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Public health preparedness course offers students ability to learn about COVID-19 vaccine science in real time

A Penn State course gave students who are working through the COVID-19 pandemic the chance to learn the science of the vaccine in real time as it was rolled out in the U.S. and across the world.

“Vaccines, Immunity, and Homeland Security: Case Study of the SARS-COV-2 Pandemic” was offered this spring as a special topics public health preparedness course, PHP 597. Lessons explored vaccine development, the body’s immunological response to it, laws and policies related to vaccines, vaccine diplomacy and more.

Public health preparedness is an option of the Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security offered online by Penn State College of Medicine through Penn State World Campus.

“Every week this course enhanced my knowledge of this virus and the nation and world’s response to the pandemic, and every week I was able to apply what I learned in this course to my profession,” said Kelly Hollenbeak, a nurse with Penn State Health who worked in a variety of roles during the pandemic, including vaccine advising, COVID screening and working at a vaccination site.

“As a health care worker, this course could not have been more relevant,” she said.

“Students in the course have jobs in public health or health care, and COVID has impacted the scope of their job or the way they do it,” said Gene Lengerich, one of the instructors and the faculty director of the public health preparedness option. Lengerich co-taught with Jennifer Osetek, assistant professor of public health.

Learn more in this Penn State News article

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