Clayton State University meets the vaccination needs of its students

Teaching students is complicated enough during the pandemic. One metro Atlanta university is actively taking on another challenge: Getting the campus community vaccinated too.

Clayton State University already had the necessary refrigeration in-house to properly store the vaccines on campus when they arrived. When the New Year arrived the school was prepared and ready to get shots in arms.

"Never in my lifetime would I have imagined this scenario," said Polly Parks, Director of the University Health Services Center at Clayton State University.

Parks has had a big job on her hands at CSU leading the vaccine rollout on campus just south of Atlanta.

"So we've been vaccinating our healthcare faculty, our dental hygiene faculty. Our nursing students, dental hygiene students and 65 and older and anybody who qualifies on our campus," Parks said.

They started last month and have since gotten shots in the arms in more than 600 people.

"We can run through 30 people every 20 minutes," Parks explains. "So we can get through 90 people in an hour which is really a decent through-pit for the level of eligibility we have now."

Their efficiency is credited for the planning that took place on campus years ago, during the H1N1 outbreak. As we know, COVID adversely affects the black community, making the work being done to vaccinate this predominantly black university more critical.

"Gratitude," said Clayton State University President Dr. Tim Hynes. "That's what we heard (from faculty and staff). Some hope that the state supply will continue to increase."

"It takes me back to years gone by in my earlier career where it's just nice to be able to offer a difference and glimmer of hope with this vaccine," said Parks.

For now, Clayton State is exclusively serving its campus community.

The school is planning to pool resources with the Morrow Fire Department to become, what's called, an "open pod" where the community-at-large can come to get vaccinated. What's holding that up right now is there is not enough supply of the vaccine to meet the demand.

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