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As healthcare workers around the world race to get the COVID-19 vaccine distributed, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has joined the effort by opening a vaccination clinic in the Southern Management Corporation (SMC) Campus Center.
The clinic is staffed by volunteers made up of UMB faculty and staff, UMB’s Office of Emergency Management, as well as student volunteers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), and University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP).
“We know that we need to get as many people vaccinated as possible in order to get to the other side of this pandemic,” said Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean, UMSON. “To have our students be able to play such an essential role in this process means a great deal. Especially because we’re also giving back to the community in the process, which is so important.”
The clinic is open to anyone 16 and older. Those wishing to make an appointment can visit http://www.getthevaccinebaltimore.org or call 410-706-3000 for assistance. Individuals under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
The central position of the SMC Campus Center provides a convenient location for members of the West Baltimore community and beyond to get vaccinated and an opportunity for students to gain clinical experience.
“To be able to vaccinate the population, we have to be able to accommodate the surrounding community,” said Veronica Quattrini, DNP, FNP-BC, senior director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at the nursing school. “It’s amazing when you see the amount of people that have been trained and are so willing to be part of this effort. It has been a really great experience to see how we all came together in this emergency situation.”
Several students actually decided to give up one of their clinical rotations so they could volunteer their time at the SMC Campus Center Vaccination Clinic. Students from UMSOP work behind the scenes to prepare each dose of the vaccine while medical and nursing students administer the vaccine directly to community members.
“We’re here to prevent the spread of COVID, and I think the vaccine is the number one resource for people to get to protect themselves,” said David Lee, nursing student and volunteer at the vaccination clinic.
As a person over the age of 65 and higher risk to COVID-19, Baltimore City resident Michelle Peakes signed up to get her shot as soon as she was able to get an appointment. “I believe it’s a death threat for anyone who doesn’t get it. I just don’t want to take any chances if I don’t have to” she said.
Adrian Anderson, who also received the Moderna vaccine at the SMC Campus Center clinic, lost an uncle to COVID-19 in April 2020 and her mother recently was diagnosed with COVID-19 and hospitalized. “I was initially very hesitant to get the vaccine, but as time went on, I began to realize that more people were getting sick and the numbers were not falling down,” she said.
“I went ahead and made a conscious decision to get the vaccine and stop the spread to protect others and my own family. COVID has been wreaking havoc on all of the world, so we all need to get this vaccine so we can protect the community as a whole.”
To register for a vaccine, visit www.GetTheVaccineBaltimore.org or call 410-706-3000 for assistance.