Bellarmine University nursing faculty are making sure Louisville-area residents receive the COVID-19 vaccine by administering the injections in partnership with the city's health department.
Nine faculty members so far have volunteered, or are scheduled to volunteer, at the LouVax site at Broadbent Arena, part of the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center in Louisville: Dr. Juli Evers, Dr. Kathy Hager, Debi Hatton, Leslie Leffler, Dr. Heather Owens, Dr. Britt Schloemer, Dr. Carol Smith, Dr. Chris Webb and Dr. Nancy York, the former dean of the Lansing School of Nursing and Clinical Sciences
in Bellarmine's College of Health Professions
For now, the LouVax site is open by appointment only to those in Tier 1A, which includes physicians, nurses, dentists, occupational and physical therapists, medical lab personnel, audiologists and home health personnel, among others. The vaccine is administered in five drive-through lanes. After being vaccinated, drivers wait 15 minutes in a designated parking area to be sure they have no ill effects.
Nurses with Louisville's Department of Public Health and Wellness are administering the vaccine along with volunteers from the Kentucky Nurses Association and other groups, including Bellarmine nursing faculty.
Leffler, who just joined the faculty as an instructor of Graduate Nursing
on Jan. 1, 2021, said that volunteering at LouVax was a wonderful experience.
“The people receiving the injections were so thankful for the opportunity of being vaccinated, they barely noticed I was sticking a needle in their arm,” she said. “I have always enjoyed donating my time, and with the number of lives lost to COVID -19 just surpassing 400,000 in America and 2 million worldwide, I wanted to be part of our historic recovery.”
In volunteering, Leffler and the other Bellarmine nursing faculty are also carrying on the university’s long history of community service.
About 11.1 million Americans so far have received the first dose of the two-shot injection required for both vaccines by manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer/BioNtech. (LouVax is providing only the Moderna vaccine.) In Kentucky (population 4.4 million), 232,1277 doses of vaccine had been administered as of Wednesday, according to the state's COVID-19 website.
“It is an honor for us to serve our community by participating in the Health Department’s mass vaccination efforts,” Dr. York said. “Everyone is so grateful when they get vaccinated.”
Photo: Dr. Carol Smith and Dr. Britt Schloemer gave a COVID-19 vaccine to Nicki Swiderski, Bellarmine’s nursing clinical mentor, in Broadbent Arena.