Health Science Department assists in administering Covid-19 vaccines


Students from the Health Science Department administered 250 Covid-19 vaccines on Tuesday in Carthage.

The Health Science Department at Panola College partnered with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy to administer 250 Covid-19 vaccines on Tuesday at the Central Baptist Church gymnasium in Carthage.

“It is wonderful what Panola College has been able to set up here,” said Olen English, the pharmacist at Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Carthage, who was present on Tuesday to oversee the clinic. “As a result, vaccines will be able to be administered at a much quicker speed.”

Because English was the only pharmacist able to administer the vaccines, the process was moving slower than desired. “Over a three-week period, I was able to administer just 250 Covid-19 vaccines,” continued English. “With the help of Panola College, we were able to administer 250 vaccines in just a few hours.”

The clinic was a team effort. Students from four different health science programs were present in order to see the process through: Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) level two, Health Information Technology (HIT), Medical Assisting (MA) and Paramedic students.

“We have our ADN level two students administering the actual vaccines,” said Kelly Reed-Hirsch, the Dean of Health Sciences at Panola College, describing the role each program played in the vaccination process. “Our HIT students are assisting each patient with completing their intake form as well as doing data entry into the state database while our MA students are taking temperatures and completing basic health screenings. We also have our Paramedic students, who are certified EMTs, observing patients after they receive their vaccination.”

“Our goal is to get people in and get them vaccinated,” said Joseph Wise. Wise, who is an ADN student, was one of the students administering the shots. “We know that vaccinating just 250 people is only a small dent in our community, but it will make a difference.”

The vaccines were administered to healthcare workers, people 65 years of age and older and those with chronic medical conditions who reserved a spot on a waiting list compiled by the Regional Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy. The recipients were each assigned a specific appointment time and will return in four weeks for their second dose.

“Partnering with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy presents our health science students with an incredible opportunity,” said Reed-Hirsch. “They will receive clinical hours for assisting in the process, so this benefits them – as well as everyone in the community – and further prepares our students for their careers in healthcare.”

“As part of the nursing community, we want to do our part in ending this pandemic,” said Annissa Jackson, the Chair of the Associate Degree Nursing program at Panola College. “Our fellow healthcare providers continue to serve on the front lines and have done a phenomenal job of caring for our community in difficult times. Our nursing students can now fulfill this important role by giving these immunizations to our community in a timely manner. That is a great feeling knowing we can participate in community nursing.”