Getting COVID-19 vaccinations into arms is taking an army of volunteers, some of whom have very different medical backgrounds, including some doctors who do not have any professional experience taking care of humans.
Veterinarians are now serving as volunteer vaccinators in Connecticut.
“Let’s be part of the solution and get out there and maybe help get shots in arms,” said Dr. Lauren Mascola, owner of Petcare Veterinary Services in West Hartford.
This veterinarian has a new medical mission - protecting people amid the pandemic.
“We have bleeding hearts. We want to help,” Dr. Mascola said.
Mascola has already given COVID-19 shots to people at vaccination clinics at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford in recent weeks.
“It’s probably easier. There’s no fur. You’re not worried about anybody biting you or scratching you,” Mascola joked.
A December order from the Connecticut Department of Public Health expanded the pool of medical workers eligible to administer the vaccinations to include qualified emergency medical technicians, dental workers, podiatrists and veterinarians.
“I’m comfortable as far as giving the vaccine into an arm, but I know where my job starts and ends for sure,” Mascola said.
“I immediately said 'right on,'" said Dr. Erika Ball, owner of Cat’s Corner Veterinary Hospital in Oxford. She quickly signed up to get through the training, testing and approval process. "This is exactly what I can do. This is what I’m meant to do."
“We give more vaccines than anybody. So, right up our alley,” said Dr. Ball.
“It’s actually going to be maybe even emotional for me,” Dr. Ball said. “I’m so excited to do it. I can’t even wait.”
“It’s not really out of the realm of normal for us,” said Dr. Caitlin McIntosh, owner of Beckett & Associates Veterinary Services in Glastonbury.
“I see a lot of pet pigs, sheep, goats, alpacas, llamas, horses,” Dr. McIntosh said.
She looks forward to helping humans through the vaccination process.
“If there’s anything that I can do to get the general public vaccinated at a faster speed than it would otherwise happen, that’s obviously very important,” Dr. McIntosh said.
The Department of Public Health continues to accept both medical and non-medical volunteers to help at vaccination clinics around the state.