Dental Tribune International

Californian dentists allowed to join COVID-19 vaccination effort

By Franziska Beier, Dental Tribune International
January 12, 2021

SACRAMENTO, Calif., U.S.: As a result of the Californian Dental Association’s (CDA) endeavors, dentists have been authorized to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in order to accelerate its dissemination. Dentists will be able to vaccinate people aged 16 and older after completion of a special training course.

Currently, California is in the process of providing the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals, with dentists falling in this first phase. According to a press release by the CDA, the association has made efforts to enable dentists to take part in the immunization strategy. Owing to this, and in order to address the state’s shortage of health care providers authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines, the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) approved a waiver on Jan. 4. It allows dentists to give vaccines that are approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration to people who are at least 16 years old. CDA emphasized that it advocates that dentists be vaccinated themselves first before joining the vaccination effort.

Presently, a total of over two million COVID-19 vaccinations have been distributed in California and over half a million people have received the first dose, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC). With roughly 30,000 licensed dentists in California, the approved waiver is likely to have a considerable impact on the dissemination of the vaccine.

Dr. Richard Nagy, a board member of the CDA, said he and the Californian dentists welcome the decision. “As dentists we are the experts in giving injections. We give them in places that are rather challenging, inside the mouth where there is a tongue, where there is bone and ligament,” he told ABC10 News. Dentists interested in joining the vaccination effort will most likely administer the vaccines at hospitals, patient centers and clinics, he said.

Education before vaccination

The CDA’s press release states: “Dentists already have the ability to practice outside of their traditional scope of practice during declared states of emergency under the direction of government entities.” The DCA waiver specifies the required training, which has a special focus on vaccine administration, contraindications and adverse reactions, that dentists must complete. The training is free of charge and can be completed on a self-study basis.

“As part of the waiver, dentists will need to complete a 3-hour class through the CDC in order to be trained on the specifics of the COVID vaccine, especially in terms of handling any allergies or side effects,” said Nagy. “Dentists want to do what they can to help get things back to normal,” he added.

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