'It's our call to duty': Meet B.C.'s non-traditional COVID-19 vaccinators
VANCOUVER -- When British Columbia’s mass immunization clinics open in April, not all patients will get their vaccine from a doctor or nurse.
By special health order, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is giving many other medical professionals permission to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Dentist Dr. Ryan Bernhauser is among those answering the call.
“We know our way around a syringe, we are very comfortable giving injections, we are experts in infection control,” said Bernhauser. “We are doing it as part of our duty, and part of history as well.”
The partner at Royal Centre Dental Group has offered to work at mass vaccination centres on his days off through the spring and summer.
“I’m strongly in favour of vaccination in general. I believe it’s our duty as members of the community and as health-care professionals to do it,” he said.
Two other dentists and two hygienists at his practice in downtown Vancouver have also signed up to work the clinics.
“It would be nice if we were all deployed at the same place; we would definitely work well together,” said Bernhauser.
Midwives are also on the list of medical professionals who can administer vaccines, and Lehe Spiegelman has stepped forward.
“Vaccination is within our skill set, so midwives are poised and ready to offer this service,” she said. “I have alerted my public health nurses that I’m available and ready to go. There will be some specific training for COVID vaccination through the CDC that I’ll be completing this week, so I can called upon to join clinics hopefully in the next few weeks.”
While the vaccinators will be paid, for most of them, it’s not about the money.
“Certainly the compensation is minimal. I think really the intention here is to bring as many health-care providers as we can together and roll this out as efficiently as we can,” said Spiegelman.
Bernhauser wants to be part of the path to recovery, saying, “The sooner everyone is vaccinated, the sooner we get back to normal.”