Mass. Medical Students Training to Administer COVID-19 Vaccine

Hundreds of students from UMass Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts, are working to help in the daunting task of vaccinating the U.S. against coronavirus

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Experts say it will take an "army of vaccinators" to protect millions of Americans from COVID-19.

Proudly helping to wage that war on coronavirus are about 400 students from UMass Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts.

"There are so many people that need to be vaccinated in a very short period of time," said graduate nursing student Jacqueline Mbugua.

That's why Mbugua was so excited to be part of the UMass pilot program where nursing students are training medical students like Christopher Lee to administer vaccines.

"The reason we all came into this was to make people healthy," said Lee. "There's never been more of a need to play a role in this."

Lee was integral in getting his fellow med students to volunteer to become vaccinators, who can go out into the community as a sort of mobile vaccine clinic.

"The most important thing is to proactively work so that we can reach the populations that are vulnerable," said Lee.

"Many people don't leave their house, homeless people are not going to get in a car and drive to a stadium, so we're going to need a second way in which folks can come together to be sure that most Americans get vaccinated," said UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael Collins.

Collins believes the pilot program here could be a model for a national vaccine corps that will include much more than just a shot in the arm.

"We have to register people, they have to come, they have to be sure that when they get the vaccine, they're going to get the appropriate vaccine," said Collins.

"Since this pandemic broke, you just can't help but feel helpless," said Mbugua. "And to be a part of helping our community fight the pandemic, it's extremely rewarding and exciting."

Collins says the pilot program is working well in both Worcester and Amherst, and he says all UMass campuses have shown interest in participating.

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