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Vaccinate NEPA: Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine volunteering to help vaccinate

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The goal of vaccinating the most vulnerable populations against COVID-19 remains a constant battle. Besides requiring an ample supply of vaccine, many hands are needed to help get shots into arms.

We’ve seen doctors and nurses giving so many of those shots. But some of those vaccinations are happening with the help of future medical professionals.

These are the images of a recent COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Washington West Apartments in Scranton. The ones giving the shots in these photos are students at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

Among them is Matthew Parry of Clarks Summit who is president of his second-year medical class and who approached school hierarchy this year with a question.

“What can we do? Can we get involved in the vaccination effort? We could just be volunteers. We don’t have to be paid, obviously. We just want to help out somehow.”

From there, students began to sign up to participate in community vaccination clinics whether they were at elderly high rises, traditional medical facilities or other places. Fourth year medical student from Dalton, Alayna Craig-Lucas has participated in so many.

“Oh, I think I’ve lost track. 15, 20 somewhere around there. Yeah.”

The onset of the pandemic in 2020 prevented her from participating in clinics with patients.

“So, when the opportunity arose to start vaccinating, working in these clinics being back part of the community, it was a wonderful time,” Lucas said.

Even students who haven’t directly put shots into arms took on valuable roles, students like Scranton native Brian Martin.

“I’ve been mostly the person checking everyone in and then I pass them onto the next person who actually does the vaccines,” Brian Martin, first year GCSOM student said.

Doing those physical screenings is a way for him to support a community that helped raise him.

“Since the pandemic started, I’ve really been looking for a meaningful way to get involved and help make my community healthier. So, when this opportunity came up that I could help vaccinate people in my community I jumped on it as quickly as I could,” said Martin.

“I think that I’ll be a better physician for it, and I think that my classmates feel the same way,” Parry said.

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine students have volunteered at both Geisinger vaccinations clinics and ones held by the Wright Center for Community Health.

Mark Hiller Eyewitness News

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