Allowing dentists to give COVID-19 vaccines could help in distribution

Posted at 3:35 PM, Dec 14, 2020

All sorts of medical providers are willing to play a role in vaccine distribution once it becomes widely available.

“I think what's going to happen is the vaccination process goes down the pathway, and in the next year, you'll see more and more states get on board with that,” said Dr. Robert Zena, President of the American Association of Dental Boards.

Zena says we've already seen several state legislatures approve dentists to give the COVID-19 vaccine and about a dozen more are in the process of doing so.

Back in October, the federal government recommended states expand their list of vaccine providers.

Dentists may be able to reach even more people than traditional doctors. About 9% of Americans see a dentist every year but not a physician, according to the American Dental Association.

“There are a lot of 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 really widespread,” said Zena.

People may also be more willing to accept a vaccine once they talk with a dentist they trust.

On the flip side, a COVID-19 vaccine at a dentist's office could help drum up interest and new dental business.

During the H1N1 pandemic, dentists in some states gave the vaccine.

Some areas have also authorized dentists to give the flu shot. Last year, Oregon became the first state to allow dentists to give any vaccine to any patient, child or adult.

The same consideration is being made for eye doctors to administer COVID-19 vaccines.