Professional Poster

The West Virginia Vaccine Administration, Collaboration, and Support Team: A Statewide Collaboration to Respond to the Pandemic

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The West Virginia Vaccine Administration, Collaboration, and Support (WV VACS) Team is a partnership between the WV National Guard (WVNG), the WV Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR), and the WV Higher Education Policy Commission (WV HEPC) trains and deploys interprofessional teams of health sciences students to help with the COVID-19 vaccination efforts statewide. Students work with local health departments, hospitals, and community health partners. A grant was secured through the HEPC to fund this effort.

A coordinator was hired to oversee the VACS program, and all colleges, universities and trade schools within the state of West Virginia with healthcare programs were invited to participate. Points of contact (POC) from participating schools met to gauge interest in the program. Students were then surveyed to determine where they would be willing to vaccinate, program type, availability, and graduation year.
Students were classified into two groups, those trained in immunization administration through their college/ university (vaccinators) and non-immunizers (support staff) and then placed in their corresponding group on Blackboard. All student volunteers were required to complete an online training based on CDC guidelines on COVID-19 vaccinations.
Students were surveyed following their participation to determine their views on participating as part of an interprofessional team in the community. Clinic POCs were sent a monthly survey to assess the student volunteers.

One thousand health sciences students across WV volunteered to be part of the WV VACS program and were trained using Blackboard in combination with WV REDI and Everbridge. Student participants were from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, public health, dentistry, dental hygiene, exercise physiology, athletic training, music therapy, speech-language pathology and audiology, and health informatics and information management.
As of May 2021, 43 vaccinators and 156 support staff were sent to 69 clinics and volunteered over 900 hours. This includes students from five different colleges/universities in nine different healthcare disciplines. Student survey data has shown a positive impact on the four core competencies of interprofessional education and clinic POCs have rated the experience overwhelmingly positive.

The WV VACS initiative has been successful at recruiting, training, and deploying interprofessional teams of student volunteers from across WV to assist with vaccination efforts.

As points of contact have now been identified at all healthcare programs and community clinics across WV, there will be new opportunities for campus- community partnerships to help with statewide healthcare initiatives.