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“The door of hope” – Chiropractors step up to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations

Author: Nicole Taylor Date: Jul 20, 2021 Blog
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Canadian chiropractors answered the call when the country needed more vaccinators

The CCA is proud of its members who have done their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and gone even further by taking additional training courses to help vaccinate more Canadians at government-run clinics. Please read our statement on vaccination and immunization:

Vaccination is not within the scope of chiropractic practice in Canada. Notwithstanding, the Canadian Chiropractic Association recognizes that vaccination is a safe and effective public health practice for the prevention of infectious diseases. Members are encouraged to refer all patient questions, consultation and education regarding immunization and vaccinations to the appropriate public health authorities and/or health professional whose scope of practice includes vaccination.

Dr. Joannie Dupont’s patient is on the verge of tears. The Quebec chiropractor is used to caring for patients in pain and takes pride in her ability to reduce their discomfort. But today, the patient’s pain isn’t physical. It’s emotional, and Dr. Dupont is helping ease it – by vaccinating her.

Vaccinating an entire population is a colossal undertaking, and provincial governments recognized they would need support from many healthcare professionals. In Quebec and Manitoba, chiropractors were invited to participate. Their involvement in this nationwide effort to end the pandemic speaks to the healthcare system’s growing understanding of the important role chiropractors play in Canadians’ health.

Dr. Joannie Dupont at a vaccination clinic in Montreal, QC.
Dr. Joannie Dupont at a vaccination clinic in Montreal, QC.

Dr. Dupont is just one of many chiropractors who answered the call. The emotional patient sitting across from her shares that her father recently died of COVID-19. She wasn’t able to be with him when he passed. These are tears of relief that she is finally able to take steps to return to normal. But they are also tears of gratitude to Dr. Dupont, who is helping keep her safe from the virus that took her father.

“Vaccination is kind of the door of hope for those people,” she says. “They couldn’t be there for the ones they lost, but they can protect what’s left and protect other people’s loved ones. Helping with vaccinations is a way to fuel the impatience in my belly of moving on. It was an action I could actually have control over. As soon as they asked chiropractors to help, I knew it was my cue.”

Following the footsteps of other healthcare providers, Dr. Dupont went through intensive training – everything from online courses to practising jabs on oranges. She is now vaccinating at five clinics across the Montreal area alongside other healthcare professionals. Her weeks are long but fulfilling, splitting her time between three days at her chiropractic clinic and two days vaccinating. By her estimates, she has vaccinated more than 5,000 people. “Depending on the day, it’s between 80 – 120 people. Some days it feels like a drop in the bucket, but each jab counts,” she says.

Administering the jabs isn’t the only important job in the process. The vaccine must be drawn into the vials at the correct dose and dilution. That’s where chiropractors in Manitoba, like Dr. Marie-Josée Bernier, come in.

Dr. Marie-Josée Bernier at a vaccinations clinic in Winnipeg, MB.
Dr. Marie-Josée Bernier at a vaccination clinic in Winnipeg, MB.

Dr. Bernier jumped at the chance to help when the Manitoba government enlisted chiropractors’ help. After completing training courses on COVID-19 vaccines, she began working at Winnipeg’s RBC Convention Center vaccine “supersite” in April. In addition to administering the vaccine, she has also been tasked with preparing doses and performing advanced informed consent. The clinic aims to immunize one person every 60 seconds, so she estimates she has already helped thousands of Manitobans.

“I wanted to be a part of the solution in the fight against COVID,” she says. “I am extremely proud to be contributing to these efforts and grateful for the opportunity to do so. Everyone is so appreciative of the work that we do, which makes it that much more fulfilling. I have had some interesting encounters and met a few fainters along the way, but rest assured we are always there to quite literally catch them when they fall!”

Manitoba and Quebec’s chiropractors have been integral to vaccinating their populations. With their extensive knowledge of human anatomy and experience communicating directly with patients, it’s not surprising chiropractors were asked to contribute.

“It was a unique and important opportunity for chiropractors in Manitoba to be a part of the clinical team alongside nurses and doctors,” says Dr. Bernier. “Sometimes chiropractors are perceived as being on the outskirts of healthcare, and this time we are participating in the centre of it. I may be tooting the horn a little, but chiropractors bring a wealth of knowledge and experience working with people, and we also bring the all-important top-notch bedside manner!”

CA Board member Dr. Gerald Olin and CCA member Dr. Tim Pethrick at a vaccinations clinic in Winnipeg, MB
Many chiropractors answered the call to help vaccinate Canadians. CCA Board member Dr. Gerald Olin (left) and CCA member Dr. Tim Pethrick (right) are seen here at a vaccination clinic in Winnipeg, MB.
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