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Since mid-January, Albertsons, the parent company of Shaw’s and Star Market, among many others, has been deploying pharmacists in Massachusetts to help vaccinate the population. Staff and volunteers alike have been hosting clinics at Shaw’s Osco and Star Market pharmacies as well as bringing the vaccine to sites like convalescent homes. Crucial to these efforts has been MCPHS alum Christine Perry, BS ‘91, Manager of Recruiting and College Relations at Albertsons.

As more vaccines became available, more personnel—particularly pharmacists—were needed to help administer them. So Perry reached out to her alma mater’s provost, Caroline Zeind, PharmD, RPh, Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost, inquiring whether MCPHS students would be interested in assisting with Shaw’s/Star Markets significant vaccination efforts. The answer was a resounding yes.

As of March 1, 2021, 17 MCPHS students have been volunteering their weekends for Shaw’s/Star Market vaccine clinics. Perry says they do it all: intake, vaccine preparation, vaccine administration, observation, and aftercare. She’s been impressed by the level of interest and passion from the student volunteers and believes that they will all be able to wear a professional badge of pride: they were part of the solution in rising to the challenge to take care of patients during the pandemic.

She adds, “We’re really appreciative of the volunteers and excited that we were able to provide this opportunity to student pharmacists. It’s a great partnership. We have a massive challenge ahead of us to vaccinate the United States and we need a massive team to get it done”.

On February 15, 2021, a Shaw’s Osco pharmacy in Worcester, Massachusetts, held a clinic to vaccinate eligible members of the population. MCPHS student Henry Vu, PharmD ‘22, had received an email from Anna Morin, Dean, School of Pharmacy‑Worcester/Manchester, Chief Academic Officer ‑ Worcester/Manchester, and Professor of Pharmacy Practice, that the clinic was looking for volunteers to administer the vaccinations to people. As a qualified vaccination administrator, Henry signed up to help.

He and classmate Randy Tran, also PharmD ‘22, administered about 30 vaccine shots to patients that day. Many of the patients were seniors over the age of 65, and several came from the local Vietnamese community. Henry says he found the experience “gratifying and rewarding because I got to contribute my abilities to stopping COVID; I got to help families become one step closer to being reunited.” He adds, “The experience has confirmed my chosen career path and has motivated me to finish school and join the healthcare field to do what I love: to help others.”

Henry has signed up to administer more vaccines on March 25, 2021, and is looking forward to helping further.