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Hartnell nursing students administer first round of COVID-19 vaccines to first responders

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SALINAS, Calif. (KION)

Dozens of firefighters and other first responders came out to Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas, Saturday, to receive their first round of the Pfizer vaccine.

Nursing students at Hartnell College volunteered to administer the vaccine, which they say was a good opportunity to make a difference during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Those receiving the vaccine said getting it would give them peace of mind at work and around their families.

Doctor Lawrence Wallace is a dentist and says he wanted to get the vaccine to protect himself and his patients as he works directly with elderly veterans and elderly homeless individuals in need of dentures and dental care.

“I’m in a vulnerable age group and the vaccination will definitely give me the peace of mind," says Wallace.

Many who came out say getting the vaccine would allow them to carry on their jobs without the risk of contracting or passing on the virus to anyone they come into contact with.

“We’re going and having contacts with people who are actively infected everyday so although we are wearing our PPE and staying safe in our practices, you can’t ever be a hundred percent on anything," says Captain Mashaad Kiburi with Salinas Fire Department Station 6.

Hartnell Nursing Instructor Deborah Thorpe says around 100 Pfizer vaccines were expected to be administered inside a medical tent outside Clinica de Salud del Valle, which was just one of four locations where Hartnell nursing students administered the vaccines.

One of those students is Jericca Dexter who says she felt compelled to lend a hand to other health care workers as the pandemic continues.

“It feels good, it really gives you that tingly feeling inside that you’re helping the community and you’re doing what you’re going to school to do and doing what you really want to do in life," says Dexter.

Thorpe says when the county approached them to take part in administering vaccines, the response from student nurses was overwhelming.

“That tells you how they felt about it, some of them started their first semester at the start of the pandemic so these students are going to come out with a whole different perspective," says Thorpe.

The work did not come without some training, however, as nursing students received lessons straight from the CDC on how to administer and handle the vaccine.

Fire Captain Kiburi says a big concern was making sure that those who deal with peolple in need of medical attention directly would be protected.

“We have potential to get way worse, I’ve seen it first hand, it’s highly contagious so we need to as a community come together and do the things that will make it a positive to get this under control," says Kiburi.

The student nurses also volunteered and administered vaccines in Castroville, Greenfield and King City.

Those who received their vaccine are expected to get their second round of the vaccine January 30th.

Central Coast / Coronavirus / Health / Monterey County / Top Stories

Jocelyn Ortega

Jocelyn Ortega is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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