Fresno State holds COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Save Mart Center

Fresno State professor Glenn Terpstra receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Saint Agnes Medical Center nurse Angela Oaks. (Gabriel Camarillo/The Collegian)

Fresno State staff, faculty and student assistants working in person were able to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Save Mart Center on April 8.

Eligible members for the single-day clinic were notified through email, and COVID-19 vaccines were administered inside the Save Mart Center.

Janell Morillo, associate vice president at the Student Health and Counseling Center, said Fresno State expressed interest to provide vaccines to the Fresno State community with the anticipation for returning to in-person learning in fall 2021.

“The university has been interested in hosting a vaccine clinic to meet the needs of our campus community and support the progress of our county moving into [a] lower tier,” Morillo said.

225 individuals were scheduled to receive the vaccine on April 8. Those considered eligible for the vaccine were staff, faculty, and student employees. 

Some students were also eligible for the vaccine if they reside in congregate settings, which Morillo said include students in university housing, students in Greek organization housing and some student athletes.

Social distancing and facial coverings were required at the clinic site, and temperature checks were conducted on each individual at the clinic.

Participants were required to check in to receive the vaccine and were provided packets with information regarding the contents of the Pfizer vaccine and potential side effects. 

After receiving the vaccine, community members were observed for 15 minutes by a Valley Children’s Healthcare doctor to ensure there were no life-threatening reactions to the vaccine.

Valley Children’s Healthcare nurses were present at the clinic to administer the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to eligible Fresno State community members. (Gabriel Camarillo/The Collegian)

Savanna Torres, a Fresno State senior and multimedia major, said that, after finding out she was eligible to receive the vaccine, she was quick to take the opportunity.

“I actually was kind of looking forward to it because I’m the type of person that wears a mask, like, all the time, even if I know the other person,” Torres said.

Torres said she felt comfortable taking the vaccine at the clinic, noting that the shorter line and quick distribution of the vaccine made for a good experience.

With her vaccination, Torres expressed excitement for returning to campus in the fall.

“I mean even before the vaccine I was perfectly fine coming in for the fall because, you know, I figured everyone would be wearing a mask and saying six feet apart. So, you know, I’m just really excited to get back to school,” she said.

The university was able to provide vaccinations through a partnership with the Fresno County Department of Public Health and Valley Children’s Healthcare.

Registered nurses from Valley Children’s Healthcare were present at the clinic to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

Stacie Venkatesan, director of critical care at Valley Children’s Healthcare, said vaccine clinics have been facilitated by Valley Children’s since Dec. 16.

“We have a group of staff who have volunteered pretty regularly to administer vaccines and so we just use that pool of nurses and staff to come out here today and provide vaccines for Fresno State,” Venkatesan said.

Eligible staff, faculty and students were observed by healthcare professionals after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on April 8. (Gabriel Camarillo/The Collegian)

Sarah von Ah, a registered nurse from Valley Children’s Healthcare, was one of the nurses administering COVID-19 vaccines to community members at the clinic.

The clinic ran smoothly through the morning, and von Ah said there were no issues or reactions from those receiving the vaccine.

“All the staff and students have been just like super pleasant, excited to get their vaccines. Very respectful. it’s great to see this turnout. It’s fun to see the athletes and coaches, be able to get back to, you know, playing. So yeah, just a really encouraging group,” von Ah said.

A second clinic will be held to provide eligible community members the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on April 29. This is the only additional clinic planned at this time.

Morillo said that, currently, the university is still exploring additional opportunities to host more vaccine distribution clinics.

“We are proud to be a part of the effort to get our campus vaccinated and move towards a healthier community,” Morillo said.

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