Vaccination stations: time for dentists to stand up and be counted

vaccinationVaccination is the word on everyone’s lips today – but it comes heavy with connotation, weighed down by hope.

I know that we are all hoping ‘the V-word’ will be what digs us out of this crisis, but we are so far from making it out of the woods. The task that lies ahead of us is monumental.

I have a very simple belief. As dentists (and hygienists), we need to play our part. I want to see an army of dental professionals offering their time and skills to the national vaccination effort.

This is our population. These are our people: they are patients, team members, and colleagues (both past and future).

Put bluntly: this is our duty. 

Time to mobilise

I’ve spoken to the vaccination centres. They are desperate to increase capacity, but are still looking to find ‘sustainable models’ of doing so. There is a great need for vaccinators and no guidance on how to meet that need with any sort of innovation.

When I offered my own time the response was immediate – and grateful.

As dentists, we are not always the most fondly-looked-upon profession. Nobody really wants dentistry, but once again, the country is crying out for our help. What better way to prove (yet again) to the populace that we care? 

We have all suffered under the impact of the virus. The more time we give now, the sooner we can return normality to all aspects of our lives. 

It doesn’t matter whether the moral imperative or the basic common sense of pulling together sounds more convincing to you. What’s important is that we all step up, and that we do it quickly.

It’s time for the dental profession to mobilise.

Certification is no hardship

We can’t walk in tomorrow and start doling out injections, of course. There are some steps we all need to go through to meet our legal requirements. Even once those are completed we must wait for our own jabs to take effect before we can vaccinate with more confidence.

But the last I checked, there were more than 66 million people in this country, and only a few million have received the vaccine so far. There is no shortage of work to be done.

Personally, I believe the vaccination effort needs to run through all hours of the day. If enough of us join then the only thing holding us back will be the doses of the vaccine itself. Giving up a day, or even an afternoon/evening session, is only a small part of our working week.

I do pray that our government has ordered sufficient quantities to make the country safe, but I cannot control that.

What I can control is my own contribution. And if I can help free up our colleagues on the front line of general medical care even a little then I am compelled to act.

I’m not getting into whether we should or shouldn’t have to become certified. I know some of our colleagues believe this to be a big ask – but I have looked into the process and any of us are equal to the task.

It involves multiple choice questionnaires across several modules.

They take a few hours to complete: they are a far cry from the level of education we have already gone through – or already committed to doing as a condition of our ongoing registration as dentists.

We are not above this work. Our time is precious – so let’s spend it wisely, and use that time to help the national effort.

It’s something we can all do: and because we can, we must. 

This article first appeared in Implant Dentistry Today magazine. You can read the latest issue here.

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