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PHS Students Help Vaccinations in Rural Arizona

PHS Students Help Vaccinations in Rural Arizona
April 27
14:48 2021

Page High School students help with vaccinations in rural Arizona


Seven students from Page High School volunteered to help vaccinate residents from the town of Fredonia, Ariz. last month.

The high school students were Jonah Holiday, Ryan Thomas, Neve Redhair, Keira Jenkins, Arianna Jenkins, Marah Little and Nadya Begay.

Fredonia is located in the northwest corner of Arizona and doesn’t have a healthcare provider. When Coconino County made Covid-19 vaccinations available, it reached out to Encompass Health Services in Page, the nearest Arizona-based medical provider, and asked if they could assist the county do the vaccinations.

“Of course, we were happy to help with that,” said Joe Wright, CEO of Page Encompass.

The first vaccination event was a drive-through event. Encompass took seven of its staff to administer the vaccinations.

“It whipped us pretty good,” said Wright. “It was a lot of work. We were all pretty sore and tired when it was all done.”

Encompass planned a second vaccination day in Fredonia to follow a couple weeks later.

“I knew we were going to need some help,” said Wright.

Wright reached out to Ryan Whitehorse, who teaches Home Health Aid at the high school, to ask if he had any students in his program who would want help them.

“Ryan jumped all over the chance to help,” said Wright, “and pretty quickly had a group of students who wanted to help us.”

The second vaccination event had nearly twice as many patients as the first one. Encompass staff vaccinated 100 Fredonia residents on its first visit. On the second visit they administered the second dose of the vaccine to those same 100 patients, plus gave an additional 70 people their first shots.

The vaccinations started at 9 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. Vaccinating that many people in a single day took a lot of organization and hustle.

“I don’t think we would have been able to complete it in a single day without them,” said Wright. “We didn’t stop all day.

The seven high school students greeted the clients in their vehicles, gave them their paperwork and took their IDs and the completed paperwork. When the students finished the clerical work, they then shadowed Encompass’ nurse practitioners and watched the process the nurses went through to screen the patients and administer the shots.

After receiving the shots, the patients were asked to remain on site for half an hour in case they suffered any adverse reaction to the vaccine. Encompass tasked the high school students with that responsibility.

Marah Little said volunteering with the vaccination was a great experience. “After being told the people of Fredonia don’t have access to medical services nearby, I felt like it was something I had to do,” she said. “l got to experience something that most people my age don’t get the privilege to help with.”

After Little graduates, she will attend Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. and major in Early Childhood Development, after which she plans to attend the University of New Mexico and major in Emergency Medical Services, or Nursing.

Ryan Thomas is also pursuing a career in the medical field and jumped at the chance to be involved with the Fredonia vaccinations. Thomas helped by directing people where to park, giving them paperwork, providing water, running documents to administrative staff, providing assistance for the vaccinator while they gave the shots.

“It was an amazing experience,” Thomas said. “I loved working with the people at encompass as well as interacting with the community of Fredonia as they got their vaccines. It was a very tiring day, but we all worked together to divide the work evenly so we all got breaks. Although it was a long day it was a lot of fun as well. I loved interacting with everyone and being a part of something that would change their lives.”

Wright said he was very impressed with the level of care the high school students gave the patients that day.

“We did an orientation with all the high school kids prior to the event and we harped on one thing over all, and that was customer service,” said Wright. “We showed them how to greet the folks we would be vaccinating. We told them they would be interacting with people who were anxious and worried, and to do what they could help alleviate they worries and make them feel comfortable.

“That was the most amazing part. They were the epitome of care and empathy and good customer service. To be honest, they made Encompass look really good!”


PHS Students Help Vaccinations in Rural Arizona - overview

Summary: Page High School students help with vaccinations in rural Arizona


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