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Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
The Observer

The Recap Episode 7: Notre Dame holds mass vaccination clinic

In this episode of The Recap, host Ryan Peters details the mass vaccination clinic held at Compton Family Ice Arena over the weekend, Pasquerilla West Hall's new format for their signature event, PDub's Closet, and professor Cara Ocobock's science kits for children.

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The Recap is available to stream on Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, RadioPublic and Spotify.

Ryan Peters: From the News Department of The Observer, this is The Recap. I’m Ryan Peters, and I’ll be hosting this episode of The Observer’s news podcast — serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross.

Over the past week, the University has seen a slight uptick in positive COVID-19 cases. The 7-day moving average has increased from 16.4 as of March 20 to 17.9 as of March 26. Students with surveillance testing dates next Friday, Saturday or Sunday will be rescheduled in observance of Easter. The University recently announced they will receive enough doses of the Pfizer vaccine for all students to be vaccinated in mid-April. Students are encouraged to use the on-campus vaccination site when available.

Now it’s time for this week’s major news stories. In partnership with the Indiana Department of Health and St. Joseph County Health Department, the University held a mass vaccination clinic at the Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday and Saturday. With the help of medical professionals, the National Guard, University officials, city and county police forces and volunteers, 5,760 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were administered during the two-day, outdoor drive-thru clinic. Deputy health officer for St. Joseph County Mark Fox said the streamlined process at the clinic allowed the process to be much more efficient than those of other local efforts.

Mark Fox: It's essentially 240 doses per hour, for 12 hours a day. By comparison, you know, the biggest vaccine site in the county right now is the county health department site at St. Hedwig, which is doing about 1,100 doses a day. So we're doing 5,000 doses a week — 5,000 to 5,500 a week. So this does a week's worth of vaccination in two days. 

Ryan Peters: Fox said the state was in charge of most of the planning for the clinic, but the University provided staff to help with traffic management and volunteers to serve as interpreters for Hispanic county residents receiving the vaccine. 

Mark Fox: Notre Dame was helping recruit mostly students or faculty and staff who could be interpreters, as we expect, there could be a significant Hispanic population coming. And so, you know, we put out a call for volunteers for that and had an overwhelming response.

Ryan Peters: Transitioning to dorm news now, Pasquerilla West Hall is currently holding their signature event, PDub’s Closet, in a virtual format. The event, which began March 22 and runs through April 2, consists of the women of Pasquerilla West collecting clothing donations from each dorm and selling each item for $1 to $5. All proceeds and unsold items are donated to the South Bend Center for the Homeless. This year, the pandemic has forced the event to be held virtually through Instagram. Junior and event commissioner Maria Teel said the virtual format has allowed the event to reach more people and collect more clothes.

Maria Teel: We actually just extended our sale period. It used to be only one week, but we’ve actually bumped it up to two weeks because we have so many great things we want to sell. 

Ryan Peters: Some items that are deemed more appropriate to be donated, such as winter gear, are not resold to students and go straight to donation. Due to the increase in donations, sophomore hall president Maura Hogaboom said they are looking for other organizations to donate clothes to in order to avoid overwhelming the Center for the Homeless.

Maura Hogaboom: We thought that might overwhelm whatever system that they have for COVID clothing donations there, so we're gonna definitely look into partnering with some of the other places we've worked with before like St. Margaret's house or Hope Ministries in South Bend.

Ryan Peters: In our final story for the week, when Notre Dame professor Cara Ocobock became frustrated with the available options for science kits for children online, she decided to make her own. Ocobock started out by just creating a kit with a manual and ingredients as a birthday gift for her niece. However, she quickly found that there was a high demand for science projects for kids stuck at home due to the pandemic. Ocobock has developed 28 different experiments and used funding to buy materials that families may not have access to.

Cara Ocobock: And then it was that accessibility that made me sit and think like, well, great, they can access the lab manual, but can they access the magnets or the borax or the benzoic acid or like the iron oxide powder. So there were several levels of like, well, they can't get the materials. So what good does it do?

Ryan Peters: In order to reach the needs of as many children as possible, Ocobock and fourth-year graduate student Morgan Munsen paid to have the manual translated to Spanish.

Morgan Munsen: So one of the things that we did with our first round of funding was actually a paid translator to translate the whole manual into Spanish. And not only did that help to serve the population here in South Bend, but it's also now re-released online on Cara’s website for free for anyone around the world to access.

Ryan Peters: With the help of the Science Policy Initiative at Notre Dame, the Eck Institute for Global Health and the Hammes Bookstore, Ocobock has now given 150 kits to St. Adalbert’s school and 500 to the St. Joseph County Library. 

That’s all for this episode of The Recap. Join us next week for a new summary of the major headlines on the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross campuses. Signing off from the Observer news department, I’m Ryan Peters. 


Music by Ryan Neff