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Positively San Diego: Dentist gives back to the community, by vaccinating San Diegans

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Posted at 3:56 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 22:36:27-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)— When more volunteers were needed to give COVID-19 vaccines to San Diegans, dozens of San Diego’s dentists rose to the occasion.

“For months, I watched the pandemic unfold, and I felt helpless,” said Dr. Hoa Audette, a dentist who runs Town Centre Dental Group in Chula Vista.

For Audette, handling needles is no big deal, she’s a Doctor of Dental Surgery.

When California gave dentists the green light to give COVID-19 vaccines, as long as they completed training, she was all in.

“I felt like it was my turn and our turn to do our part in the fight in the pandemic,” she said.

The San Diego County Dental Society estimates more than 100 dentists are signed up to give the vaccine. About 64 went through the San Diego Medical Reserve Corps, and the rest through Sharp Healthcare and Scripps Health.

Like many of her colleagues, Audette has been volunteering to give the shots for weeks now, shutting down her dental practice for each shift.

“It’s about five and a half hours; I vaccinate between 70 and 100 people,” she said. “This is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my career.”

So far, Audette’s favorite place to volunteer has been Sharp’s South Bay Vaccination Super Station in Chula Vista.

“I love volunteering there because my practice is in Chula Vista, so it’s really exciting when I see my old patients,” she said.

Not only does she see some of her dental patients there, but she was also even able to vaccinate one by coincidence.

“Professionally, I feel that it’s our duty. Personally, it’s gratifying to be able to help someone,” said Audette
She calls this one of the most rewarding experiences in her 13 years as a dentist.

Audette plans to continue her work through this pandemic by closing her office a day a week to volunteer.

“I feel so extremely proud to be part of a profession that is taking a fight on this pandemic and taking an active role in fighting this pandemic,” she said.