Alumni Roll Up Their Sleeves to Aid UCI’s COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

Pam Lincoln

UCI alumni embody the Anteater spirit, answering the call to service by dedicating their weeknights and weekends to aid UCI’s COVID-19 vaccination effort at the UCI Bren Events Center.

As UCI Health prepared to inoculate eligible patients with a COVID-19 vaccine in January of this year, students, faculty, and administrators at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals Sciences raced to assemble vials of vaccine doses to administer.

The student volunteer turnout was overwhelming, with many raising their hands to contribute their time and effort towards the vaccination campaign. The outpouring of student support quickly exceeded the number of faculty available to supervise, however, and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals Sciences identified a need for more licensed pharmacist volunteers to oversee student COVID-19 vaccine preparation.

The School knew precisely where to find the qualified personnel required – its very own Anteaters in Pharmacy alumni network. An email was quickly sent to alumni. The ask: volunteers to supervise vaccine preparations performed by pharmacy students, technicians, and nursing staff at UCI’s Vaccine Clinic during the weeknights and weekends. The alumni response exceeded the call, with more than twice the number of people needed showing up at the UCI Bren Events Center to support the Vaccine Clinic.

“It was the obvious choice for us to reach out to UCI alumni,” said Erin D. Knox, PharmD, BCPP, Director of Experiential Pharmacy Education at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “We knew that whoever volunteered from this group would not only be appropriately certified but have received the highest caliber foundational education for their Pharm.D. training.”

“We were thrilled with the response from alumni, and it was gratifying to know that they continued to feel a strong connection with UCI to return and dedicate their nights and weekends to this much-needed effort,” added Alex Chan, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Founding Chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice.

Alumni shared that they found the experience rewarding. “I wanted to volunteer for the vaccination site because I wanted to give back to the community that gave to me. I met incredible people, it was very organized, clean, and I was able to experience drawing up several doses of the Moderna vaccine,” shared Nikki Quang ’14.

“As a UCI alum, I was thrilled to be helping at the Bren Events Center, where I have so many fond memories. I was able to create new memories while serving my community and stopping the spread of COVID,” said Pam Lincoln ’06.

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