COLLEGE STATION, TX — The next generation of pharmacists has had a strong hand steering the community towards herd immunity as the battle against COVID 19 continues.
Many of them are graduating this weekend.
Pharmacy Students at Texas A&M got an early start working in the field administering vaccines across the state.
Rashid Abdoh never imagined his last year of pharmacy school would consist of him administering roughly three thousand doses of the COVID 19 vaccine.
"Just being on the front line for that really one- showed what pharmacists can do and how much of an impact they can make within the community but then even also how much students can make a very similar impact," Rashid Abdoh, graduating pharmacy student, Texas A&M said.
One of his patients was even his dad.
Abdoh traveled all over Texas- going to big cities like Dallas and smaller rural communities in Milam County to help protect people against the virus.
"It was exhilarating. It helped us because it allowed us to have additional staff focus on other areas. They were a wonderful force multiplier for us," Robert Kirkpatrick, Executive Director, Milam County Health Department said.
Other A&M students like Julio Guerra lent a helping hand in the hospital setting, administering the vaccine at DHR. At first, he was nervous because he didn't want to mess up any of the vaccines. Soon it became second nature.
"They told me I had the hand of an angel because I had a little technique going. I would just squeeze the arm and 'boom'. They wouldn't even feel it. They said, "Wow. I want to get my second dose with you.' 'I'm here all day'," Julio Guerra, graduating student, Texas A&M College of Pharmacy said.
Another big part of the pharmacy students' jobs was educating the public as they worked in the field.
"They spoke with a lot of patients. Answered their questions. about how it worked. You know eased their minds about potential adverse effects and things like that," Daniella Baxan, clinical pharmacist, DHR Health, clinical assistant professor, College of Pharmacy, Texas A&M said.
Even though their rotations are up, both Abdoh and Guerra continue to volunteer and do their part in the fight against the pandemic.
"You know you helped someone. You helped save a life. You helped prevent the spread of disease and that was a lot of why I kept going," Abdoh said.
"knowing that each vaccine would equate to one life saved, it was extremely rewarding," Guerra said.
109 students graduate from the College of Pharmacy on Saturday. All contributed in the COVID-19 clinics.