City of Fremont Honors Students of Unitek College For Helping Fight H1N1 Flu
On April 6th 2010, Vice Mayor Bob Wieckowski of Fremont, California honored students' who administered the H1N1 vaccine during the flu pandemic in November 2009. Unitek College students displayed such high confidence and competency that the City of Fremont didn't think twice before asking other schools in the surrounding area to help out as well. This surge of volunteer support logged 2,000 staff hours and successfully administered 7,000 vaccines. The City of Fremont saved approximately $80,000 of tax-payers money that would have been given to contracted nurses.
In April of 2009, the H1N1 virus (also known as the Swine Flu) began to circulate in the United States. According to the California Department of Public Health, 2008 people were hospitalized and 546 died before receiving the H1N1 vaccine; 29 fatalities in Alameda County alone. When the San Francisco Bay Area was declared a state of emergency, Vocational Nursing students from Unitek College teamed up with the Fremont Fire Dept. to deliver the vaccine.
On Saturday, November 7, thirty Vocational Nursing & Registered Nursing students and three instructors assisted as the vaccine was made available to high-risk target groups. These 'high-risk' groups included "pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel, anyone 6 months through 24 years of age, and people ages of 25 through 64 years of age at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 influenza because of certain chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems," according the CDC.
The students staffed all the clinical stations from nasal misting to injections to intake screening. It was Unitek College's VNs who demonstrated teamwork, flexibility, confidence and competence. Virginia Armstrong, Program Director for the LVN program at Unitek College, stated, "The student enthusiasm over participating in the clinics was phenomenal! They demonstrated a high level of competence under highly stressful situations; immunizing adults, children, and infants. At the peak of operations, students immunized over 500 people per hour!"
Paul Afshar, C.E.O. of Unitek College stated, "As unfortunate as the circumstances were for the flu pandemic, this was a wonderful opportunity for us to serve the community and I am proud of our staff and students who rose to the occasion. I am looking forward to more collaboration between public and private organizations in the future."
These newly forged relationships will no doubt bring more opportunities for Unitek College students and staff to support their community in the near-future. It's a win-win situation for all involved; the students are exposed to real-world scenarios, Unitek College has the opportunity to actively participate in the community, and the City of Fremont (including the Fremont Fire Department) can utilize the extra resources for the benefit of all.