Ashtabula Campus Serves as Community COVID-19 Vaccination Center Site
Kent State University at Ashtabula was set up to take patients in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring when authorities and experts were unsure of how the spread would impact area hospitals. The space wasn’t needed then, but the campus helped in other ways by donating personal protective equipment to frontline health care professionals.
Now as vaccinations become more readily available, the campus has stepped up in partnership with the Ashtabula City Health Department to serve as a distribution center for the vaccine. Hosting a total of 16 clinics through February and early-March in the Main Hall Gymnasium, over 500 preregistered individuals in Phase 1A and 1B of distribution – mostly elderly citizens and frontline health care workers – were able to receive both doses of the vaccine.
“I am so pleased we were able to offer space on our campus for the Ashtabula City Health Department to hold the COVID-19 vaccination clinics,” said Dean and Chief Administrative Officer Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D. “I look forward to the day when the vaccine is more readily available so we can get more individuals protected.”
Planning to turn the gymnasium space into a “pop-up” clinic site began in January and preparations moved quickly prior to the initial clinic on Feb. 2.
“In Public Health, preparedness planning is one aspect of our job and we have for many years partnered with Kent State Ashtabula in that emergency preparedness planning. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, our partnerships and relationships we had forged over the years took center stage,” said Christine Hill, Health Commissioner for the Ashtabula City Health Department. “The vaccination center at Kent State Ashtabula offered a safe and accessible venue for the targeted populations that were to receive the vaccine (i.e. Phase 1A and Phase 1B). The Ashtabula City Health Department is grateful for the additional support offered by Kent State Ashtabula such as an onsite campus security resource officer and student and staff help and support.”
Students, faculty and staff, from both inside the nursing and allied health programs and out, helped support the clinics in several different ways.
Nursing students Grace Yang, Brittany Gatarello and Brian Hutson assisted the Ashtabula City Health Department at the COVID-19 vaccination clinics. The three students are part of the Alpha Delta Nu Honor Society and assisted vaccination recipients in completing required vaccination forms and clinic set up and take down.
Faculty member Collette Drugovich, MSN, RN aided clinics in all three capacities: set up, cleaning, and vaccinating. Nursing program administrative clerk Temple Kincaid performed set up and cleaning duties while providing clerical work. Administrative Assistant to Dean Stocker Rebecca Harvey helped with patient flow and Campus Resource Officer Pat DiAngelo was on site to provide emergency response if needed.
The communications and marketing department provided directional signage at various points of entry to parking and into Main Hall for individuals coming to campus for their vaccinations.
“Teamwork is crucial to accomplish the task of vaccinating the community of Ashtabula and surrounding areas,” said Julie Senita, Ph.D., Senior Program Director for Nursing and Allied Health. “Kent State Ashtabula staff and students are willing to support the efforts.”
The campus is likely to continue to serve as a vaccination center site as more vaccine doses become available and more individuals become eligible.