Pulse - March 2021 - 4

PULSE PERSPECTIVE

RMCNV@YAHOO.COM

TO BE, OR NOT TO BE...A VACCINATOR?

W

e have been under the dark cloud of Covid-19 for at least a year. A lot has changed in our lives, either
for the better or for worse. Masks and social distancing have become integral parts of our daily existence
whether we like them or not. New habits such as avoiding large gatherings, avoiding staying indoors in
public places, constant washing/sanitizing our hands and surfaces we touch, wearing of PPE, and other disease prevention practices are now commonplace. All these measures are being implemented to help stop the spread of this
deadly viral disease.
Vaccines have been made available but not for everybody yet.
Hopes are high that these vaccines will be effective in ameliorating
the devastating effects of coronavirus infections. The emergence of
new strains being discovered here and in other countries have led
to some doubts about the effectiveness of the present crop of vaccines. However, given the present statistics like increasing positivity
rates, low hospitalization capacity, high morbidity and mortality rates,
people have been clamoring to get the vaccines to gain at least some
measure of protection rather than being totally vulnerable.
Due to the high demand, the government has created a tiered
system to identify and prioritize the different groups of people who would get the vaccines first. Veterinarians and their staff
have been classified as essential workers early in the pandemic
and were placed in the first Phase 1a. But unfortunately, due to
lack of communication, and likely confusion between the powers
that be, the implementation was a bit of a disaster. (Can I use the
term SNAFU?). The message boards began to fill up with personal
experiences by veterinarians, RVTs, and other staff on how ridiculously easy or how extremely difficult it was to get vaccinated.
Some just made appointments or walked in and got their shots.
Others were turned away at the door and made to leave despite
securing an appointment.
The SCVMA has been at the forefront of trying to clarify the
issue between whether veterinarians and staff can get vaccinated.
Emails are being sent out regularly to all members updating them
on whatever latest information we receive with regards to this
matter. Currently, according to the LACDPH, veterinarians are
now classified as Phase1b. For those who managed to get their first
vaccinations, you may make appointments for your booster shots as
long as you bring your vaccination record and a photo ID.
The initial declared goal of the new Biden administration was
to vaccinate 100 million arms in 100 days. A herculean task for
any government. In an effort to increase the manpower needed to
vaccinate such large numbers of people and to reduce the load on
other health providers, dentists, pharmacy technicians, retirees, and
dental/nursing/medical students have been recruited to help give
shots to people. The first US dentist gave a coronavirus vaccine in
Oregon last December. There were initial reports that veterinarians
were also considered to be part of this vaccination support group
but as of yet, there has been no final word on whether or not we
are included.
As a group, I believe I can confidently say that if given the opportunity, a majority of us would jump at the chance to help out if
we can. We have never lacked for volunteers whenever there is a
disaster. Can we just stand by the wayside in a pandemic when our
skills at vaccination may help turn the tide? And aside from pediatricians, I honestly think that veterinarians are more experienced in

4

vaccinating individuals rather than dentists. It only requires a small
shift in perspective to vaccinate a human arm instead of a puppy or
kitten. And I sincerely doubt that towels, leashes, and muzzles will
need to be involved. Although, I could be wrong about that.
At the recently concluded CVMA HOD meeting last January,
this particular topic was broached among the participants in order
to get a feel of how we should approach this matter. The pros and
cons of volunteering to vaccinate people were enumerated and
discussed. As expected, everyone was very receptive to the idea of
being able to assist the government in vaccinating as many people
as possible in the shortest amount of time. Helping out has always
been the hallmark of veterinarians. This particular situation was no
exception. Soon however, the discussion turned towards the potential difficulties and roadblocks we may encounter if we engaged in
such activities. And these arguments are what caught my attention.
It was pointed out that first of all, we as veterinarians are already
so busy as it is, even busier than pre-covid, where would we find
the time to volunteer? But as some said, if you really want to do it,
you will find and make the time for it. Granted. Next was the fact
that we may have to undergo some sort of training or certification, or even a waiver to be able to vaccinate humans. Should be
easy enough to do. But to my mind, the most potentially dangerous afer-effect would be that if we are allowed to start " treating
humans " through vaccination, it will provide an opening for the
human medical practitioners to encroach upon our own territory.
The CVMA has been fighting long and hard to prevent physical therapists from practicing upon our patients without the direct
supervision of a veterinarian. Currently, the VMB regulations
on Animal Physical Rehabilitation are moving closer to being
adopted into law. If we start vaccinating people, the fear is that we
may be opening a Pandora's Box of repercussions that would be
detrimental to our profession. It might set a precedent of veterinarians practicing on humans and therefore the reverse should also
be allowed. I know that the chances of this scenario playing out
may be unlikely but should we take that chance? There is nothing
set in concrete in the world of politics.
As I write this, it looks like we will remain in a wait and see
situation. The problem now has shifted from a potential lack of
personnel to administer the vaccine to the actual lack of vaccines
to be administered. Orders have been given and gears have been
set in motion to remedy the problem. Let us hope that all goes
well and whether we be called to action or not, everybody gets
vaccinated. Sooner, rather than later.

Raymond De Villa, DVM
SCVMA President

MARCH 2021

PULSE



Pulse - March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pulse - March 2021

Pulse - March 2021
Chapter Meetings & Calendar
President’s Perspective
SCVMA Profile
SCVMA Profile
Pulsepoints
Practical Pathology
Veterinarians Key to Planet’s Future, UC Davis Global Health Expert Believes
Medical Leeway
UC Davis Update
Tools for Success
Angel Fund
Dear Tabby
The RVT
Industry Insights
Quick Reference
AVMA Diplomates
Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Resources
Disease Table
Classifieds
From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - March 2021 - Pulse - March 2021
Pulse - March 2021 - Cover2
Pulse - March 2021 - 1
Pulse - March 2021 - 2
Pulse - March 2021 - Chapter Meetings & Calendar
Pulse - March 2021 - President’s Perspective
Pulse - March 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - March 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - March 2021 - Pulsepoints
Pulse - March 2021 - 8
Pulse - March 2021 - 9
Pulse - March 2021 - 10
Pulse - March 2021 - Practical Pathology
Pulse - March 2021 - Veterinarians Key to Planet’s Future, UC Davis Global Health Expert Believes
Pulse - March 2021 - 13
Pulse - March 2021 - 14
Pulse - March 2021 - 15
Pulse - March 2021 - 16
Pulse - March 2021 - 17
Pulse - March 2021 - 18
Pulse - March 2021 - Medical Leeway
Pulse - March 2021 - UC Davis Update
Pulse - March 2021 - Tools for Success
Pulse - March 2021 - Angel Fund
Pulse - March 2021 - Dear Tabby
Pulse - March 2021 - 24
Pulse - March 2021 - The RVT
Pulse - March 2021 - Industry Insights
Pulse - March 2021 - Quick Reference
Pulse - March 2021 - AVMA Diplomates
Pulse - March 2021 - Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Pulse - March 2021 - Resources
Pulse - March 2021 - 31
Pulse - March 2021 - 32
Pulse - March 2021 - Disease Table
Pulse - March 2021 - 34
Pulse - March 2021 - 35
Pulse - March 2021 - 36
Pulse - March 2021 - 37
Pulse - March 2021 - 38
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Pulse - March 2021 - 48
Pulse - March 2021 - 49
Pulse - March 2021 - 50
Pulse - March 2021 - Classifieds
Pulse - March 2021 - From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - March 2021 - Cover3
Pulse - March 2021 - Cover4
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