Part of the job of rounding up people to inject vaccines into arms at UC Davis went to Fire Capt. Scott Hatcher, and now he’s being recognized for work that resulted in a crew of student and career firefighters and EMTs working alongside nurses at the campus’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
The California Emergency Medical Services Authority announced it had chosen Hatcher to receive a Meritorious Service Medal, to be presented during a virtual awards ceremony July 1.
The EMS Authority said Hatcher sprang into action when Student Health and Counseling Services needed help staffing the vaccine clinic at the ARC.
“Going above and beyond the call of duty, Hatcher responded with tremendous effort organizing vaccinators and playing an integral role in the development of the vaccination clinic itself. His plan created amazing results, with student firefighters, student EMTs, and 27 of 59 fire employees becoming vaccinators, all administering over 5,000 vaccines at the site.”
Hatcher said it just so happened that when the campus was planning for a vaccine clinic, the state said local agencies could request exemptions to allow EMTs to administer vaccines.
“As soon as we heard about the opportunity, we jumped at it,” he said. “Our department was perfectly positioned to meet the need thanks to our educational training programs, student employees, and the willingness of our career staff.”
After the campus Fire Department got the go-ahead to let EMTs administer vaccines, everyone from student employees to career staff and even the fire chief received training and began vaccinating members of the community. Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht said UC Davis was among the first agencies in the state to do so.
He said he was both impressed by Hatcher’s efforts toward “making UC Davis a safer, and healthier, place for our entire community” and grateful for the collaboration between the department and Student Health and Counseling Services.
“The effort has been an incredible partnership in the truest sense of the word,” Trauernicht said, adding that the vaccine clinic has been a bright spot after a difficult 2020.
“For many, there was a feeling of being able to ‘move the ball forward’ and make a difference in a situation that many had felt somewhat helpless in up to that point,” he said. “It was also the first time for many that they were regularly around other people than those they had been living with. Making connections with our community is important to the UC Davis Fire Department and working the clinic has brought that back for us in ways that go beyond our traditional response to emergencies.”
Hatcher said he felt surprised, honored and humbled to receive the award. “To receive this award means a great deal; however, my amazing team and I were simply doing what our community needed,” he said.
Fire Department staff are still on the front lines of the vaccination push on campus, and the clinic at the ARC has now administered more than 18,000 doses of vaccines, Cindy Schorzman, medical director of Student Health and Counseling Services, or SHCS, said yesterday (June 7).
“EMS personnel are still administering most of the vaccines,” she said. “SHCS nurses serve mostly in a triage role as well as helping coordinate the clinic, and we have temp RN staff who do some of the vaccines.”
Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.