Over the past month, more than 200 Queen’s University medical students volunteered to help get vaccine doses out of the fridge, and into the arms of people living in the KFL&A region.
Tony Li, a second-year medical school student, is one of them.
“A lot of the medical students — especially the first two years — are doing a lot of virtual learning right now, and so this is a really unique opportunity to just get practical, in-person experience,” says Li.
Dr. Samantha Buttemer, the medical advisor for public health to the faculty of health sciences at the university and a medical student herself, says that Kingston Health Sciences Centre was alerted that they would be getting a large amount of vaccines that needed to be distributed quickly.
“There was issues in terms of figuring out staffing to staff the vaccination clinics,” says Dr. Buttemer.
The idea to get medical students involved shortly followed.
Tony Li was a key player in rallying others.
“It was really exciting to see how many medical students get involved, and how excited they were. There were over a couple hundred students, which is more than half of the medical students at Queen’s getting involved,” says Li.
One can imagine how busy of a schedule medical students have, and Dr. Buttemer also makes a note of this.
“That’s them using their own personal time outside of study hours to fulfill this community need, which is absolutely incredible,” says Dr. Buttemer.
“There’s around two shifts a day and there’s six medical students per shift. I believe around 140 vaccines per shift, and so that’s maybe a couple hundred to a few hundred vaccines a day.”
Dr. Buttemer says that community members being so willing and ready to get vaccinated is another major part of why the vaccine roll-out is going so well in the region.
She says that moving forward, Kingston Health Sciences Centre is hoping that even more vaccines enter KFL&A, and medical students along with other volunteers within the region keep helping with distribution.