The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine reached Washington and Ozaukee counties last week, and Concordians were there to help administer the life-saving immunization.

The effort, led by Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department, saw nearly 330 firefighters and EMS personnel receive vaccinations on Jan. 6 and 7. Concordia’s School of Pharmacy (SOP) Associate Dean Mike Brown, PharmD, and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Audrey Kostrzewa, PharmD, MPH, BCPS, both pharmacists, worked alongside the providers of the health department to prepare and deliver COVID-19 vaccine.

Learn more about CUW SOP

“Our communities’ EMS personnel do so much for all of us, including providing life-saving services,” said Brown. “It is a privilege as pharmacists to serve with the staff of the Public Health Department and provide the life-saving benefits of vaccines to our first-responders.”

Concordia has partnered with Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department throughout the pandemic to serve community members and ensure the well-being of students and the Concordia community.

Fifteen from CUW’s pharmacy school (six faculty and nine students) have committed to being on call in the upcoming weeks to continue the immunization effort in partnership with the public health department.

“This is one of many ways that pharmacists are involved with public health initiatives,” Kostrzewa said. “It’s such a privilege to work alongside people with varied backgrounds and expertise and come together for the shared purpose of vaccinating our community.”

Immunization training and prep

It’s not the only way CUW SOP is stepping up to contribute. On Dec. 16, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Sarah Ray, PharmD, hosted an immunization certification course for nine pharmacists in Wisconsin and Chicago.

Related: To prep for an influx of vaccinations, this Mequon professor is helping pharmacists get certified to give shots

On Friday, she wrapped up a second immunization training for CUW students. Under an emergency federal order issued in the midst of the pandemic, certified pharmacy technicians can administer immunizations under a pharmacist’s supervision. Typically, CUW pharmacy students would receive the training at the end of their second year, but the federal order caused Ray to offer an elective course ahead of schedule for 16 students.

Related: Concordia University Pharmacy students to assist in COVID-19 vaccine immunizations

CUW pharmacy response

Many students and alumni are naturally in the mix through their clinical placements or job sites. Here are just a couple of the players.

Above: CUW student Leah Radde was a student intern at Froedtert Hospital’s very first COVID-19 vaccine clinic in December.

Above: Student Nick Gold (left) and alumnus Kevin Krueger (center) joined Kostrzewa in a clinic at Froedtert Hospital just before Christmas.

Above: Kostrzewa and Brown prep vaccines. They are the first of 15 CUW pharmacy faculty and students who helped prep and administer vaccines in partnership with Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department last week.

Above: Brown and Kostrzewa with the team from Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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