Training underway for California dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccine

Alonzo Osche

California is working to increase the number of people who get the COVID-19 vaccine by adding dentists to the list of health care providers who can give the shots. There are 36,000 dentists across the state now able to administer the vaccine. However, just because they can, doesn’t mean they […]

California is working to increase the number of people who get the COVID-19 vaccine by adding dentists to the list of health care providers who can give the shots. There are 36,000 dentists across the state now able to administer the vaccine. However, just because they can, doesn’t mean they will.KCRA 3 asked Stockton dentist and current President of the California Dental Association Dr. Juddee Tippett-Whyte, “Is there the option to opt-out?”“Absolutely, this is strictly a voluntary option for us to be able to give the vaccine. It is absolutely not mandated that everybody participate,” Tippett-Whyte said.Participation begins with the dentist taking a required 3-hour, self-paced training. Dr. Tippett-Whyte completed her training last weekend. “This training is basically concentrated on the COVID vaccine itself so with the Pfizer, the Moderna vaccine – how they work, how to mix them, how they have to be transported, how they have to be stored, reporting mechanisms, so yes, very different than the things that we were trained in for our dental practice,” she said.After completing the training, dentists get a certification to administer the vaccines, but the shots won’t be given in the dentist’s offices.“It’s unlikely that we will see dentists providing vaccines to their patients in their private dental practices at this stage. Right now the goal of getting dentists certified is to have manpower to help work in clinics if there are drive-thru vaccination things that are established like at Cal Expo and some of those kinds of situations, is where our manpower is best used at this point,” Dr. Tippett-Whyte said.KCRA 3 asked her, “Is it currently happening that dentists across the state are doing it or is the training still underway?” To which Dr. Tippett-Whyte answered, “If you have received the training and have received the certification you certainly can start giving the vaccine. I have not talked to anybody myself that has been asked to help give vaccines other than some dentists who work in federally qualified health centers and the VA programs.”So, for now, many dentists across the state are taking the training, registering to be vaccinators and waiting for an assignment. As of right now, dental hygienists are not approved to take the training under the emergency waiver.The California Dental Association hopes to get the change in scope of practice permanent so dentists can one day provide flu and COVID-19 vaccines in their offices if they choose to.

California is working to increase the number of people who get the COVID-19 vaccine by adding dentists to the list of health care providers who can give the shots.

There are 36,000 dentists across the state now able to administer the vaccine. However, just because they can, doesn’t mean they will.

KCRA 3 asked Stockton dentist and current President of the California Dental Association Dr. Juddee Tippett-Whyte, “Is there the option to opt-out?”

“Absolutely, this is strictly a voluntary option for us to be able to give the vaccine. It is absolutely not mandated that everybody participate,” Tippett-Whyte said.

Participation begins with the dentist taking a required 3-hour, self-paced training. Dr. Tippett-Whyte completed her training last weekend.

“This training is basically concentrated on the COVID vaccine itself so with the Pfizer, the Moderna vaccine – how they work, how to mix them, how they have to be transported, how they have to be stored, reporting mechanisms, so yes, very different than the things that we were trained in for our dental practice,” she said.

After completing the training, dentists get a certification to administer the vaccines, but the shots won’t be given in the dentist’s offices.

“It’s unlikely that we will see dentists providing vaccines to their patients in their private dental practices at this stage. Right now the goal of getting dentists certified is to have manpower to help work in clinics if there are drive-thru vaccination things that are established like at Cal Expo and some of those kinds of situations, is where our manpower is best used at this point,” Dr. Tippett-Whyte said.

KCRA 3 asked her, “Is it currently happening that dentists across the state are doing it [administering the shots] or is the training still underway?” To which Dr. Tippett-Whyte answered, “If you have received the training and have received the certification you certainly can start giving the vaccine. I have not talked to anybody myself that has been asked to help give vaccines other than some dentists who work in federally qualified health centers and the VA programs.”

So, for now, many dentists across the state are taking the training, registering to be vaccinators and waiting for an assignment.

As of right now, dental hygienists are not approved to take the training under the emergency waiver.

The California Dental Association hopes to get the change in scope of practice permanent so dentists can one day provide flu and COVID-19 vaccines in their offices if they choose to.

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