AUBURN – Auburn University volunteers are in the midst of a major coordination effort to administer up to 33,000 doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine to students, employees and dependents. The doses will soon be delivered from the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Auburn has already received more than 7,500 doses to distribute through vaccination clinics on all campuses and off-site for employees who work in other areas of the state. The Harrison School of Pharmacy faculty, staff and students have volunteered to coordinate the effort, which is one of its largest service projects ever.
“The beauty of this project is it allows employees across departments throughout the university to get involved,” said Kimberly Braxton Lloyd, assistant dean of pharmacy health services and one of the volunteers helping to bring this project to fruition. “There are roles for non-clinical and clinical volunteers.”
She has been working with university’s Department of Public Safety and Security/Emergency Management, Medical Clinic, Risk Management, Division of Student Services and Department of Payroll and Employee Benefits. Emily Mann, director of operations for the Auburn University Pharmaceutical Care Center, and Dave Brackett, Auburn ambulatory care pharmacist, have also been assisting with the planning and implementation of this public health initiative.
“We have already provided 17 clinics on our Auburn, Montgomery and Mobile campuses since we received the first vaccine shipment in mid-October, and immunized almost 4,000 members of the Auburn family,” Braxton Lloyd said.
“During the week of Thanksgiving, we will be offering the vaccine by appointment to any student, employee or dependent who wishes to come to the Auburn University Pharmaceutical Care Center between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.” Appointments can be made by calling 844-4099 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We will also be offering clinics on the main campus the week after Thanksgiving,” she added.
The pharmacy school has been assisting with the development of the workflow of the mass immunization clinics and the development of patient education materials, public service videos, patient screening guides and documentation systems.
Volunteers from across campus are assisting with non-clinical roles, such as recruiting patients, directing traffic, distributing information sheets, filing screening forms, monitoring patients post-immunization and hosting the volunteer break room.
Faculty, postdoctoral residents and student pharmacists are providing clinical services, such as screening patients before the vaccine to ensure the patient is a good candidate for the vaccine; making recommendations for nasal versus injectable vaccine; administering the doses; educating patients; answering drug information questions; monitoring patients post vaccination; and providing adverse event reporting services.
“We now have both the live attenuated intranasal H1N1 vaccine and the inactivated, intramuscular injection,” Braxton Lloyd said. “So, we are now vaccinating all students, employees and dependents who are 10 years of age and older.”
The pharmacy school’s clinicians are screening each patient to ensure that they meet all criteria for the vaccine and that they receive the best dosage form for their age and health status.
“Dr. Dave Brackett and I developed a clinical training video for all clinical volunteers and provided a live mandatory face-to-face pharmacy professional seminar series for all pharmacy students to make sure everyone was prepared for this challenge,” she said. “We wanted to make sure every immunization-certified pharmacy student was well prepared and comfortable with their role in screening patients and administering the vaccine.”
Pharmacy Dean Lee Evans added, “The student body is learning how to participate in a public health crisis and give back to the community. It is a bonus that they are obtaining valuable pharmacy practice skills at the same time.”
The pharmacy school’s involvement has allowed Auburn to provide the vaccine free, as administration fees for the Auburn family have been waived.
“Since we are a self-insured employer, this is directly saving Auburn’s insurance fund up to $300,000. This is a valuable employee benefit,” said Ronnie Herring, executive director of the Department of Payroll and Employee Benefits.
More information about the project is available on the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Web site at http://pharmacy.auburn.edu/aupcc/h1n1_central.htm.