For this month’s Partner Spotlight, we sat down with Dr. Sam Sgro to discuss administering COVID-19 vaccines on his days off, the biggest lesson the past 15 months have taught him, and his advice for Canadians experiencing pandemic fatigue.
With over 30 years of experience, Sam currently practices as a principal dentist at Clinique Dentaire Dr. S. Sgro & Dr. J. Lang in Greenfield Park, QC.
Tell us about how you became involved in administering COVID-19 vaccines in the province of Quebec?
When the call went out from the Quebec government in January 2021 that they needed healthcare workers to administer vaccines, I registered right away on the government website. In February, I participated in a 5-hour training session by the Ministry of Health to learn about the different vaccines, their storage, handling, administration, etc. Since the end of March, I’ve been vaccinating on my days off at two of our vaccination sites on the South Shore of Montreal.
What does this opportunity mean to you?
To me, vaccinating represents an opportunity to help our community, and ultimately the province, come out of this pandemic sooner rather than later. It’s a way for me to be actively involved and to do my part to help the members of our community to stay safe and healthy. Hopefully, this will return us to our pre-pandemic enjoyment of life as soon as possible.
Why is it important for dentists to partake in the vaccination effort?
Dentists are an integral part of the healthcare system. We have the skill, knowledge, and the patient management experience to be an important component of the health workers who lend their time to help advance the vaccination effort in Canada. As healthcare providers, this is a way to show that we can be counted on to contribute in a meaningful way. An added bonus for me is that since the vaccination clinics are close to my dental office, I’ve had the pleasure of vaccinating some of my own patients on several occasions.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from this pandemic?
I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from the pandemic is the realization of how truly interdependent we are as a society. The actions of each individual—good or bad—can have a direct effect on the overall outcome of a situation like this. It’s shown me that in a time of crisis, we all need to pull together and cooperate to minimize the possible negative impacts. It becomes vitally important to think of the collective benefits and not only focus on our individual needs.
We’re not out of the woods yet, but the end of the pandemic is in sight. What advice do you have for Canadians who are experiencing pandemic fatigue?
I think that after 15 months of confinement and restrictive measures, everyone is experiencing some degree of pandemic fatigue – and that’s normal. But I believe we’re still in a relatively precarious situation where the downward trend in the number of cases can easily be reversed if we don’t continue to follow the public health recommendations and guidance.
My advice is to enjoy the summer within reasonable limits but stay vigilant. The virus is still among us and the battle is not yet over.