Photo by Jeff Miller
This morning University Health Services gave the very first shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to eligible employees and students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The vaccine is one of two in the U.S. currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for use during the pandemic.
“We know it could be many more months before we can vaccinate all of our students and employees, but we are so glad to get this started today,” says Patrick Kelly, a physician and interim director of medical services at UHS. “I hope this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic.”
Based on federal and state guidance, eligible individuals at UW–Madison include employees and students working directly with COVID-19 patients and those who are working directly with the virus and with virus samples.
UW–Madison will continue to provide vaccine as it is available and as federal and state decision-makers determine criteria for additional phases of vaccination.
The arrival of vaccine provides a lot of hope for students and employees that campus will ultimately return to normal, says Jake Baggott, executive director of UHS and associate vice chancellor for student affairs/health and wellbeing.
Among those first vaccinated as part of the university’s vaccine distribution plan is Allison Chang, an accelerated BSN student in the School of Nursing.
“I’m definitely relieved to get the vaccine. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Although it doesn’t fix everything right away – people should still take precautions – it’s great to see this step forward.” —Allison Chang, School of Nursing, ABSN, Class of 2021
Allison Chang, student in the School of Nursing
During her clinical rotations at the hospital, Chang has become keenly aware of how restrictions on visitors have impacted patients. “As a nursing student, I’ve noticed that patients just want company. A large part of my experience so far has been spending time with patients and keeping them company.”
Hospitals, she says, are balancing teaching with clinical care and student nurses are getting their hands-on experience in smaller, more limited groups and at fewer locations. Her own curriculum has been modified due to the pandemic.
“We are still getting the hands-on experience of setting up IVs and NG (nasogastric) tubes,” she says, but some specialty areas such as labor and delivery, which she hopes to focus on, are limiting the number of people present in those settings.
Chang will graduate from the Accelerated Bachelor of Science of Nursing Program in May and is grateful she was vaccinated prior to starting her final rotation in an ICU unit with mostly COVID-19 patients: “I’m definitely relieved to get the vaccine. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Although it doesn’t fix everything right away – people should still take precautions – it’s great to see this step forward.”