A lab assignment like no other

Roby Hill
January 20, 2021
Boone Seagle, MUSC College of Pharmacy Class of 2021
Boone Seagle '21 is one of the students helping administer vaccinations

In the race to vaccinate for COVID-19, the community was in dire need of pharmacists. Enter MUSC pharmacy students, all of whom earn vaccination certification as part of the curriculum. It’s an opportunity to serve, help, lead, and learn all wrapped into one intense experience. And the students seized it.

“Participating in such an operation affirms the appreciation for our profession and amplifies the need for our service in these unprecedented times,” said Boone Seagle, a fourth year student on rotation at MUSC Family Medicine. “I would like to encourage other students to do what they can to get involved and make an impact in this ongoing time of need.”

Seagle has been actively participating in the fight against COVID-19 by partaking in the vaccine clinic at MUSC’s Rutledge Tower. As vaccines became available in early January, he administered vaccines to specific MUSC personnel, including giving the second round of vaccine to his preceptor. When eligibility expanded on January 13 to individuals over the age of 70, he was recruited to reconstitute and draw up doses of vaccine, which were administered to over 500 people that day.

While on rotation with faculty member Kristy Brittain, who is coordinating the College’s support of MUSC’s vaccine clinics, fourth-year students Tim Raines and Ashlyn Chism worked at three different COVID-19 vaccination clinics each week.

“Everyone that I have had the privilege of vaccinating has been very appreciative and thankful to be receiving the vaccine and to be a part of this moment in history,” Chism said. “This is a multi-step process from a patient scheduling an appointment to receiving the vaccine which continues to evolve and change every day, so we must adapt as well.”

“This kind of intervention is one of the reasons you get into pharmacy,” said Philip Hall, dean of the MUSC College of Pharmacy. “We have the opportunity to make a tremendous difference in the lives and welfare of everyone in this community. Our faculty and students will do whatever they can to help curb the pandemic.”

Brittain created a volunteer spreadsheet for students to sign up, which was a win-win-win situation: it gave her needed help, the students invaluable experience, and the community lifesaving medication. Preceptors also stepped up, allowing students on rotation to spend part of their rotation giving vaccines.

Fourth-year student Landon Johnson has appreciated the opportunity to participate in an historical event. He is hopeful that the rapidly evolving vaccination process will offer a potential return to normality sooner rather than later.

“I have also met people from all kinds of backgrounds, including a couple that experienced a huge impact on their small business when the pandemic started,” Johnson said. “I hope people continue to see the benefit of receiving the vaccine so that this couple and others like them might find success again in their small businesses."