University of California, Davis, News Service
December 5, 2007
VETERINARY STUDENTS HELP FLU CLINIC AND TRAIN FOR MASS VACCINATION
Veterinary students from the Veterinary Emergency Response Team of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine will join other volunteers from throughout the county on December 8 to assist at a public flu vaccination clinic and training event in West Sacramento.
The free vaccination clinic will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Russian Baptist Church, 1000 Sacramento Ave., West Sacramento. The clinic is being coordinated by the Yolo County Health Department.
Although the veterinary students are trained to administer vaccines to their four-legged patients, during this human-health clinic and drill, they will be helping with medical screening and triage, and serving as "runners."
"By participating in this clinic, the students will gain valuable experience that will prepare them to assist should a local mass vaccination ever be needed, perhaps to deal with a pandemic influenza," said John Madigan, a UC Davis veterinary professor and coordinator of the Veterinary Emergency Response Team. "In such an emergency, it is likely that veterinarians, animal health technicians and veterinary students will be called upon to help."
Valerie Lucus, UC Davis' emergency manager, praised the veterinary students' effort. "The university has a comprehensive emergency management system to respond to events that happen on campus or in the community," Lucus said, "and these students are helping to spread the word about the importance of being prepared for widespread problems."
Indeed, Cheryl Boney, deputy director of public health programs for Yolo County, said: "This drill will help the students and other volunteers learn what the flow of the clinic would be like during a public health vaccination emergency.
"In a real event, the veterinary students' science background will equip them to help screen clients, communicate with the lead public health staff and assist with vaccinations," Boney said. "That, in turn, will free up the physicians and nurses, who may be available but in short supply, to deal with more complex clinical issues."
The Veterinary Emergency Response Team is made up of volunteer veterinary faculty members, technicians and students. The team is activated within Yolo County at the discretion of the Yolo County Office of Emergency Services, which can also make the team available to assist in other counties.
* John Madigan, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, (530) 304-1212, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Cheryl Boney, Yolo County Health Department, (530) 666-8694, email@example.com
* Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843, firstname.lastname@example.org