Ben Hill Griffin Stadium has hosted many memorable moments in UF’s history. Throughout the spring, this legendary stadium served a greater purpose, hosting mass COVID-19 vaccination events — and UF College of Pharmacy volunteers played a critical role in the efforts.
College of Pharmacy faculty, staff and students were called upon to help stem the pandemic at the stadium events as well as at vaccine clinics in hospitals, churches and community pharmacies. Volunteers prepared thousands of syringes, administered vaccines and assisted with administrative tasks. The team effort reached its peak in April, when more than 1,500 volunteer hours were registered at just the 13 stadium vaccination events.
“Every day I saw multiple people from the College of Pharmacy volunteering, and I think it brought us together as a team,” said Shauna Buring, Pharm.D., associate dean for professional education in the UF College of Pharmacy and lead organizer of the college’s vaccine volunteers. “The students have been trained to prepare the immunizations, and the vaccination events gave them a lot of practice in doing so. I think it also gives them a sense of public identity and being a part of something so important for public health.”
For the student volunteers, being part of this historical campaign was more than putting their vaccine training into practice — it was delivering hope for a healthier tomorrow.
“One of the patients I vaccinated was so excited to receive the vaccine because she finally gets to see her grandson again,” said Anna Dostie, a rising third-year UF College of Pharmacy student. “To hear people say things like that really warms your heart and puts into perspective how pharmacists are part of this historic vaccination campaign.”