Keller Hospital gives UNA nursing students free COVID vaccines

University of North Alabama nursing student Sara Ramey receives the first COVID-19 vaccine dose Thursday at Helen Keller Hospital Well Care Center. [COURTESY, LEAH T. JOHNSON, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH ALABAMA]

FLORENCE – Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions received a real shot in the arm Thursday as Helen Keller Hospital provided them with free COVID-19 vaccines.
The effort was driven by the desire to ensure that front-line workers, including nursing students who provide bedside care, are protected against the disease, university officials said.
“UNA is proud to have this relationship with Helen Keller Hospital,” UNA President Ken Kitts said. “And this initiative provides an additional safety measure for students in the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions who spend time in and learning from the professional healthcare providers at Keller.”
Tera Kirkman, associate dean of the school, pointed out many nursing students are doing clinicals at Keller. She said this was an important gift from the hospital.
“Many of our students don’t have health insurance, so having this vaccination for them makes a big difference in knowing they’re protected against a virus that can have a hefty and expensive toll,” Kirkman said.
Kirkman worked with Keller hospital administration, particularly hospital President Kyle Buchanan, on this initiative.
“This initiative aligns perfectly with our mission to care for the Shoals. Our partnership with UNA and its nursing students allows for the brightest students to learn and care for the Shoals alongside our team,” Buchanan said. “Providing this vaccination to them also allows us to know that those students are functioning in the safest way possible as we work through this pandemic.”
The vaccines were administered in the Keller Well Care Center. The students will receive their second doses in four weeks during their rotations in the hospital.