Wayne State University has begun issuing COVID-19 vaccines to medical students and faculty who work on the frontlines. The plan is to inoculate 120 people per day with Moderna and Pfizer vaccines which are being supplied by the Detroit Health Department.
“Right now we have people who have been categorized as essential. Those are individuals who are actually touching patients in the hospital,” says Dr. Toni Grant, the Chief Nursing Officer at the Wayne State University Campus Health Center, where the vaccinations are taking place.
Grant says these essential workers were emailed a survey to see if they were interested in receiving the vaccination. Those who said they wanted the shot and are eligible for it are being emailed specific instructions on how to schedule an appointment. These emails are coming out in batches, so some may not be able to make their appointment for a couple of weeks.
Bill Fulson is a clinical nursing instructor with Wayne State who came into the Health Center to get the vaccine. He says he doesn’t feel any anxiety about receiving it.
“I have no reason to feel not confident,” says Fulson. “I’ve been nursing for 40-something years. So you know when to do things and when not to do things. And this is a must-do for a medical professional.”
Fulson says, in addition to the possibility of exposure at his job, he’s opting to get the vaccine because he’s considered high-risk due to his age and race.
Medical Student Vanessa Chu was among the first Wayne State students to receive the vaccine. She says she doesn’t like getting shots, but it wasn’t bad at all.
“I didn’t feel a thing. It actually hurt less than my flu shot did. So, I’m no longer nervous. I think I feel really relieved,” says Chu.
Dr. Grant says the vaccinations are a great opportunity for the Wayne State community.
“We’re in the midst of a pandemic but this is also something that none of us have ever gone through before,” she says. “And to actually see what research and science can do in order to get us through to this particular point, it’s exciting because it’s students, faculty and staff together and able to experience it firsthand.”
Everyone getting vaccinated will receive an appointment to get their second shot in 28 days. The plan is to issue first and second doses to healthcare faculty and students in January and February before moving on to other frontline workers, seniors and people considered high risk.
Wayne State is hosting a virtual town hall to discuss the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine from 3-4 p.m. on January 14th. This event will stream at wayne.edu/live and a recording will be available afterward for those unable to attend. Read more about the vaccine and the university’s distribution plan.