced in a Jan. 25 email to its students and faculty, obtained by The Temple News, that the college had vaccinated roughly 700 “clinically facing front-line faculty, staff and students” associated with it within the previous week. 

“All of our students who vaccinate are clinical students such as nursing students who already have been trained to administer injections, and all are overseen by our faculty,” said Laura Siminoff, Dean of the College of Public Health, in a statement emailed to The Temple News. 

Students in clinical settings  who had hybrid or in-person internships were notified of their vaccination eligibility and which vaccine they would receive by email and directed to a SignUpGenius link where they could schedule their appointment, according to the email. The first round of vaccine appointments for the college’s students, faculty and staff took place on Jan. 20, Jan. 21 and Jan. 27 from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the Bell Building on Main Campus. 

Individuals receiving the vaccine received a separate email from the college, also obtained by The Temple News, which included safety information, like encouraging vaccine recipients to alert their vaccine provider if they had conditions, like allergies, fever, or bleeding disorders. The document also explained what to do if the recipient experienced a reaction after receiving the vaccine and contained information detailing potential side effects and when to receive a second dose of the vaccine. 

Pennsylvania is currently in Phase 1A of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution phase, which includes health care workers, like “health professions students and trainees” and “clinical personnel in school settings or correctional facilities,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Other Pennsylvania universities have begun vaccinating their eligible students, faculty and staff. The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has vaccinated more than 20,000 medicine staff and faculty as of Jan. 6, according to a letter from Jon Epstein, Executive Vice Dean and Chief Scientific Officer at the school of medicine. 

Medical students who will be encountering clinical rotations are being vaccinated on “a rolling basis,” according to the Penn letter, while University of Pittsburgh announced on its website on Jan. 28 that “every member of the Pitt community may be eligible to get vaccinated through Pitt” once vaccines become available to the university.

Charles La Fontaine, a senior public health major, received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 20 through the College of Public Health because he is doing a hybrid internship at Temple Health System, he said. 

Upon arriving at the Bell Building, La Fontaine was asked to verify his information, like his name and student ID, at the registration desk and was then vaccinated by a nursing student, he said. 

“There were probably about 10 nurses or so, ready to vaccinate each student at each separate chair,” La Fontaine said. “So they had like multiple chairs people could get vaccinated all at one time.” 

La Fontaine was then monitored for 15 minutes after his vaccination to see if he would experience any reaction, he said. He is scheduled to receive the second dose of his Moderna vaccine on Feb. 17.

College of Public Health students, faculty and staff are able to receive their second dose of the vaccine on Feb. 17, Feb. 18 and Feb. 24, wrote Mark Stoutenberg, chair of the kinesiology department, in an email to individuals at the College of Public Health who have been vaccinated, obtained by The Temple News. 

The Moderna vaccine requires two doses 28 days apart in order to maintain full protection from the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Katerina Vassil, a senior public health major, was also invited to be vaccinated, despite her internship being remote, she said. 

Vassil received the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 21 and will receive her second dose of the vaccine on Feb. 18, she said.

Vassil hopes that she might be able to see her family in the future, now that she has been vaccinated, she said. 

“I trust science, I trust medicine, I did my own research into it and I trust that it was, you know, created and it’s being distributed in a safe manner,” Vassil said.  

Correction: A previous version of this story misattributed a statement made by Laura Siminoff, Dean of the College of Public Health.

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