With great power comes great responsibility
Jenee Vo is a final-year PharmD candidate at the Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy. In the photo, Jenee (on the left) works alongside her fellow classmates to administer vaccines at the medical center.
Four years ago, when I received my APhA Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery certificate as a first-year student pharmacist, little did I know the magnitude of that newly earned responsibility. At the time, I just saw it as a training that came with our pharmacy curriculum and part of the requirement as an intern in California. I could not have imagined that I would use this training in the near future as an immunizer in a pandemic.
Pharmacy steps up
Pharmacy professionals have had an essential role in providing vaccinations during the past decades and were among the first groups of frontline personnel to assist in the pandemic. When the first vials of the Pfizer–BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were distributed, the U.S. President, governors, and the entire nation called out to pharmacy professionals to help reach the nation’s vaccination goal. Without hesitance, pharmacies from across the country stepped up, ready to help. These monumental moments are what define our profession as “easy to reach and ready to help.”
Never will I forget the rush of hope, excitement, and all the other emotions I felt as I drew up the second dose of the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine to be used at the Loma Linda University Medical Center. Since December 2020, Loma Linda University's School of Pharmacy has been the primary department to coordinate these immunization efforts in collaboration with the schools of medicine, allied health professions, and nursing. Many student pharmacists, like myself, have been volunteering at medical centers, mass vaccine sites, and mobile clinics to help with vaccination.
Proud to be part of the solution
As Uncle Ben told Peter Parker in Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The privilege of our roles as immunizers is powerful and comes with the great responsibility of protecting and promoting public health. This generation of student pharmacists, along with our preceptors and mentors, is genuinely proud and happy to be a part of this fight to support our fellow health care professionals, promote science and public health, and most importantly, protect our families and loved ones. We do this with hope and trust for a better year ahead.
It has been an honor to represent pharmacy as an immunizer and a public health supporter, and to see all the health care professionals come together to combat this virus. I am amazed and thankful for the hard work that scientists, engineers, and health care professionals have dedicated to bringing us hope and answers during this difficult time. I have never been prouder to be part of the solution as a student pharmacist. I hope to share with my future great-grandkids the story of faith, hope, and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and the amazing power of vaccines that helped us fight this virus together.