Hundreds of Duquesne University pharmacy students training to give COVID-19 vaccine

PITTSBURGH — Hundreds of pharmacy students at Duquesne University are learning how to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

“12 hours of self study along with 8 hours of live instruction and the lab portion where we do the hands on technique,” said assistant professor of pharmacy Dr. Tiffany Hatcher.

Much of the learning program is virtual because the pandemic forced certification training to pivot away from in person classes. Students also have to complete CPR training.

“If someone were to have some type of reaction, our students are trained to medically respond,” Hatcher said.

“Ultimately, it gives me hope that the pandemic will one day be behind us,” pharmacy intern Meaghan Murphy said. “We are able to make a public health impact.”

In all, 322 pharmacy students have completed the program. By the end of the week, that number will be more than 400.

“The minute we get the phone call that a pharmacy has gotten their dose shipment in, we are able to deploy students,” Hatcher said.

With the supply of the vaccine so low, many students are left in a holding pattern.

The university is working with both local pharmacies and others across the country.