250 people were vaccinated Tuesday when Panola College teamed up with Brookshire Brothers to distribute 250 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Brookshire Brothers in Carthage was allocated 500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and Pharmacist Olen English was the only one there able to administer the shots.
“It’s taken me two and a half weeks to do 250 shots, and they’re doing 250 shots in one day,” English said. “So we’re able to definitely vaccinate a lot more people, so it’s going really great... This takes a huge load off my shoulder, ‘cause for me to be able to do that many vaccines — because I have to do my pharmacy work also at the same time as trying to fit vaccines in, and so sometimes it gets very hard to get that many vaccines in in a day, and I was having to stay after work to fit some in, and that was fine with me, I don’t mind, I’m gonna give vaccines all I can, but this makes it much easier on me.”
The vaccine clinic, set up Tuesday in the Central Baptist Church gym, offered a unique opportunity to Panola College students to gain experience as well, said Kelly Reed-Hirsch, Dean of Health Sciences at Panola College
“We had an opportunity for our health information technology students, along with our medical assisting students, as well as our paramedic students to earn clinical experience,” Reed-Hirsch said. “So this is just a great opportunity for all of our students to get experience and more importantly to give to our community to get the vaccine that they needed. So we’re just very excited to be partners.”
Panola College instructor Sharon Peace expressed thankfulness.
“Just wanna say thank you to Brookshire Brothers pharmacy for giving our Panola second level RN students the opportunity to be part of the process to end this pandemic,” she said. “We’re just tickled to participate and get the practice, just to be a part of the whole experience.”
Level two nursing students Austin Triplett and Brylie Lucas said they appreciated the needed opportunity to practice. Joseph Wise, another level two nursing student, enjoyed the opportunity to show people that they are just as much a part of the community, because he said most people only think of nurses as being in the hospital.
“Some of them said that they didn’t get to do many IM vaccinations, which is what a COVID shot is IM, meaning into the muscle, and so they’re getting to practice that,” English said.
Those receiving the vaccine Tuesday expressed excitement and relief.
“Everybody seems to be very grateful that they got a call,” Reed-Hirsch said. “One lady drove three hours to get here. She said she got on every single list that she could find, and she was so excited to get the call. One lady was I believe 93-years-old.”
The vaccination clinic will be set up again in four weeks to give the second doses to those who received it Tuesday. Vaccinations are by appointment only.
“As soon as more vaccinations become available to our community and the eligibility broadens from the state, I look forward to partnering again with Brookshires and doing a mass vaccination clinic,” Reed-Hirsch said.