Daytona Beach, FL - As COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue worldwide, students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) are stepping in to help.
This week, a dozen students from ERAU's one-of-a-kind Aerospace Physiology program—which explores opportunities in space and biomedicine—began volunteer work with AdventHealth Daytona Beach, providing assistance to medical professionals in the facility's COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
As part of their curriculum, Aerospace Physiology students complete clinical rotations at AdventHealth. Following a preliminary round of volunteer service, students were asked to assist with second-dose vaccination clinics at locations around Volusia and Flagler, including DeLand, New Smyrna Beach, Orange City and Palm Coast.
So far, students have been tasked with patient check-in and registration, facilitating process flow through the vaccination stations, observation, scheduling of follow-up visits and general trouble-shooting at the clinics.
“This is considered a historic event, and the students in the Aerospace Physiology program had the opportunity to make a difference in the community on a large scale,” said Haleema Irfan, an ERAU student who plans to become a physician. “I am proud of the time my peers dedicated toward this mission.”
In addition to the help from students, ERAU's Aerospace Physiology Laboratory has also offered ultra-cold storage space available for another local healthcare provider, Halifax Health.
“Our students are doing an amazing job, front and center, on the first effort to get the vaccine to healthcare workers,” said Dr. Hugo Castillo, assistant professor of microbiology, within the Applied Biology program at Embry-Riddle. “During this first week of our volunteer effort, I had the opportunity to work with some of the students for two days."
Castillo added that roughly 2,000 vaccinations have been administered so far.
According to ERAU, students participating in the vaccination effort at AdventHealth Daytona Beach include Irfan, Linda Delgodo, John Veracka, Jason Revolinsky, Erik Larsen and Trey Bruno, with their classmates Cloe Crichton, Lauren Philips, Romeia Al-Hajeri, Brianna Marr, Julie Barrett and Nicole Tucker.