by Steve Martin, MD, City of Burleson PHA
Sarah Andrade, OMS-I
This article was originally published in the May/June issue of the Tarrant County Physician. You can read find the full magazine here.
Pictured from left to right: Assistant Fire Chief Casey Davis; Melson Mesmin, OMS-II; SarahAndrade, OMS-I; Alexander Nguyen, OMS-II; Salma Omar, OMS-I; Fire Chief K.T. Freeman; Steve Martin, MD Not pictured: Caleb Reagor, OMS-I and John Griswell, MD
To provide access to COVID-19 vaccines to citizens in our area, the City of Burleson’s Public Health Division established a Vaccination Clinic allowing large-scale vaccinations in a former High School basketball gymnasium called “The Pit” in the heart of Burleson.
Beginning with 100 doses per week of the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine in January of 2021, the clinic has since grown substantially. As of late April 2021, as many as 6,000 doses per week were being provided. This is due to a group effort put forth by the Burleson Fire Department chiefs and firefighters, the City of Burleson manager, mayor, and city council, the Burleson Police Department, Burleson librarians, Burleson Citizens on Patrol, Burleson ISD, THR Huguley nurses, and the City of Burleson Public Health Division. The clinic has vaccinated over 35,000 people since opening, recently averaging 2,000 inoculations per day when the vaccine is available.
Several of the area nursing and medical teaching institutions have expressed a desire to have their students gain the experience of COVID-19 inoculations and community volunteerism. With this in mind, they have begun sending their interested students to the Clinic to participate.
Medical students from the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) in Fort Worth, nursing students from the AdventHealth Nursing School in Keene, and EMT students from Tarrant County College have spent time learning to administer COVID-19 vaccines. They are overseen by active and retired RNs and physicians.
The social interaction with a multitude of extremely grateful vaccine recipients has been a truly rewarding opportunity. Below are specific personal experiences and statements made by volunteers:
“I will never forget the 45-year-old woman who sat in front of me to be vaccinated as she broke down in tears, crying uncontrollably, clutching a picture of her recently deceased husband, a COVID-19 victim.”
-Donna Martin, RN
“I loved volunteering at the clinic because I get to share in the excitement and gratitude of the community members who are so excited to finally be getting immunized.”
-Caleb Reagor, OMS-I
“Through the Burleson Vaccination Clinic, I administered vaccines to individuals from all walks of life who were impacted by COVID-19 in various ways. While many individuals were eager to help end the pandemic with their vaccination, there were individuals who were uneasy about the vaccine due to the side effects seen in social media and heard through word of mouth. After listening to the reasons for their reluctance, I kindly worked to defuse their anxiety and clarify their questions. Through these discussions, they were much more on board to get vaccinated. These interactions served as a reminder for why I chose to pursue Medicine, and I hope to continue guiding patients towards better health outcomes and improved quality of life as a physician.”
-Kendrick Lim, OMS-II
“Volunteering at the City of Burleson Vaccination Clinic has been a very rewarding experience because I was able to serve the community and help distribute the vaccine that protects from a very deadly illness. As a future healthcare professional, preventative measures are an important aspect of public health and I am proud to be a part of this program as it continues to grow!”
-Melson Mesmin, OMS-II
The students have approached this effort with great enthusiasm and interest and have been a big help in vaccinating a large number of persons efficiently. We are so very appreciative of their willingness to join us on this adventure. We hope that there will be many more opportunities in the months to come for our area students to participate at the Burleson COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic and assist in our community’s effort to slow down the pandemic and instill hope.
Medical student Kendrick Lim vaccinating a patient.
Medical Student Ashley Broderick vaccinates apatient as Burleson Fire Chief K.T. Freeman looks on.
Medical students from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (Salma Omar, OMS-I; Melson Mesmin, OMS-II; and Alexander Nguyen, OMS-II) help administer COVID-19 vaccines to the public.
Medical student Maria Nguyen vaccinating a patient.