CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- We could be just one week away from the possible roll-out of the biggest medical mission in the world - the COVID-19 vaccines.
Among those on the front line are students from UNC's Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
Whether they're a few months or a few years from graduation, they will be mobilized in the effort to educate and inoculate Americans. And for those who are reluctant to get vaccinated and want more information, a pharmacist is often the easiest to reach source of knowledge.
"Pharmacists absolutely are playing a huge role in trying to stem the epidemic. They are very prepared healthcare delivery experts," said the Dean of the Eshelman School, Angela Kashuba.
She says one of the most important parts of student training involves vaccines noting, "vaccine instruction this year is absolutely critical and our students are highly engaged in the process."
Even before they graduate, UNC pharmacy students are deployed in the community and called on to do everything from giving vaccinations to administering COVID-19 tests.
"Our students do go out on rotations into community pharmacies or into hospital settings," said Kashuba, who has seen the misinformation being circulated on social media.
She knows it will take a concerted effort by healthcare professionals to educate Americans with the facts needed to make an informed decision.
Because she knows without widespread inoculation, the pandemic will continue.
"Pharmacists, as being highly accessible, and being trusted, are also available for educating the public and providing them with the most up to date, most evidence based information," Kashuba said.
According to the dean, her troops from the pharmacy school are not only prepared to do battle against the pandemic, they also realize they're about to be make history.
"Being a part of stemming this pandemic is something that they are very prepared to do and excited to get involved in."
Kashuba is hopeful her students and entire pharmacy community will play a role in convincing the vast majority of Americans to get the shots that she believes will put an end to the world's worst health crisis in a century.