Nursing student Jenny Adams with a patient
WSU College of Nursing student Jenny Adams talks to a patient at a vaccination clinic hosted by Rotary Club 21 at Garfield Elementary School in October.

Students from the Washington State University colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy vaccinated more than 850 people in Spokane County this fall.

That outreach, in partnership with the Spokane Regional Health District, means more than 850 adults and children have increased protection against flu, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, hepatitis A and B, shingles, and other serious conditions.

The health district relies on WSU health sciences students in Spokane to do that work each fall, said Kari Lidbeck, the district’s Immunization Community Network Specialist.

“If we didn’t have that partnership with WSU, we wouldn’t have been able to provide those services to the community because we don’t have vaccinators at SRHD,” Lidbeck said. She hopes to add students from the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to the pool of volunteers in the future.

Vaccination clinics are held in elementary schools, homeless shelters, nursing homes, apartment buildings and even in the Spokane Public Library.

Rotary Club 21 of Spokane approached the Spokane Regional Health District about holding a vaccination clinic at Garfield Elementary, and the health district asked WSU students and faculty to staff the event. At the end of the after-school clinic this fall, students had administered 279 vaccines to 213 adults and children.

Two students with vaccines.
WSU College of Nursing students take part in a vaccination clinic at Farwell Elementary. Photo by Sarah Schaub. 

The club raises money every year for a community project, and health care is one of its priorities, said Rotary Club 21’s Meagan Garrett. Holding a clinic in a neighborhood school might be easier for some people to access, she said.

WSU health sciences students benefit by getting more practice in the clinical skill of administering injections, and in the equally important skill of relating to people, said Sarah Griffith, an instructor at the College of Nursing.

Plus, “WSU Spokane is a member of this community and has a stake in improving community health,” Griffith said.

Only clean water has a greater impact on public health globally than vaccination, according to the World Health Organization.

–Story by Addy Hatch