It would seem that dentists in California will be taking on fresh responsibilities amid the coronavirus pandemic. They have now been authorised to handle COVID-19 vaccinations as well.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) recently gave its approval on a public health emergency waiver, which gave dental practitioners the authority to administer vaccines to patients. The age bracket of those who can receive a shot from a dentist was 16 and above.
The waiver stated that dentists who were acting within the scope as provided by the order may initiate and administer independently a COVID-19 vaccine to those who are aged 16 and above. It specified that vaccines that could be administered are those that have been approved by the FDA.
Aside from administering the COVID-19 vaccine, the waiver also stated that dentists can also initiate and administer diphenhydramine and epinephrine in case there is a case of a severe allergic reaction.
There is one caveat though, as those California dentists who would be allowed to administer the vaccine must be able to complete a training program provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This was among the requirements provided in the order.
There were four kinds of training that dentists need to undergo. These include "COVID-19 Vaccine Training: General Overview of Immunization," "Best Practices for Healthcare Providers," "What Every Clinician Should Know about COVID-19 Vaccine Safety" and "What Clinicians Need to Know About the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines," and the "Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine: What Healthcare Professionals Need to Know."
The order also provided that the dentist must comply with state and federal recordkeeping requirements. Dentists who administer the vaccine must provide documentation to the primary care provider of the patient as applicable and that the information must be entered into the appropriate immunization registry of the state.
A news release made by the California Dental Association applauded the decision that allowed dentists to administer the vaccines. It noted that dentists, as part of their dental education, receive extensive training in pathology, anatomy, and pharmacology. There are around 36,000 dentists who are in the state of California.