CU Pharmacy Students Compete With Each Other To Help Vaccination Effort

At the beginning of the semester, the school challenged students to get extracurricular experience in working with vaccine distribution.

Video Transcript

- More than 1 million Coloradans are already fully vaccinated. It's an all-hands-on-deck effort to get that vaccine out, and the pharmacy students at CU Medical Campus are a big part of that. They've administered tens of thousands of those doses.

Jeff Todd spoke with one student. He joins us now live in Aurora. And Jeff, the school turned this into a competition.

JEFF TODD: Karen, the school couldn't require these students to get involved in the vaccinations to try and end the pandemic. But they wanted to do something to try and encourage them. What faculty members didn't expect was just how serious some of these students would take it. And they are making a big impact.

SOOJIN CHANG: I think it was a cool idea to at least get everyone challenged, like have some kind of fun competition.

JEFF TODD: Since the beginning of the semester, the CU pharmacy school has been keeping track of how many doses students are responsible for. They've made this chart showing students in different years keeping track of their vaccinations.

SOOJIN CHANG: We have a really important role to play as students and as new pharmacists.

JEFF TODD: Combined, the students are responsible for more than 26,000 shots as of last week.

DANA HAMMER: It's incredible. It's absolutely incredible.

JEFF TODD: Dr. Dana Hammer organized the competition and has seen some students jump at the chance to help out in pharmacies or even large vaccination efforts.

DANA HAMMER: I think it's become even more, I guess exciting, for the students to engage in some of these opportunities, because almost all of the school they're doing right now is all online. There are not classes that are happening on campus.

JEFF TODD: It's not just giving the shot that's been tallied. Students are also responsible for nearly 30,000 doses prepared and educating 10,000 patients about the vaccine.

DANA HAMMER: Then they feel good, because they know that they're doing a really important service for public health.

JEFF TODD: And the students know they're making a difference.

SOOJIN CHANG: All my interactions with patients have been really positive. Everyone's super excited. A lot of people want to take selfies.

JEFF TODD: The school says that this contest for the students is really about getting them interested and invigorated, and giving them some kind of reward if they can. But it's not going to be over until the end of the semester, which is going to run through May. That may kind of coincide with what the governor says is going to be the real period that the state is trying to vaccinate as many people as possible. We're live in Aurora tonight. Jeff Todd, covering Colorado first.