Less than one month after the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the United States, it made its way to Farmville.
Vaccine administration began in January, but conversations between Longwood and Centra Southside Community Hospital about bringing it to Farmville began in December. Kim Little, department chair and director of the nursing program, said the Health Education Task Force, which she serves on, encouraged the vaccine rollout in Farmville.
“They were encouraging us to have our nursing students take part in the vaccination effort,” Little said. “And we wanted to be helpful in our partnership with Centra Southside to aid in their rollout of the vaccine as well.”
As of February 10, upperclassmen Longwood nursing students have administered over 1,000 vaccines, with the help of trained vaccinators and nursing faculty. Nursing senior Karlie Walter, who has administered over 50 vaccines, said she and other students take on various roles at the clinic each day.
“As students we rotate through our assigned roles which include checking temperatures, giving the vaccine and post-vaccination monitoring,” Walter said. “We rotate roles to make sure everyone has the opportunity to learn from the clinic in different perspectives.”
The nursing students first vaccinated Longwood faculty and staff before moving on to teachers in Prince Edward and Buckingham counties, as well as daycare workers at Sunrise and the Andy Taylor Center in town. As of now, Little added that there are no plans to vaccinate students.
Little said, “We do not have a rollout plan for students just yet, we’ll look to the state for that guidance as they determine what age groups we can vaccinate.”
As the vaccinations continue, nursing students emphasize how much they have learned and how much it means to them to give back to their community.
“The best part is being able to serve Longwood and the surrounding communities,” Walter said. “Seeing new people each time I volunteer and getting to hear about how COVID has affected them, and now how hopeful they are after receiving the vaccine is such a rewarding experience.”
To learn more and pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine in Virginia, go to vaccinate.virginia.gov.