Nursing students from Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus helped Fayette County’s COVID-19 Vaccine task force reach the goal of vaccinating 2,000 people at the Uniontown clinic Friday and Saturday, raising the total number of people vaccinated through clinics hosted by hospitals in Uniontown and Connellsville up to 7,000.
The clinics administered vaccines to those registered through the task force’s database, scheduled in the order they registered, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Although they have made excellent progress to vaccinate as many people as they can, Fayette County Commissioner Vincent Vicites said he believes the clinics have the capacity to administer double or even triple the supply that they have. His hope is that they will receive an increased supply moving forward.
“We’re building a trust that we are running an effective task force with the various clinics,” he said. “I’d like to see the amount of shots that we get per week double or triple, because we can handle that.”
Vicites said they have been fine-tuning the process of registering, scheduling and getting vaccinations to make the process as seamless as they can, including adding a place to include secondary phone numbers when registering. Vicites said people who are registered should not worry if they miss a call about scheduling a vaccination, as they will call multiple times to make sure no one is overlooked.
Those scheduled to receive a first dose through Fayette’s registry needn’t worry about the second dose being delayed. The vaccine being distributed through the county’s outreach clinics is Pfizer.
Earlier this week, state officials said doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that were shipped to providers and intended as second doses were accidentally used as first doses.
On Friday, a total of 18 upperclassmen nursing students from Penn State joined the hospital in administering vaccines, with three faculty members, and 19 students assisted Saturday with four faculty members.
Wendy Edgar, nursing instructor at Penn State, said that working with her students to vaccinate people in the community is one of the most rewarding activities she and the students have been a part of.
“With the pandemic, our students have lost so much, our junior students especially lost a lot of clinical time, so this has been a great experience for them,” she said. “It’s been a great community outreach and they’ve enjoyed it tremendously.”
Jadyn Barnish, junior nursing student at Penn State, said when she received an email asking nursing students to volunteer, she jumped on the opportunity to help. She said assisting with vaccinations gave her valuable experience and administering the vaccinations became second nature after doing so many.
“Coming here and seeing how many people are here and involved and how many are getting the vaccine was really awesome to see,” Barnish said. “It’s really awesome to be a part of that. It’s like being part of history.”
Only people in group 1A can register to get the vaccine currently. County residents can register at fayettecountypa.org. Those who are unable to register online can call 724-466-4142 and leave a message.