Webster faculty helps vaccinate St. Louis community
Nursing professor Mary Ann Drake looked at her patient after being vaccinated against COVID-19. The patient had tears in her eyes; She was a recovering cancer survivor who had not seen her family. Drake made it possible for the patient to be reunited with them.
An elderly man entered Carpenters Hall on March 6th. He sat down with Webster Nursing Professor Jody Spiess. That moment was the first human contact in over a year.
Spiess gave this man his first dose of the Moderna vaccine.
“The tears in his eyes, you knew that he really hadn’t sat with anyone for that long,” said Spiess.
Webster University Nursing Faculty members volunteered to assist the St. Louis City Department of Health with vaccine delivery.
Nursing professor Mary Ann Drake also had an emotional experience with a patient who started crying after receiving the vaccine.
“She said she was recovering from cancer and couldn’t see her family,” said Drake. “Now she could. She was so grateful. “
On March 6, St. Louisans were given around 1,000 vaccines.
Dr. Fredrick Echols, director of the city’s Department of Health, reached out to Spiess for assistance from Webster University with vaccinations. Spiess then recruited members of the Webster School of Nursing to help with the cause.
Spiess hopes that the number of people vaccinated will steadily increase.
“The longer the virus is out there and spreads, the more likely it is that it will turn into a new variant,” said Spiess. “The faster people are vaccinated, the sooner the pandemic will end.”
Through partnerships between the health departments and local universities, the Webster faculty began vaccinating people. Both Spiess and Drake appreciate how the partnerships have made this process more efficient.
“We help each other,” said Drake. “When you are known to community members, they trust you and your work and want you to be included.”
Spiess believed that the city’s health department carried out the vaccination process without a hitch. The vaccination shots themselves were mapped out and the patients had already filled out papers. According to Spiess, this was of great help to the volunteers who released them.
After the management calls the patients, they go in and give their records to the nurses, who work in pairs. A nurse fills out the patient’s vaccination card with her information and the date of the next COVID-19 shot. The other nurse gives them the shot.
The nurses make sure the patient doesn’t have any significant risk factors before giving them the shot. This may be because you are taking blood thinners or have had a previous reaction to a vaccine.
Webster Nursing School will be back this Saturday – they’ll be vaccinating at the America’s Center downtown. Spiess said her nursing students will soon be included in the St. Louis County Health Department’s vaccination efforts.
Saint Louis University and Washington University both had nursing schools and students in Carpenters Hall. Spiess said this was another reason she brought the nursing faculty together to volunteer.
“If you don’t just because it’s the right thing, I think it’s important to Webster,” said Spiess. “We can show them that we also have maintenance programs and that this is important to us.”
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I am a journalist specializing in photography and anthropology. I love art, music, reading and spending time outdoors. My goal is to get into the field of environmental communication.