Sunday evening, St. Isidore chaplain Fr. Gale Hammerschmidt informed students that over 200 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were available for distribution through the center thanks to S&S Drug out of Beloit, Kansas.
The distribution event took place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m on Tuesday, March 22 at the newly renovated Newman Center.
Heather Johnson, office manager for S&S Drug, said S&S Pharmacy participates in the Federal Pharmacy Vaccination Program, allowing them to distribute the vaccines.
“This program was designed by the federal government to give pharmacies the opportunity to vaccinate individuals using different guidelines and allowing a broader spectrum of eligible individuals,” Johnson said.
Eligibility includes those working in a variety of settings, like food service, retail, agriculture production, educators and more.
“S&S Drug was allocated 1,170 Pfizer doses and therefore is able to vaccinate anyone 16 and older that falls into one of these categories,” Johnson said.
Sienna Wingerson, junior in marketing, said she was excited about the opportunity to get vaccinated.
“As a part of my summer job, I will be around a lot of people including children and parents, so anything that I can do to help the safety of those around me is what is most important to me,” Wingerson said. “St. Isidore’s has really given me the opportunity to grow as a student and in my faith … by creating a community while still being mindful of what is going on in our world and doing anything we can to volunteer … to help students or community members who might be in need at this time.”
Wingerson said seeing St. Isidore’s actions through all of its challenges and changes this year made her appreciate everything they have provided for her and her fellow students.
“It has also been a blessing to get vaccinated in a place that means so much to me throughout this past year,” Wingerson said
This opportunity made it easier for students working around large numbers of people or have high-risk family members to get their vaccination.
“We would all like to hope that providing these vaccines will allow us to get back to the way things once were, but that is just simply not the case,” Hammerschmidt said. “Yes, the vaccinations will help protect against the spread, and hopefully, help those that are more at risk, but I think it is wishful thinking that things will go back to normal.”
St. Isidore’s has made several changes to normal operations as the church undergoes renovation. The church is also providing more than double the normal amount of Sunday Mass times so people are safely distanced and still feel welcome.
“We are excited to be able to provide this opportunity at a place people know well, and thankfully we have the resources, space and the communication abilities to do it,” Fr. Drew Hoffman, associate chaplain, said.
S&S Pharmacy distributed over 215 doses of the vaccine to participating students, including some who were waitlisted. S&S will return in a month to provide students with their second dose at St. Isidore’s Newman Center.