Friday, November 26, 2021

Bishop McDevitt Teams with UPMC to Offer Students In-School Vaccine Clinic

The successful shots taken on the court at Bishop McDevitt High School on May 13 weren’t the basketball kind, but they were certainly critical toward defeating a hard-hitting opponent.

Bishop McDevitt teamed up with UPMC for a student-only vaccine clinic, offering the COVID-19 vaccine to all students.

Nearly 90 students in grades 9-12 took part, rolling up their sleeves for the Pfizer vaccine. For the majority of them, it was their first dose of the two-shot inoculation; several used the opportunity to receive their second dose.

Vince Harper, school principal, said the effort was a way to help distribute the vaccine to as many students who wanted to receive it – with parental consent – in a convenient way during the school day. An additional clinic for students to receive their second dose is scheduled for the last day of school.

The clinic was offered through UPMC, staffed by nurses, a pharmacy team, UPMC staff and alumni volunteers. Several students also served at the clinic, directing classmates to intake personnel and nurses at various stations, and to waiting areas after receiving the vaccine.

Jazelle rolls up her sleeve for a COVID-19 vaccine at Bishop McDevitt High School on May 13.
Jazelle rolls up her sleeve for a COVID-19 vaccine at Bishop McDevitt High School on May 13.

“UPMC has been doing these vaccination clinics for the community at all of our locations, and as those started to wind down we decided to start doing some on-site clinics,” said Maureen Zimmerman, Director of Corporate Wellness for UPMC Pinnacle Support Services. “Our goal here today is to accommodate students to receive the vaccine. We’ve offered so many clinics throughout the community, and by being here we’re closing in on another means of making it convenient for people to be vaccinated.”

Zimmerman is a parent of a senior at Bishop McDevitt, and is a member of St. Catherine Labouré Parish in Harrisburg. She reached out to Harper to offer the clinic for students.

Danny receives his inoculation during the student-only clinic.
Danny receives his inoculation during the student-only clinic.

“Principal Harper has been instrumental in making this clinic a success,” Zimmerman said.

Initially, the clinic was made accessible to students ages 16 and older. Three days before the clinic, though, the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for use in people ages 12-15, and UPMC decided to expand the offering to the entire student body.

“When we received news of the authorization, we were able to pivot and accommodate students in all grades, 9-12,” Zimmerman said. “We made a decision that the more people we could get vaccinated, the better, so we opened the clinic up to all students and the interest skyrocketed.”

“We are happy to have nearly 90 students getting their vaccines today. We’re planning on setting up something like this in the summer, where we can offer the vaccine to families of students, and younger students who are in McDevitt’s feeder system,” Zimmerman added.

“Principal Harper has been instrumental in making this clinic a success,” Zimmerman said.

Initially, the clinic was made accessible to students ages 16 and older. Three days before the clinic, though, the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for use in people ages 12-15, and UPMC decided to expand the offering to the entire student body.

“I think it’s wonderful that the school is able to offer the clinic, especially for students to take time out of their school day instead of having to look for a place to get the shot,” said senior Ava Smith. “It can be hard with schedules, since students have extra-curricular activities and jobs. It’s easier to have both shots set up at the school when students are already here. I think it’s great that we’re working in solidarity on addressing this virus and getting back to normal.”

Smith, who is planning to apply to medical school in the future, served as a volunteer at the clinic. She greeted students upon their arrival, ensured they had their consent form, and helped guide them to registration tables.

Ava, a student volunteer, greets her peers as they arrive for the clinic.
Ava, a student volunteer, greets her peers as they arrive for the clinic.

At the opposite end of the gym, fellow senior Nick Krall directed vaccinated students to sit on the bleachers for their 15-minute observation period to monitor for potential allergic reactions.

Krall said he volunteered at the clinic because his father is a local pediatrician who helped distribute vaccines through UPMC to teachers at St. Catherine Labouré, St. Margaret Mary and Bishop McDevitt.

“I think it’s great that McDevitt is being able to offer the vaccine to students,” Krall said. “It shows Mr. Harper’s and [President David] Gardiner’s initiative and leadership throughout the pandemic in working to help keep us safe.”

“If you’re old enough, I encourage you to get the vaccine,” Krall added. “Stay vigilant.”

(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness, published with parental consent.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

- Advertisement -spot_img

Submission Deadline

The deadline for submissions to the biweekly Notebook/Parish Obituaries listing is every other Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Please refer to the Publication Schedule for edition dates and deadlines.

Other News