WCU PharmD Students Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine to Healthcare Workers in Los Angeles

West Coast University pharmacy students recently welcomed the chance to help end the pandemic by distributing COVID-19 vaccinations to healthcare workers in Los Angeles this January.

Working with local firefighters, health clinic staff and pharmacy students from other schools, the WCU group gave more than 700 of the 1,300 immunizations dispensed at the event, which was part of a statewide effort to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.

Led by PharmD professor Justin Tenney, the WCU students handled a variety of duties at the Lincoln Park Recreation Center during the weekend clinic, including organizing and educating patients, preparing the vaccine and administering doses.

“A lot of them do vaccinations at work all the time, so it’s not a unique experience ‘giving the jab,’ but it is really rewarding for them to give back to the community,” Tenney said. “They get to say I was part of the COVID-19 relief response and helped out during the emergency. It makes them proud of what they do and to be a part of West Coast University.”

WCU PharmD student Sarkis Jambazian said he and his classmates were “absolutely thrilled” to be volunteering at the recreation center in Lincoln Heights, alongside fellow pharmacy students from the University of Southern California and Chapman University.

“This will be a very memorable day for me today — and for everyone here,” Jambazian said. “It’s amazing to be a part of history, to be honest, and I can’t wait to continue to help vaccinate the community and do my part.”

Each student administered approximately 125 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers during their eight-hour shift.

“If feels great to be part of a historic moment. I’m on the front lines and I feel blessed to have this opportunity,” WCU PharmD student Karisma Smith said. “All of the patients are excited to receive the vaccine but the best part is seeing people’s reaction to learning it wasn’t that bad.”

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