In an effort to speed California’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, dentists in the state have been given the green light to administer the jab.
On Monday, the California Department of Consumer Affairs approved a public health emergency waiver that will officially allow dentists to administer the vaccines to patients 16 years of age or older.
“Dentists acting within the scope of this Order may independently initiate and administer to persons 16 years of age or older any COVID-19 vaccines that are approved or authorized by the FDA, as specified, and may also initiate and administer epinephrine or diphenhydramine by injection for the treatment of a severe allergic reaction,” the order reads.
Before they can begin administering the vaccines to patients, however, dentists must complete a training program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to the order.
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There are an estimated 36,000 dentists in the state of California, according to the California Dental Association, which noted in a news release applauding the decision that dentists “are in a inquire position to administer vaccines because they receive extensive training in anatomy, pathology, pharmacology and autoimmune responses as part of their dental education.”
The news comes as distribution hiccups and logistical challenges have slowed the initial coronavirus vaccine rollout in California, setting a pace that’s “not good enough,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
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The state is trying to execute the massive immunization campaign “with a sense of urgency that is required of this moment and the urgency that people demand,” but so far only about 1% of California’s 40 million residents have been vaccinated, the Democratic governor said.
The 454,000 doses of vaccine that have been administered in California represent just a third of the more than nearly 1.3 million received in the state so far, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.