Texas A&M faculty aid in COVID-19 vaccine distribution
Faculty in the College of Education and Human Development are administering and aiding in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines this spring.
Dr. Michael Sandlin, health education faculty in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, has been teaching online from Colorado since the pandemic began. He also works as a part-time paramedic.
Like many places, the Colorado Springs area lacks the amount of medical staff necessary to keep up with vaccine distribution. Sandlin’s medical director sent out a call for help from first responders.
“When I received the email about volunteering, I immediately called and said that any free time I have I want to use it to help end this pandemic,” Sandlin said.
Dr. Mary Margaret Capraro and Dr. Robert Capraro, faculty in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, also answered the call for volunteers locally in Bryan and College Station. Since 2016, the Capraros, along with their dog Choco, have been Caring Canine Volunteers with CHI St. Joseph Health.
“Before COVID we would visit patients at the hospital in Bryan and bring Choco — he is a ‘Caring Canine’ for the hospital visiting oncology, children’s ward and post-partum patients,” Mary Margaret Capraro said.
They have now shifted roles following a call from their volunteer coordinator. The hospital was lacking qualified volunteers because their normal volunteers are mostly retired individuals who are at higher risk for COVID-19 infection.
“We were moved to volunteer in different roles given his plea that to deliver the vaccines requires screeners, paperwork processors and post-vaccine administration monitors,” Robert Capraro said.
A personal motive
Sandlin lost his uncle to COVID-19 this past Thanksgiving. He said because of this he wants to do anything he possibly can to help those who want to receive the vaccine.
“I really enjoy seeing the happy and relieved expressions of my patients when they receive their vaccine,” Sandlin said.
Sandlin noted he always wears a Texas A&M face masks and many of the patients ask about his relationship with the university.
“I feel honored to try to be a positive representative of our department, college and university,” Sandlin said.
When he returns to Texas this spring, Sandlin plans to volunteer with CHI St. Joseph Health where he has been a volunteer with the Emergency Department for the past 14 years.
About the Writer
Heather is responsible for news coverage in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, as well as the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development.Articles by Heather
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