SUNY Cobleskill paramedic students put skills to work vaccinating peers

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COBLESKILL, N.Y. (NEWS10) — SUNY Cobleskill held a vaccine clinic Wednesday that will not only protect its community from COVID-19, but also give its students hands-on career experience.

Laura Martin, a student in the SUNY Cobleskill Paramedic Program, is typically in the lab working on her skills. “They really try to make it as realistic as possible,” she told NEWS10, “to give us those tough scenarios and make those critical decisions that we will have to make one day out in the field.”

Wednesday, she put her skills to work in a theatre on campus, doubling as a vaccine clinic. Alongside her classmates in the program, Martin administered the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine to the SUNY Cobleskill community.

“That students are doing this with the fellow students, exemplifies a place-based service learning,” said SUNY Cobleskill President Marion Tenenzio.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras visited the vaccine site, and pointed out the high levels of involvement from the SUNY community to help curb the spread of COVID-19. “They’re volunteering their time a vaccine clinics, they’re volunteering their time at testing sites, they’re volunteering to help with masking and public awareness campaigns,” he said, “it’s just kind of a larger sense of what it means to be a SUNY community.”

Malatras is glad to see the pause was lifted on the J&J shot because of its convenience for college students. “Now that we’re at the tail end of our semester, it’s awfully hard to schedule a first shot, and then a second shot three or four weeks later when they’re going home,” he told NEWS10.

If a student would prefer a different type of vaccine, or can’t make it to a J&J clinic, Malatras said new guidance from the white house will make it even easier to finish out a two-shot series.

“The federal government is now allowing people to get the shot in one place, and go to any other pharmacies in their hometown [for the second dose],” Malatras explained, “so now we are introducing that to our students, too. If they can’t get the J&J shot, they can get the Moderna or Pfizer, get that first shot. If they have to get home, they get their second shot at their local pharmacy.”

About 70 appointments were made for the Wednesday clinic at SUNY Cobleskill, but they are also accepting walk-ins for the surrounding community. The clinic runs until 6 p.m.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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