12 hours, 2,000 shots: Glassboro campus hosts pop-up COVID-19 clinic

12 hours, 2,000 shots: Glassboro campus hosts pop-up COVID-19 clinic

Rowan's Rec Center was abuzz as volunteers administered 2,000 vaccines in 12 hours on the Glassboro campus.

Sarah Knapp offered up her left arm as a Rowan Medicine volunteer administered a COVID-19 vaccine smack dab in the center of her sunflower tattoo.

With that, Knapp, a 2017 Rowan alumna and graduate student in Writing Arts, became the first person to receive a one-dose Johnson & Johnson inoculation at the first pop-up vaccination clinic on the Main Campus in Glassboro on Thursday, April 8 (see video).

Altogether, by the end of the day, 2,000 vaccinations were administered during the 12-hour clinic at the Rec Center. The clinic was open to community members from throughout the state and to Rowan employees and students.

More than 80 clinical staff volunteers from the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine on the Stratford Campus administered the shots, while nearly 100 additional volunteers from offices across the Glassboro campus, led by the Wellness Center, assisted the effort.

“I feel very special,” Knapp said when she realized she was the first vaccine of the day. “Even though I’m covered in tattoos, I’m afraid of needles. But it barely hurt. Just a tiny little pinch.

“I live with several immunocompromised people, so I wanted to take advantage of this,” continued Knapp, who also teaches composition in the College of Communication & Creative Arts. “Rowan seems to be taking a lot of steps to keep people safe.”

Safety was the order of the day as volunteers worked collectively to ensure the safe distribution of the vaccine. The Rec Center was transformed in just 15 hours into a fully functioning clinic with designated areas for check-in, registration, vaccination distribution and recovery.

As staff from the Rowan Medicine Vaccination Center in Stratford, who have administered more than 36,000 vaccines since the center opened on Christmas Eve day, registered patients, filled vials for dosages and gave shots, Glassboro campus volunteers assisted in other ways. They served as greeters and runners, worked to sanitize clipboards, pens and other high-touch surfaces, distributed water and snacks, drove golf carts to deliver folks from parking lots to the site, and helped patients in observation after their shots.

Clearly, when the call for volunteers went out, the Rowan community stepped up, said Joshua Coren, interim associate dean for clinical affairs and chair of family medicine at Rowan Medicine.

“All of the different teams have been amazing,” Coren said during an afternoon briefing of volunteers. “We are doing something very big today--all with safety, quality and service in mind. Be proud of that.”

While Rowan Medicine volunteers worked in Glassboro, the vaccination center in Stratford continued to operate simultaneously. The center inoculates approximately 600 citizens each day, Coren said.

Rowan Medicine has supported the New Jersey Department of Health’s efforts to administer vaccines through the vaccination center and by leading outreach to special populations, including first responders, educators, adults with disabilities, senior citizens, the homeless and the homebound. The Glassboro pop-up vaccination clinic was an extension of that work.

On April 19, the state will open up vaccines to anyone age 16 or older, Coren noted.

“We have to keep going where the people are,” Coren said, adding that community members can register for vaccination appointments on the Rowan Medicine web site. “In the next two weeks, we’ll expect more and more openings. And that’s a great thing.”

Mercer County residents Kristen and Justin Jones made the trek to the pop-up clinic with their two daughters, three-year-old Tegan and one-year-old Kaylee, who are too young for the vaccine. Kaylee held Justin’s hand as he got his shot, providing comfort to her needle-shy dad, who is a social worker.

“She helped me out,” he said with a grin. “We’re happy for the one-shot dose. For me, it’s more of a relief for the population that people are getting vaccines. I’m relieved for society.”

Knapp said it had been a full year since she had been back on Rowan’s campus. She can’t wait to return to the classroom. Neither can her students, she said.

“My students are abundantly creative and I’ve been blown away by them this semester,” Knapp said. “But I really miss the energy of the classroom.”

Rowan hopes to receive more vaccine from the state to administer on the main campus. Rowan Medicine will continue to serve the community at its vaccination site in Stratford.