Delta College is partnering with Bay County to serve as a local COVID-19 vaccination distribution site. The clinic, located in the southeast parking lot on the main campus, is operated by the Bay County Health Department with assistance from Delta faculty, staff and students. Bay County residents must register through the county to receive the vaccine at Delta.
“It makes sense for Delta to serve as a vaccination site because serving and supporting the community is a vital part of our mission as a community college,” said Karl Rishe, vice president of Student and Educational Services. “We have the space, people and skills needed to host an event like this. As a college, we’re used to running large-scale logistics for different events, and we’re glad to be offering our services in this way.”
Planning for the vaccination site began in November. Rishe said it was important to choose a location that could accommodate a two-lane, drive-through system without interfering with Delta’s daily activities.
Joel Strasz, director of the Bay County Health Department, said Delta has been an indispensable partner from the beginning. “With Delta’s assistance, outbreaks have been prevented, and faculty staff and students are engaged in a safe and effective manner,” Strasz said. “The most important aspect of our partnership is the design and implementation of the drive-through clinic. This is an important tool as we provide vaccines to the most vulnerable populations. It has been recognized at the state level, and will widely be remembered for its effectiveness as the history of this pandemic is documented locally.”
Daisy McQuiston, associate professor of nursing, is coordinating on-site logistics and volunteers, many of which are students enrolled in Delta’s nursing and respiratory care programs. The students, under guidance from a faculty member, are administering the vaccine themselves. Others are educating people about the vaccine and reviewing medical records.
“These students are gaining valuable experience and potentially saving lives in the process,” McQuiston said. “They are practicing their communication skills and learning how to manage time efficiently, and many of them are fulfilling required clinical experience in the process. I truly wish that people could feel the internal gratification that we feel being able to do this.”
McQuiston said that despite cold temperatures, people receiving the vaccine and volunteers alike have been gracious, patient and excited.
“One of our respiratory care students who works at a local hospital said she’s tired of watching people die and wants to be part of the solution,” she said. “An individual getting vaccinated screamed with excitement. You can just sense their relief that they’ll have a bit of protection.”
The clinic is currently open on Tuesdays and Thursdays to registered and approved Bay County residents. Rishe said the goal is to be open more days and eventually accommodate individuals from Midland and Saginaw counties with assistance from the National Guard.
“I’m grateful to the wonderful faculty and staff that have helped Delta get the clinic up and running,” he said. “Our nursing faculty, students, alumni and facilities staff have moved mountains to serve our community.”
Volunteers, both from Delta and the public, are needed to help with the clinic. Duties range from making phone calls to assisting on site.To sign up or learn more, visit apps.delta.edu/volunteer.