BANGOR, MAINE, Jan. 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Over the next year, it will take an army of healthcare professionals to inoculate the over 328 million people who live in the United States against COVID-19. Now that a vaccine is available, we need to prepare as many members of the healthcare community as possible to administer the vaccine and respond to any emergencies should they arise during the process.

Since pharmacists, interns and pharmacy technicians are permitted to administer inoculations to the public, it’s vital that they have immediate access to education that will help them safely provide COVID-19 vaccinations. In an effort to help these professionals prepare for an anticipated national vaccination campaign, Husson University will be providing education to any licensed pharmacist, regardless of whether they are Husson students or community members.

Two nationally approved educational options are available. A six-hour course for pharmacy technicians that focuses specifically on the administration of the vaccine, as well as how to respond to emergencies, is available. For licensed pharmacists and interns, there also is a 20-hour course. Participants in this course will learn about the appropriate use of vaccines, indications, contraindications, how to administer the immunizations, and how to respond to emergencies.

“Husson University has traditionally worked with our clinical partners to provide flu shots in past years,” said Kelsie Snow, PharmD, an assistant professor at Husson University’s School of Pharmacy. “This year, we are working in much the same way to provide the COVID vaccinations to as many people as we can. While some students are being employed to provide these important vaccinations, other faculty and students are volunteering to inoculate others in order to help end this public health crisis as soon as possible.”

Given the expected demand for vaccinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Husson University will be offering classes to members of the pharmacy community on a regular basis. The first class will take place on Saturday, January 9, 2021 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Husson University’s Bangor campus in Peabody Hall, Room 332.

Prior to attending the in-person component of the course, participants will be required to complete some in-depth study at home. Professionals interested in learning more about enrolling in one of these courses can contact Dr. Kelsie Snow at snowke@husson.edu.

Pharmacists’ and pharmacy technicians’ ability to administer vaccinations is new to Maine and was made possible by Congress when they passed the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act. Prior to this, pharmacy technicians were not allowed to administer vaccinations. Thanks to the PREP Act, pharmacy technicians in Maine can now receive training to provide this important healthcare service. COVID-19 related legislation has also expanded the number of vaccines pharmacy personnel are able to administer and order. In addition, pharmacy personnel can now provide routine immunizations to children, which has historically happened in pediatrician offices.

While Husson University is currently planning to offer classes at least twice a month, the University is willing to work with local pharmacies and hospitals to offer these classes at a convenient time and location so that the needs of the community can be addressed as soon as possible. “We are also looking into holding these courses in different locations around the state in order to minimize pharmacy technicians’ need to travel. Maine is an awfully large state and we want to do all that we can to facilitate the response to the public health crisis,” said Snow.

“Husson University has provided pharmacy students with training in providing immunizations for years. Now we’re expanding the training to get students involved earlier,” said Dr. Rhonda Waskiewicz, dean of the College of Health and Pharmacy. “Being educated as a healthcare professional in such a turbulent, unprecedented time is both challenging and rewarding. This process allows pharmacists to take a more active role in patient care. One of the major challenges posed by the restrictions of COVID-19 is restricted access to care, and this is one of the ways Husson is working to eliminate those barriers.”

“Husson University is pleased to offer this training to the public. It will help ensure that quality healthcare is being delivered to members of our community,” said Dr. Lynne Coy-Ogan, Husson University’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “It’s another example of the outstanding leadership Husson University is demonstrating in healthcare education within our pharmacy, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy programs. Creating an army of healthcare professionals ready to respond to the call during this healthcare crisis is another example of the hands-on, “can do” attitude that makes Husson graduates a tremendous asset to future employers.”

For more than 120 years, Husson University has prepared future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent superior value in higher education. Our Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education center in Northern Maine both provide advanced knowledge in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. In addition, Husson University has a robust adult learning program. According to a recent analysis of tuition and fees by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is one of the most affordable private colleges in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu

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Attachments

Eric B. Gordon Husson University 207.649.4647 gordoner@husson.edu

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