When as many as 6,000 doses a day of COVID-19 vaccine are being administered at a mass vaccination site, it takes an army of people to get the job done. Among those assisting in the ongoing vaccination efforts at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center – said to be the largest vaccination site in Ohio – are NEOMED students and faculty from the College of Pharmacy.
The primary focus of the work by the many NEOMED student volunteers is preparing and dispensing individual vaccine doses. The students reconstitute the vaccine and then draw it up into individual syringes to be administered.
The NEOMED faculty volunteers – Seth Brownlee, Pharm.D., associate professor of pharmacy practice; Patrick Gallegos, Pharm.D., associate professor of pharmacy practice; and Rick Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy – have been working with the pharmacy management team to coordinate and oversee the preparation and dispensing process. Their role is to manage the vaccine syringe production process and to check the product quality and accuracy prior to dispensing.
The NEOMED students and faculty constitute one part of a huge effort: “They are working alongside pharmacy technicians, nurses, emergency management technicians and other allied health professionals,” explains Dr. Brownlee. At any given time, there are more than 20 individuals preparing vaccine and dispensing up to 900 doses per hour, says Dr. Brownlee.
The pharmacy operations are managed by the Cleveland Clinic Pharmacy team in cooperation with University Hospitals and MetroHealth. The site is scheduled to operate for eight weeks, and NEOMED faculty and students are expected to continue volunteering for the duration.