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New Hampshire National Guard

As part of the state’s vaccination plan, the New Hampshire National Guard formed a partnership with MCPHS whereby the school would provide personnel to help the state prepare and deploy vaccines. The agreement allows MCPHS faculty to take students with them to vaccination sites in different locations around the state, including Concord, Hooksett, Londonderry, Nashua, and Plymouth. All seven pharmacy faculty members based on the MCPHS Manchester campus, as well as Coordinator of Experiential Education Nicole Carace, PharmD, MHA, R.Ph, have joined the effort; that means about 20 MCPHS students have had the opportunity to work with the National Guard and serve their communities. Students and their faculty members work at the vaccination sites once or twice a week, and MCPHS has some students at one or another of the sites on pretty much any given day of the work week.

Dr. Carace says that, in addition to the importance of the work itself, the partnership has been great for MCPHS students. “I think the students have really appreciated the experience, working with the National Guard and their medical COs [or commanding officers] who have been in command during the vaccination efforts,” she says. Of the National Guard, she adds, “They appreciate what we’re doing, too. They’re a great group to work with. Everyone’s been so friendly.”

One of the faculty members involved is Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Amanda Morrill, PharmD, BCPS. She has been working with the National Guard in Nashua since January, and her students started working with her on site in March. The Nashua vaccination site was originally at Nashua South High School, but it has since moved to an indoor location at an old Sears store. The whole team at that site alone administers about 1,400 per day, says Dr. Morrill. They are giving first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. She says her students not only prepare and administer the doses, but they "have gotten to work with different healthcare providers as well,” like nurses and EMTs. The interprofessional experience for them has been invaluable.

Both Dr. Carace and Dr. Morrill add that the New Hampshire National Guard has done an admirable job of getting their population vaccinated. New Hampshire leads the nation in administering the highest percentage of COVID-19 vaccines they have received, according to the CDC. And the state has been so efficient in its work that it recently opened up appointments to patients from out of state, meaning the MCPHS team will have plenty of more work to keep them busy.