Volunteers assist at clinics throughout county
Del Mar College’s Emergency Medical Technician program has played a key role in helping Nueces County residents get vaccinated.
Students in the program began assisting the Corpus Christi Fire Department in January with mass administrations of the vaccine.
Since then, EMT students have assisted wherever they are needed. They have helped deliver vaccines to homebound seniors and assisted with vaccine clinics at Driscoll Children’s hospital.
“At one point there were students vaccinating every day,” said Cooper Woodard, an EMT student and Corpus Christi Fire Department cadet. “The pace has slowed down to a couple of times a week as more and more of the population becomes vaccinated.
Students have to undergo training in intramuscular injections of part of the paramedic training regimen. The COVID-19 vaccine is administered the same way, so no additional instruction was required before students helped administer the vaccine in the community.
The EMT students all wore personal protective equipment including examination gloves, N95 masks and protective eyewear.
As part of the paramedic program, students are required to have at least 16 hours of community service.
According to Woodward, even without the community service requirement students would still be volunteering.
“I know a lot of us have volunteered beyond the 16 hours required in order to assist wherever possible,” Woodward said. “Whenever the call comes out that people are needed to administer the vaccines there’s never a shortage of volunteers.”
Students have helped at the vaccine clinics by directly administering the vaccine, collecting patient history and demographics, and documenting the contact for future use.
“Seeing the faces of our community after getting vaccinated and hearing how grateful they are has lit a fire in all of us to continue this work,” Woodward said. “As emergency medical providers we pride ourselves on helping people in their most trying times.”
During the freeze in February, the entire EMT program assisted the city of Corpus Christi with water distributions.
Twenty-three students will be graduating from the program in April and the additional 16 will graduate in the fall.
The EMT students who are firefighters will begin working on fire engines and ambulances upon their graduation.