Students as Community Vaccinators: Implementation of A Service-Learning COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

TitleStudents as Community Vaccinators: Implementation of A Service-Learning COVID-19 Vaccination Program.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsGriswold AR, Klein J, Dusaj N, Zhu J, Keeler A, Abramson EL, Gurvitch D
JournalVaccines (Basel)
Date Published2022 Jun 30

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major educational disruptions, it has also catalyzed innovation in service-learning as a real-time response to pandemic-related problems. The limited number of qualified providers was primed to restrict SARS-CoV-2 vaccination efforts. Thus, New York State temporarily allowed healthcare professional trainees to vaccinate, enabling medical students to support an overwhelmed healthcare system and contribute to the public health crisis. Here, we describe a service-learning vaccination program directed towards underserved communities. A faculty-led curriculum prepared medical students to communicate with patients about COVID-19 vaccines and to administer intramuscular injections. Qualified students were deployed to public vaccination clinics located in under-served neighborhoods in collaboration with an established community partner. Throughout the program, 128 students worked at 103 local events, helping to administer 26,889 vaccine doses. Analysis of a retrospective survey administered to participants revealed the program taught fundamental clinical skills and was a transformative service-learning experience. As new virus variants emerge and nations battle recurrent waves of infection, the need for effective vaccination plans continues to grow. The program described here offers a novel framework that academic medical centers could adapt to increase vaccine access in their local community and provide students with a uniquely meaningful educational experience.

Alternate JournalVaccines (Basel)
PubMed ID35891222
PubMed Central IDPMC9324302
Grant ListF30 CA243444 / NH / NIH HHS / United States
F30 HL156496 / NH / NIH HHS / United States
T32 GM007739 / NH / NIH HHS / United States
UL1TR002384 / NH / NIH HHS / United States

Person Type: