MISSOULA, Mont. - As mass vaccination clinics continue in Missoula, one group of students are stepping up to play a big role.

Pharmacy students at the University of Montana are on the front lines as part of a committee called, 'Operation: Immunization."  They're responsible for organizing vaccination clinics and administering hundreds of vaccine doses each week. 

Ken Chatriand, the pharmacy manager at University of Montana, said these students have been an instrumental part of these clinics. 

"I can plan a mass clinic, but if I don't have immunizers along side of me, we can't do anything," Chatriand said. "They've really been able to step up. We did 800 plus last week, we have another 800 plus this week. This is really just the heart of the griz and what they're doing is just amazing." 

The students go under extensive training and have lots of practice before working at the clinics.  They are trained and certified as pharmacy-based immunizers in their first couple of weeks of the doctoral program.

Third year pharmacy student Travis Schweer said it's been a great way to learn patient care and develop better people skills. 

"Some individuals are extremely excited to get the vaccine and then some may be a little hesitant," Schweer said. "So, [I reassure] them that we're here, we're trying to do this, it's a good cause, and hopefully there's an end in sight. Being able to comfort people and be there is awesome." 

These students serve as volunteers and take part in the clinics on top of going to class full time. 

Just like sign ups for getting the vaccine fill up fast, the sign ups to give them fill up just as fast, Chatriand said. 

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