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Students assisting at UofGH-hosted COVID-19 vaccine clinic

A COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the University of Guelph-Humber’s lobby has now served thousands of people in the nearby community, with enthusiastic support from UofGH and Humber College student volunteers who are eager to get involved and give back.

The clinic is a partnership between William Osler Health System and the University of Guelph-Humber and Humber to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents of nearby north Etobicoke.

As of early June, more than 15,000 doses had been administered at the clinic. These efforts have been helped along by the on-campus community, with UofGH Kinesiology students helping to screen and check-in patients while students in Humber’s Faculty of Health Sciences & Wellness administer vaccines.

“The University of Guelph-Humber is very proud to partner with Osler and Humber to provide a community vaccination clinic in Etobicoke for eligible residents,” said Interim Vice-Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. George Bragues.

“It’s a great opportunity for Guelph-Humber to support the community and contribute to the overall vaccine rollout in Ontario in our efforts to overcome COVID-19.”

Giving back

University of Guelph-Humber and Humber students have found volunteering at the clinic to be a rewarding experience both professionally and personally.

“I was inspired to volunteer at the vaccine clinic as I knew it would be a way for me to give back to the community, as well as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see how a clinic operates first-hand,” said graduating UofGH Kinesiology student Carlos Abrego.

“As someone who wants to pursue a career in research and academia, I feel like this opportunity was extremely beneficial.”

Similarly, third-year Kinesiology student Maryam Asif never hesitates to volunteer her time. An active member of her community, Asif has volunteered at a long-term care home, in schools, and at a women’s shelter.

One of the challenges of the pandemic for Asif was that many organizations paused their volunteer programs due to safety concerns. When she heard there was a vaccine clinic set to be operated out of UofGH, she leapt at the opportunity to get involved.

“It was really difficult being at home alone because I’m so used to keeping myself busy and helping others in any way I can,” said Asif, who hopes to pursue a career in medicine. “This has honestly been such an amazing learning experience. I am volunteering with nurses and doctors who have worked in the ER. Listening to their conversations and experiences has inspired me to keep working hard to pursue my goals.

“I’m also developing a lot of new skills which I know will come in handy in the workplace one day, such as conflict resolution, problem solving, and clear communication. The staff that helps run the clinic are also such great people to work with. They treat us as equals and trust us to do the work they assign us. They are also super supportive, so I’m never hesitant to ask for help.

“Overall, I am really glad to be a volunteer there.”

Aside from the professional and educational benefits of participating, UofGH and Humber student volunteers have also said they’ve been grateful for the chance to get to know people who live in the community surrounding campus.

“My experience working here has been amazing and I’ve enjoyed talking to people as they come in for the vaccine,” said fourth-year Kinesiology student Gurleen Kaur. “They are mostly happy to receive the vaccine and leave this place knowing they are one step closer to ensuring the safety of others and getting back to normal.

“Especially for at-risk senior populations, to be able to help them feel safer is more than rewarding.”