Western Washington University staff have begun to receive the COVID-19 vaccines, starting with Student Health Center staff members.
Dr. David Hansen, the associate medical director of the health center, said 27 staff and a portion of the Isolation/Quarantine transport team have received the Moderna vaccine. A nurse team from Sea Mar Community Health Centers in Everson administered the shots.
“They were gracious enough to assist in county-wide vaccination efforts for Phase 1A individuals,” Hansen said via email.
Hansen said staff who received their vaccination from Sea Mar Community Health Centers had their first dose administered Jan. 15 and are scheduled to receive their second dose Feb. 12.
An additional eight health center staff received the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine from PeaceHealth Hospital Dec. 28, 2020, because of their credentialing status at PeaceHealth, said Dr. Hansen.
“SHC staff were very excited to receive the COVID[-19] vaccine,” Hansen said via email. “It provided some hope that someday everyone in our community would be protected from this virus.”
Hansen said the process for giving a COVID-19 vaccine is similar to getting a flu shot.
The individual receiving the shot begins by filling out a consent form and confirming if they have any allergies. The shot is then administered, and the individual is given an information sheet on the vaccine before being monitored for 15 minutes prior to their release, Hansen said.
Hansen said the 15-minute observation is important in ensuring the individual doesn’t suffer an adverse reaction to the shot.
Certain protocols must be followed when administering vaccines. One of these protocols is that anyone administering COVID-19 vaccines must be authorized with the Washington State Department of Health as a vaccine provider, Hansen said.
Hansen said all other protocols were followed in reference to the Centers for Disease Control’s extensive information addendum on the COVID-19 vaccine, “Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit.”
In regards to Student Health Center staff receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, Paul Cocke, the director of the office of university communications said via email, “The doctors, nurses and other staff at the Student Health Center are heroes in the midst of this tragic pandemic.”
Cocke said the staff at the Student Health Center and other dedicated essential workers at Western including custodians, grounds crew, residence hall staff, University Police and others, “Are going the extra mile to ensure our campus is as safe as possible during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”
PeaceHealth has asked that no one attempt to call to schedule vaccine appointments or to visit its clinics without a scheduled appointment. Sea Mar Community Health Centers are not scheduling appointments for vaccines at all and are only offering vaccines on a walk-in basis depending on if the eligibility requirements are met and if the vaccine is available at the location.
Additional information about COVID-19 vaccines can be found on the WWU website.
All Student Health Center staff were unable to comment.
Gaia Crans (he/him) is the student administrative assistant for The Front. He is a senior news/editorial journalism student minoring in sociology. When he’s not writing or stressing over the existence of the Oxford comma, Gaia enjoys climbing at Vital or spending time outside with his dog, Nova.
You can find him and pictures of his adorable pup on Instagram @captaingooya or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.