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CMSRU students begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations

Today, Cooper University Health Care began vaccinating medical students from its medical school affiliate, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU).

Annette C. Reboli, MD, dean of CMSRU, kicked off the student vaccination clinic by receiving her first dose of the vaccine, administered by third-year medical student Nicholas Daroshefski. Dr. Reboli, an infectious diseases physician and epidemiologist, is a strong advocate for vaccinating medical students in the early phases of vaccine distribution. By receiving her vaccine in front of students, she hoped to instill confidence in the vaccine’s safety and encourage students to get vaccinated themselves.

A CMSRU student shows off a sticker that states they received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“At a time when there is a projected shortage of physicians, it is vital for U.S. medical students to safely progress in their clinical education and continue supporting professional health care teams inside the hospital,” noted Dr. Reboli.  “In addition, the vaccination of medical students prepares them to serve as early frontline volunteers as we plan mass vaccination clinics in our communities. This will be the largest public health initiative in the history of the U.S., and we will need all hands on deck.”

One hundred CMSRU students received the vaccine today.  The remaining 300-plus students who make up the school’s student body will have the opportunity to be vaccinated in the coming weeks, as more student vaccination clinics are scheduled. New Jersey medical students are included in Phase 1a of vaccine distribution, and CMSRU is one of the first medical schools in the country to begin rolling out the vaccine to students, thanks to the support of Cooper University Health Care.

A CMSRU student receives the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Today marks another important step forward in the battle against COVID-19 with the vaccination of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University students to further strengthen our ability to serve the public in health care settings. We are simultaneously creating a secure vaccine distribution workforce for the Southern New Jersey region,” said Kevin O’Dowd, JD, co-CEO of Cooper.

“The medical students at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University are an important part of the team at Cooper already and now will also serve as crucial medical volunteers in our vaccination efforts over the next few months. Therefore it is vital for us to vaccinate these future physicians now,” said Anthony J. Mazzarelli, MD, JD, MBE, co-CEO.

Last Tuesday, Cooper University Health Care became one of the first hospitals in New Jersey and the Philadelphia region to begin vaccinations of its frontline health care workforce.  So far more than 600 employees have been vaccinated. Cooper anticipates receiving enough vaccines to offer the vaccination to all 8,000+ team members over the coming weeks and months. The vaccination is voluntary.

CMSRU is the only four-year, MD-granting school in southern New Jersey.  Developed through a partnership between Cooper University Health Care and Rowan University, CMSRU is a proudly mission-driven school focused on developing highly skilled and socially conscious physician leaders who value a patient-centered, team approach to health care. In 2019, CMSRU received the Association of American Medical College’s Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement, a reflection of its strong culture of service. Currently, 406 medical students are enrolled and nearly 650 biomedical scientists, physicians, researchers and other medical professionals hold faculty appointments at CMSRU.

“Our students are passionate about serving the health and wellness needs of the community,” added Dr. Reboli.  “As we move into the community vaccination phase, they will be instrumental in providing the vaccine not only in Camden, but throughout the South Jersey region.”