Last updated on Sep 16, 2021
By Dylan Valic & Shelley Dean, Editor-In-Chief & Staff Writer
As vaccines are being administered across the country, nursing students are doing their part in helping with the fight against Covid 19. Student volunteers have begun administering the Moderna vaccine at the campus’s vaccine center located at the University Center.
The vaccination center was originally announced by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on Thursday, Feb. 11, for faculty and members of the local community who met New York state’s guidelines for being vaccinated. The vaccine center began giving doses of the vaccine to interested students on Friday, April 23, after eligibility was extended to anyone over the age of 16.
Students will need to be able to come back to campus for the second dose, or schedule a Moderna appointment in their hometown. School will not be in session by the time the students are due for their second shots.
The vaccine center is entirely student run, with everything from checking in to administering the vaccine being performed by students. Each room has one professor and at least two students to ensure everything is being done correctly. Medical professionals are also on standby in the case of an emergency.
The opportunity to volunteer wasn’t only open to nursing students, as students from different departments volunteered to help in different ways. Non-nursing students are helping take temperatures, check people in and guide patients to their proper room so that nobody needs to unnecessarily come in contact with each other.
Nursing students who volunteered to help administer the vaccine needed to complete a series of online training modules that taught them the proper technique for administering the vaccine, and practice giving the vaccine to a mannequin, according to Director of the Inter-professional Simulation Center Debra McWilliams.
The modules helped prepare students for when it was time to administer the actual vaccine.
“It helped a lot, there were a lot of visuals and you come in here and you’re not just thrown in, you know exactly what you’re doing,” junior nursing major Shanna Lynn Maleitz said.
Students felt good about being able to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“It feels really good to be helping to end this war against the virus,” junior nursing major Ahmad Yasser said.
Maleitz was happy to volunteer because she believes that she is helping to create history.
Other students felt a need to help their community, which drove them to volunteer.
“I feel like it’s our duty,” junior nursing major Andy Nunez said. “We’re in the field of nursing and this is what we’re going to be doing in the future anyway, so what better way to do it then in our community and in our school.”
Nunez also recognized the importance of the vaccines.
“There’s a lot of deaths going on because of this, so to think this could have saved somebody’s life is pretty meaningful,” he said.
On Friday, April 23, 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine were available to interested students. Monij Sankhe, a masters student in the health care administration program, received a dose of the vaccine and was happy with the results.
“It was very easy, it was very streamlined, I was welcomed very nicely and the whole process was like a piece of cake for me,” he said. “Even when I got vaccinated I didn’t even feel it.”
The accessibility of the vaccine was exciting to many students.
“I had to call the vaccine hotline every single day trying to get an appointment and I couldn’t get one anyone around here, so the current one I have scheduled is five and a half hours away on May 3rd,” sophomore musical theatre major Nick Larsen said.
Larsen quickly scheduled an appointment on campus shortly after receiving the email. The campus vaccination will save him an entire day, and over ten hours of driving.
Other students are weighing how they will make the second dose work for them, because they live out of state.
”It’s not that far of a drive back, if I have to come back I will, but I am going to try to schedule my second dose at home in Massachusetts,” junior musical theatre Renee Hamilton said.
Hamilton wishes the campus had opened up for vaccinations earlier, but is grateful to have the opportunity at all. Being a theatre major, she has been forced to shift many aspects of her creative life.
“Covid has taken so much of my life away from me. It has taken live theatre from me, I saw my grandma very intermittently,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton is excited that she will be able to see her 83 year old grandmother more often once she has the vaccine in her system.
For Hamilton, scheduling an appointment was extremely easy and took her less than five minutes. She encourages everyone who can to find a vaccine appointment as soon as possible.
Dean of the School of Health Professionals and Nursing, Dr. Denise Walsh, believes that the experience of operating a vaccine center right next to campus has been a positive experience for everyone involved.
“It has been a wonderful experience for not only the students but the community, to see that LIU is a part of this community and we want to give back to the people that we live with and work with,” she said. “Everyone who came through here had such a positive experience. The students who worked here had a positive experience because we emphasize that we are a part of a global community and we’re reaching out to the members of the world to help them, as in healthcare, because we are healthcare professionals that’s what our profession is based on, reaching out to others.”
Students who are interested in scheduling an appointment for a vaccine in Nassau County can visit https://vaccine.nassaucountyny.gov/ for more information.