08:14 AM

‘Do it for your family’

STC Nursing students begin their volunteer work assisting with Covid vaccinations in local communities


STC Nursing student Cassandra Martinez administers a Covid vaccine to a guest as NAH Dean Dr. Jayson Valerio (back) looks on recently at the college’s first vaccine drive Aug. 18 at Pecan Campus.

The words don’t come so easily for Maria Rodriguez when she tries to describe her experiences as a medical professional on the frontlines of a global pandemic.

Opting to return to school in order to complete her Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) at South Texas College, Rodriguez says she has been working in emergency medicine for the last eight years, the last five which have been spent as a paramedic, while gaining valuable insight into the hospital setting, she said.

Now among those STC nursing students who were volunteering their time recently to administer the Covid-19 vaccine to those in the community, Rodriguez says the images of people struggling to breathe are what sticks her mind.

“I have helped people who have had critical oxygen saturation, which is typical with Covid-19, and it has been important to know that I was helping in the community,” Rodriguez said. “I highly encourage those individuals who are not vaccinated to become vaccinated. It is important for them to have that line of defense for themselves and for their family.

“There are families who have small children who are not able to be vaccinated, and if you can provide that form of frontline defense for yourself, it can also help your family,” Rodriguez said.

“There are families who have small children who are not able to be vaccinated, and if you can provide that form of frontline defense for yourself, it can also help your family."
STC ADN student and paramedic Maria Rodriguez

Following through with an announcement of a partnership to begin utilizing nursing students to assist with vaccination drive events at all campuses, STC in collaboration with Hidalgo County held the first of their vaccination clinics earlier this week.

The college and county are seeking to help mitigate the spread of the novel virus by providing the vaccines free of charge to students, faculty and staff.

STC President Dr. Ricardo J. Solis, and trustees Paul R. Rodriguez and Danny Guzman visited the vaccination drive on Wednesday morning.

“Even though we don't have ‘community’ in our name anymore, we still have the community in our hearts,” said STC trustee Paul R. Rodriguez. “We started the whole (vaccination) program last year in Starr County. We were the first providers of vaccinations on our campus in Rio Grande. This continues that level of commitment to our community and hope that soon we will be considered a certified provider.”

Leaders with STC and Hidalgo County have emphasized that they intend to work collaboratively, alongside their counterparts in Starr County, to provide effective and equitable COVID-19 vaccines to community members.

“I'd like to thank Dr. (Jayson) Valerio and his students and staff and of course thank Dr. (Ricardo) Solis for coordinating this event,” said STC trustee Danny Guzman.

“I think it’s very important for everybody to get vaccinated and we need the people to get vaccinated,” Guzman said. “I would like to thank the county judge Richard Cortez and county commissioners of course for partnering with STC to vaccinate students and the general public.”