UM Pharmacy Students Administer More than 100 Flu Shots as Part of ‘Operation Immunization’

OXFORD, Miss. – Student members of the University of Mississippi chapter of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists recently got some hands-on experience while helping to raise awareness of immunizations.

“Working with Operation Immunization was a great learning experience,” said Kayla Hawkins, a second-year professional student and APhA-ASP vice president of clinical affairs. “I was able to interact with my patients and learn the proper technique of giving an immunization.”

Ole Miss Pharmacy Flu Shots

Kayla Hawkins, a second-year professional student in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, gives a flu shot to pharmacy Dean David D. Allen. UM photo by Erin Garrett.

Operation Immunization is an immunization education campaign designed to increase the public’s knowledge of immunizations while raising the number of adults receiving immunizations. As a part of this national patient care project, chapters are encouraged to design and implement an immunization education campaign, as well as recruit volunteers to provide immunizations.

APhA-ASP student members in their first and second professional years assisted with a clinic in the pharmacy student lounge. The students gave 84 flu shots within the School of Pharmacy and 22 more at Physical Plant.

Another event is planned for later this semester in the Lyceum, with the date and time to be announced.

“Our PY1 and PY2 students gained hands-on experience that will only prepare them to be more active participants in their upcoming rotation experiences and beyond,” said Joseph Dikun, graduate assistant in the Department of Pharmacy Administration and APhA-ASP co-adviser. “Through this clinic experience, our PY1 students were provided with early opportunities in patient counseling and the overall understanding of some of the important points that need to be conveyed to their future patients regarding the flu and the vaccination they received.

“Our PY2 students, who are all certified through the APhA Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery Training program, were able to gain more hands-on experience in immunization administration and a deeper understanding of the legal and regulatory issues necessary to implement such a program.”

Sandra Bentley, director of the Student Health Center pharmacy, helped the students coordinate the clinic by providing proper documentation and a refresher course for the PY2 immunizers.

“It’s so rewarding to interact with pharmacy students out of the classroom,” Bentley said. “It was great to get the opportunity to see them develop their skills and grow in confidence.”

The number of immunizations that were administered surprised Hawkins.

“The clinic was a great success,” Hawkins said. “It was held over three days, for one hour per day. In those three hours we were able to give almost 100 immunizations to professional students, graduate students, faculty and staff.”

The APhA-ASP recognizes each chapter that implements an Operation Immunization program in their community, as well as gives regional and national awards for participation. The UM chapter will submit a report to assist APhA in continually developing the program on a national level. The report will include an overview of the planning, implementation and outcomes of the patient care project.

“Our students have the opportunity here to showcase the School of Pharmacy’s collaboration, student participation, originality, and benefit to the university and campus community through this report,” Dikun said. “They are doing some great things, with wonderful ideas for the rest of the academic year.”

For more information about programs in the UM School of Pharmacy, go to