Dentists cleared to administer COVID-19 vaccine in California

In an effort to speed up vaccinations across the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced this week that dentists are now cleared to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

The emergency waiver approved Monday allows the state’s 36,000 dentists to help give the shots, KTLA sister station KRON reports.

“I think this is something that should’ve been done a long time ago. We should’ve been considered a long time ago,” said Dr. Thomas Arnold, a dental surgeon.

Dentists Dr. Thomas Arnold and Dr. Daniel Chen say once they get trained, they’ll be ready to administer COVID-19 vaccines at clinics and vaccination sites.

“As dentists, I think we are fully qualified to administer these vaccination shots. We already give injections in hard to reach places in the mouth, so giving a shot in the arm shouldn’t be a big deal,” said Chen. “As medical professionals, we can recognize signs of allergic reaction, so us being able to recognize that and be able to know how to respond I think is crucial.”

This idea comes as the state continues to finalize its vaccination plan. The California Dental Association is applauding the idea, saying every available resource needs to be deployed to save lives and mitigate suffering during the pandemic.

“A lot of patients have confidence and faith in their dentist, and people who might be a little apprehensive might be more open to it if their dentist they’ve been seeing for years says it’s okay,” Arnold said.

Arnold and Chen have already received their first doses through the Berkeley Dental Society.

The state association is now urging all counties to consider vaccinating dentists as soon as possible.

“I just think the dentists deal with the community all the time, and we’re excited to help people out and keep people alive,” Arnold said. “I mean, whatever we can do. We’re ready to get going.”

Dentists will complete a four-hour online training course from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to administer the shot, and they could start being called upon to help out as soon as next week.

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