COVID vaccination effort is the shot in the arm we all need

vaccinationEddie Scher reflects on his career, and his experience as a part-time volunteer against COVID-19. 

At the time of writing, I am now several weeks into my new career as a part-time volunteer in the vaccination effort against COVID-19. I hasten to add that I’m fitting this around my days in practice: implant dentistry is not done with me yet!

The experience has been an interesting one, but overwhelmingly positive. Above all else, I’m pleased to be doing my part in helping the country dig its way out of the pandemic.

I will confess that the work itself is not as mentally stimulating as performing implant surgery. The novelty of having patients actually thank me for giving them an injection hasn’t worn off yet!

The sense of gratitude from each person we vaccinate is almost overwhelming. So too is watching the efficiency and organisation on show at the centre I volunteer in. I’m already seeing the considerable resources of the NHS being brought to bear on making volunteering more flexible as the systems bed in and scheduling software comes into play.

I have spent my career working within the collaborative but comparatively smaller circles of multidisciplinary dentistry. Being part of this is a very different experience, and the sense of so many people pulling together for the greater good is humbling to be a part of. 

All in a day’s work

It strikes me that the need for this work isn’t going to be going away any time soon. I still fervently believe that we as a profession should be going through the process to become certified and volunteer our time as vaccinators while this monumental national effort is ongoing.

I’ve said before (and will do so again) that volunteering is part of our duty as healthcare professionals. However, I honestly believe that it has other benefits.

Demonstrating our profession’s ability to take the vaccination in our stride helps us, too. In a world where the likelihood of similar pandemics is only increasing, and where the emergence of new strains of COVID-19 already means that we’re likely to need many millions of booster injections, the need for trained vaccinators is a given.

Why couldn’t this become a part of the services that dental practices can offer patients in future?

I also believe this could work for pharmacies. Although, unless there are any dual-qualified pharmacists turned dentists among our readers I’ll leave that for another time.

We already see more of the population more regularly than any other healthcare professionals. So, adding vaccination into dental practices strikes me as common sense, now I understand the process better.

Not only would this be an extra revenue stream for our practices, but – arguably more importantly – it could relieve pressure on our medics.

Given the last 12 months I think we can all agree why that’s important.

The question, as in all things, is whether we have the appetite for a change like this.

Survival beyond adversity

Coronavirus has shaken the world to its core: it has disrupted the natural order of our professional and personal lives.

Nobody likes change, especially when thrust upon us. However, failing to look for the opportunities presented to us by these hardships would be a waste.

We must adapt to survive. Can we take this lesson and use it to thrive, instead?

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

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