Dr. Todd Pedersen said he feels lucky to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but he doesn’t want to be the only one.
Pedersen has been a dentist in Schuyler since 2003 and said this year has been the strangest of them all. He and others in his office received the vaccine around two weeks ago.
“It felt kind of good, to tell you the truth,” Pedersen said Monday. “At least, we had done something to try to prevent it … and it makes us more comfortable doing our jobs. So it’s been a good thing. I would really strongly recommend that everybody get the COVID-19 vaccine, if possible.”
As a dentist, Pedersen's daily routine brings him into close physical contact with paitents.
“We’re right there,” he noted. “That’s been scary, but we really feel like we’ve taken our precautions and feel like we’ve done what we could to be as preventative with the COVID virus as we could.”
Those precautions include N95 masks, gloves and face shields, as well as spraying down the exam rooms.
At the Schuyler Veterinary Clinic, the normal way of doing things has also changed.
“We’ve been doing curbside service since last March, simply because we have a very small front office,” Office Manager Sharon Bohmont said. “We couldn’t do social distancing, and we have a small staff that we wanted to protect.”
Residents will call when they arrive at the office. A staff member goes out to the car and gets the animal. The staff member then takes the animal to see the doctor. Once the exam is complete, the staff will return the animal to the owner's car.
If it’s something routine, the doctor will stay inside, but if not, the doctor will come back outside.
“(The animals) do very well by themselves,” Bohmont said. “Sometimes your children are a lot better than if you are there. They do very well. Most dogs on a leash, they come in, they like to come in. “
Veterinarians are another group that has received the vaccine, and Bohmont said seven people in the office were vaccinated. She said no one who got the vaccine in the office experience a reaction other than a sore arm.
“We’re just glad to get the vaccine,” she said. “(We’re) hoping to get back to some type of a normal lifestyle here, probably in the next three or four months.”
Until a large portion of the population has received their vaccine, residents will still have to wear masks, wash hands frequently and social distance, Bohmont noted.
“We know the vaccine doesn’t always protect you 100%,” she added. “So you still have to be very careful.”
Bohmont, like Pedersen, encourages everyone to get vaccinated.
Pedersen said he had a sore arm for a couple of days, but nothing else.
“It helps with peace of mind,” he said. “That maybe if you get it or if it’s still around, you’ll be more able to fight the virus and be healthier.”
About a month ago, he had COVID-19, Pedersen said. He noted it was minor but he was out for 10 days.
“It seems like the vaccinations for everybody’s going to take time,” Pedersen said. “The precautions are going to be important to follow, even though it’s getting old… You can’t give up your guard yet. We (have to) continue to do what’s best for the general population and try to minimize the spread.”
Carolyn Komatsoulis is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach her via email at email@example.com.