Concordia provided pharmacy students and local pharmacists the required training to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
Concordia’s School of Pharmacy administers the COVID-19 vaccine
With a surge in the demand for pharmacists to administer COVID vaccinations, the CUW pharmacy department stepped up to educate pharmacy professionals and students for the role. Getting back to a level of normalcy takes time, expertise, and personnel. Concordia School of Pharmacy students are stepping up to receive extra training to get our communities back to a place of safety and a new normal.
Second-year pharmacy students get COVID-19 vaccine training
Concordia University offered a special immunization class for the first and second year pharmacy students. In this class, students were trained how to properly administer vaccines. While immunization is a requirement for graduation at Concordia, typically, pharmacy students will not take the course until the end of their second year. However, an emergency federal order amidst the pandemic made allowances for pharmacy technicians to immunize with the proper certification.
Making a difference while still in school
“These students have stepped up for our community members,” said Dr. Mike Brown, “Typically, the first year students don’t administer vaccines and the second year students don’t learn how to administer them until the second half of year two.”
The students expressed feeling honored to be part of such a great mission, and desire to get the pandemic over with as soon as possible. Kyle Rehrauer, a P1 pharmacy student, is among the Concordia students who took the expedited course. He is currently employed as a certified pharmacy technician at Aurora Sinai Medical Center.
“This is the time that we can all make a difference,” Rehrauer said. “I went into the medical field to help people and now I’ll be able to have a part in administering a vaccine for a global pandemic.”
Training local pharmacists
In addition to the student class, Concordia also hosted a public certification course for working pharmacists. Sarah Ray, PharmD, BCPS, FAPhA, is the department chair of pharmacy practice and an associate professor at CUW. She is also certified by APhA to deliver pharmacy-based immunization training.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandates that health professionals receive immunization training before administering vaccines. Not all pharmacy schools require immunization as part of their curriculum, however. Ray led a group of pharmacists through an immunization administration course, giving them the opportunity to pitch in with the COVID-19 vaccine when the time comes.
Preparing our community
Dr. Ray was glad the school could be a community resource. Pharmacists came from southeast Wisconsin and the Chicago area. “We are here to serve the Milwaukee community, and the Midwest,” said Dr. Ray, “pharmacists want to be ready to vaccinate when the time comes. We were happy to provide a training to make vaccinations safe and fair to as many people as possible by having more vaccinators in the field.” Reporters stopped by the Concordia campus to capture the scene to see exactly how the training is done.
Through these extra efforts, our community is prepared for a safe and timely distribution of the vaccine. Community members can be sure they are receiving a vaccine from a skilled healthcare worker trained to adhere to CDC and state guidelines. We are all in this together. Thanks to healthcare workers and educators preparation and readiness, we are ready to fight back against COVID-19. Now that the time is here for the public to be vaccinated, let’s give immunization a real shot.
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To find out more about the School of Pharmacy, visit www.cuw.edu/pharmacy
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