• Johannes Becht

SWOSU students conduct COVID-19 vaccinations

Updated: Jan 22

SWOSU pharmacy student Brianne Kirchgessner is giving a COVID-19 shot. Up to 300 people were supposed to receive a vaccine on Friday in the Pioneer Cellular Event Center. Photo: Johannes Becht

By Johannes Becht

News Editor

In order to fight COVID-19, 5.9 million people have been vaccinated in the United States so far, and 86,000 in Oklahoma. In the Sooner State, more than 2% of the population has been initiated a vaccination.

This number continues to rise. On Friday, Jan. 8, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., a mass vaccination event was taking place in the Pioneer Cellular Event Center on the SWOSU campus in Weatherford. People older than 65 years could get an appointment and receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

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"We have 240 appointments plus 60 front line workers, so all in all around 300 shots," SWOSU Rural Health Center Coordinator Randy Curry said, adding: "We want to ramp this up over the next weeks, I hope we will have more than 300 shots. We are ready. We have the manpower, the facilities, and the experience to do these types of clinics."

The COVID vaccine is mixed with sodium chloride.

On one table, the vaccine (Pfitzer) is prepared to be used. "Once the vaccine is in the refrigerator, we have 5 days to use it. Once we take the vaccine out of the refrigerator, we have 6 hours to use it," said Steve Drinnon, assistant professor from the School of Pharmacy.

The vaccine is mixed up with sodium chloride. Occasionally, there is a little more liquid in the bottle - "and we are using all we can," says Drinnon. That's why sometimes one bottle can be used for 6 or even 7 doses.

The mass vaccinations are possible also because pharmacy and nursing students from SWOSU as well as outside volunteers are helping out, such as Brianne Kirchgessner. "As pharmacy students, we really wanted to volunteer," she said.

Many people around the globe, especially young ones, are suspicious of the new vaccine. What does pharmacy student Kirchgessner think about that? "I believe in it 100%. It came out fast because it had to be. It (vaccinations) has been done for hundred years." Randy Curry adds: "The vaccine is good and necessary."

The next vaccinations at SWOSU will take place on Friday, Jan. 15. Curry: "We will be here for the next few months."

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