Dentists to Administer COVID19 Vaccines
Can dentists administer covid vaccines? Many healthcare providers and professionals wonder if enough of them can officially administer COVID19 vaccines to millions of Americans. And not just in the US but also across the globe.
Two of the professionals concerned about vaccination capacity are eye doctors and dentists, who claim they are, in fact, qualified to inject their patients when coming in for routine check-ups and cleanings.
However, many dentists say their contribution to vaccine distribution may not come to execution any time soon. Safe storage and shipping issues and different state decisions on vaccine allocation could cause a delay or pause on any legislation needed to permit dentists to vaccinate people.
As a result, many small and newly-started dental practices are confused and ask; can dentists administer COVID vaccines?
Regardless of these known questions and hindrances, federal health officials still acknowledge and recognize the need for more help.
The American Dental Association offered its backing to dentists who wish to administer a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 once it becomes available. That is according to a resolution passed by the ADA House of Delegates on Oct. 19.
Resolution 91H-2020 states that dentists have the necessary knowledge and skills to administer critical vaccines that prevent life- or health-threatening conditions and protect patients’ and staff’s life and health at the point of care.
In 2009, during the H1N1 pandemic, dentists were allowed to administer the H1N1 vaccinations under limited circumstances.
“Dentists are trained healthcare professionals who can administer critical vaccines to prevent life or health-threatening conditions – and- protect the life and health of patients and staff at the point of care.’ said ADA.
After all, dentists are doctors too.
“Dental professionals are essential members of our health care community, and they have the training, knowledge, and capability to administer vaccinations safely to patients. We urge states to include oral health providers as part of their vaccine distribution plans to ensure people can receive the vaccine as quickly and safely as possible.” a statement from Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, President and CEO for the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement and Catalyst Institute.
The answer to the question “can dentists administer the COVID vaccine? Is now apparent. Yes, they can, but not yet.
Pros of Expanding Access to Vaccines via Dentists
- It would speed the process of immunizing a larger portion of the population.
- It could work to reassure hesitant patients that dental practices are safe places.
- Dentists and their staff members can help upsurge the nation’s medical surge capacity when medical personnel is overwhelmed.
According to the resolution, several states have issued parameter and emergency protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that interrupts some of regulations and statutes to widen dentists’ scope of practice and ease supervision requirements to increase the capacity of the healthcare provider workforce battling the pandemic.
Resolution 91H-2020 also stated that this extension of the scope of practice was centered on dentists having the correct and applicable clinical knowledge and competency to vaccinate in a manner consistent with the fundamental criteria of care. Let’s say, for example, dentists have the training to administer intra-oral and extra-oral shots to provide some particular form of anesthesia. It’s a fact that, in many states, dentists are permitted to administer Botox injections and start IVs for sedations (with the requisite permits).
According to the resolution’s background, these skills can easily translate to the administration of vaccines with the appropriate training.
The state of Oregon, for example, is the only state in the US that allows dentists to administer the vaccine without limitations on the type of vaccine or age group.
The Oregon Dental Association (ODA) hard-pressed for the practice to become legal in 2019, with the help of OHSU and Permanente Dental Associates. Oregon lawmakers passed into law Oregon House Bill 2220, allowing dentists to prescribe and administer vaccines.
Here’s a report from ABC news, if dentists can administer COVID vaccines – allowing dentists to give COVID-19 vaccines could help in distribution. As Dr. Robert Zena, President of the American Association of Dental Boards, said, “There are many dental offices in more rural areas where it’s harder for those people to get access to care. So, the distribution of dentists across the country is ubiquitous,”
Dentists may be able to reach even more people than traditional doctors. According to the American Dental Association, about 9% of Americans see a dentist every year but not a physician.
It’s expected that one or more COVID-19 vaccines will be approved and widely available in 2021. At that point, speeding up the administration of the vaccines will be vital. But if you and your practice are prepared in advance to provide the injections, you will be on top of the heap.
But since state regulations differ, be sure to check yours to confirm that you’re in the position to help your patients, your staff members, and your city or town once approval is granted.