How Dentists Can Help Administering COVID19 Vaccines
With the high volume of people now needing to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in the U.S., many medical professionals, experts, and even dental associations and organizations express the overwhelming need for more help to make COVID19 vaccine distribution done as quickly as possible. We are left asking, “can dentists administer covid vaccines?“
There’s a strong urge to get people all over the United States vaccinated safely and securely to stop the spread of COVID-19 and win against the coronavirus infection. That includes letting dentists across the U.S. and the globe legally help in administering the vaccine.
Part of that immense determination is to give dentists the green light to provide those shots; it could mean patients can receive their COVID19 vaccines during their regular dental care visit.
So, can dentists administer COVID vaccines?
Each state has a different viewpoint regarding this matter.
Bracken Killpack, the Executive Director of the Washington State Dental Association, said that it only makes sense to let thousands of dentists help.
He also said that these health care providers have the training and have enough experience to do the job. Especially during a global crisis, “you need to have all hands on deck,” Killpack said.
While others say, the more medical professionals involved in the vaccination process and distribution plan, the better.
However, many dentists say their contribution to vaccine distribution may not come to actual practice any time soon. Safe storage, shipping issues, and different state decisions remain a hot issue.
According to a report from KOMO News, they asked the dental and optometry associations if they are well-prepared to store the vaccines. One vaccine needs to be held at negative 80 degrees.
They say it’s something that still needs to be figured and worked out if dentists or eye doctors get the go-signal to administer vaccines.
We have here information from Pfizer regarding COVID-19 Vaccine U.S. Distribution Fact Sheet highlighting the vaccine storage requirements.
Once a POU receives a thermal shipper with our vaccine, they have three options for storage:
- Ultra-low-temperature freezers, which are commercially available and can extend shelf life for up to six months.
- The Pfizer thermal shippers, in which doses will arrive, can be used as temporary storage units by refilling with dry ice every five days for up to 30 days of storage.
- Refrigeration units that are commonly available in hospitals. The vaccine can be stored for five days at refrigerated 2-8°C conditions.
Many healthcare providers and professionals wonder if there are enough of them to officially administer the COVID19 vaccines to millions of Americans with dentists and other professionals’ help.
As a result of this nation-wide issue, people, dental practices, and many medical practitioners are confused and ask; can dentists administer COVID vaccines?
In California, dental and optometry organizations talk to state officials to expand their job duties, including giving vaccines. In Oregon, dentists are being trained right now, and they are being certified to provide vaccines.
According to KATU, an ABC-affiliated television station, there are currently two states that allow dentists to administer vaccines and one of them in Oregon.
The report says Dr. Barry Taylor, the Executive Director of the Oregon Dental Association, stated that by February or March 2021, dentists could be administering the COVID-19 vaccine. He expresses that it is as simple as getting a flu vaccine.
Getting the COVID19 vaccine will be just like a regular or routine dental visit, Dr. Taylor tells KATU. “You’ll go to a dentist, you’ll get your medical history and take your vital signs, and they’ll make sure there are no contraindications for receiving the vaccine, and they’ll do the vaccine,” Dr. Taylor generously added.
Dr. Taylor says this will help get more COVID-19 vaccines to more people. He tells KATU that dentists are in a unique and advantageous position to reach underserved and rural communities.
The statistics are exact, says Dr. Taylor. “Many people don’t visit their primary care physician.”
That is true; dentists may reach even more people than traditional doctors to administer the shots. About 9% of Americans see a dentist every year but not a physician, which is according to the American Dental Association.
The answer to the question of whether dentists can administer COVID vaccines is now apparent. YES to some enrolled, trained, and qualified dentists in Oregon some other states. While with many different forms, the answer is NOT YET. But maybe soon, they will also have the green light to administer the much-needed COVID vaccine shot.
In recent news, an OHSU dental resident administered one of the first COVID-19 vaccines in the state of Oregon on December 16.
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