Wegmans School of Pharmacy Assists in County Vaccine Roll-Out

March 3, 2021

Earlier this year, the Wegmans School of Pharmacy partnered with the Monroe County Health Department to assist in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine in the Rochester region.

Through the partnership, faculty, students, alumni, and preceptors are utilizing their pharmacy expertise in the handling, storage and administration of the COVID vaccine in the community. The County’s entire vaccine operation is being led by pharmacy alumna Dr. Joy Snyder, who serves a Chief Pharmacist for the Health Department.

During the beginning of the pandemic, Fisher faculty and students assisted the county as contact tracers and test administrators. As the vaccine program began, Monroe County requested the School’s assistance in distributing and administering the vaccine.

“The Wegmans School of Pharmacy has always had a great relationship with the Monroe County Health Department,” said Dr. Keith DelMonte, associate professor and director of experiential education at the School. “The interdisciplinary interactions are a great experience for our students. They are working beside nurses, providers, other health care students, Monroe County Health Department employees, and community members as one large healthcare team with a common goal to help our community.”

For students Emily Geraci and Marie Le, working with the County helped introduce them to the profession and understand their role on a health care team.

“My role was drawing up the vaccine. It was a great experience to be at the forefront of the vaccination efforts,” said Geraci after her first shift. “I felt that the pharmacy team really made a difference. We collaborated with the nurses, doctors, and other workers to distribute and administer over 650 vaccines.”

Le agreed.

“I feel very fortunate to be a part of the solution to this pandemic and be the first team sent offsite, especially to a skilled nursing facility,” she said. “Interacting with residents in this capacity and knowing I can help make a difference is a taste of how I’d like to spend my career.”

Dean Christine Birnie said the partnership is consistent with the School’s ongoing mission to support the community, both locally and globally.

“Already our faculty and students have been supporting our clinical partners in the initial vaccine rollout and this partnership with the health department is an opportunity to expand our service to the broader community,” said Birnie. “We are pleased to utilize our skills to serve the Rochester community in this way.”

Several faculty in the School of Pharmacy have served as experts on COVID-19 treatment and vaccination. Birnie, along with Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Dr. Alex DeLucenay and Dr. Yvette Conyers of the Wegmans School of Nursing, are serving on the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force, which represents more than 60 regional leaders to ensure equity, transparency, and efficiency in the vaccine rollout.

Additionally, several faculty members are serving as vaccine content experts, providing education and professional presentations, and are leading an initiative to develop vaccine literacy for minority and underserved communities in the region.

This article was written by Riley Moscicki ’21, a PR Writing Intern with the Office of Marketing and Communications.