EDITORIAL: Thanking vaccine clinic volunteers

Paige Hendrie, a student in the physician's assistant program at CMU, checks the vaccination checklist for a patient, on February 18, 2021, in Finch Fieldhouse.

In a March 16 email to campus, university officials announced all CMU employees, are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of age or medical conditions. The news spread quickly. In a matter of hours, appointments were filled up for the following weeks.

The speedy response from the community proved its desire for a COVID-free campus. But since the first on-campus vaccine distribution last month, clinic volunteers have faced the daunting task of mitigating the spread.

These volunteers play critical roles in improving the public health of our community. These students, faculty, staff and community members are one of the reasons vaccine distribution will thrive at CMU. 

Those who have received their vaccines will remember a greeter at the door of Finch Fieldhouse. They made sure vaccines were only given to those who had appointments. Then there were the screeners, who protected everyone else at the clinic by asking health questions and flagging down individuals who showed symptoms of the virus. After receiving a vaccine, people sat in a waiting area, as more volunteers scheduled their next shot and monitored for allergic reactions.

These are just a few of the roles volunteers took on as dozens lined up to get their shot. Associate Vice President Financial Services and Reporting and Controller Mary Hill said the people who filled these roles follow CDC health and safety guidelines to the letter.  

"These clinics couldn’t be accomplished without the additional volunteer resources," Hill said. "Almost 200 volunteers have been helping the health department and CMU Health to support these clinics."

Moving forward, it will be important to remember and appreciate all the people who play a part in deterring the spread of COVID-19. To those who show up and volunteer at the vaccine clinics, thank you. You are the reason an end to the pandemic is on the horizon.

Volunteer opportunities are available online via Engage Central. Students need only sign up for an upcoming distribution to volunteer.