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California dentists can administer COVID-19 vaccines under new waiver

Some 36,000 dentists in California would be allowed to administer the new vaccines after meeting requirements of the waiver, the California Dental Association wrote.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The state of California is cutting red tape to allow dentists to administer the new coronavirus vaccines, the California Department of Consumer Affairs announced in a letter Monday.

Some 36,000 dentists in California would be allowed to administer the new vaccines after meeting the requirements of the waiver, the California Dental Association wrote.

California dentists would need to undergo training through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for administration, contraindications, and adverse reactions before they’ll be allowed to give FDA-approved coronavirus vaccinations.

California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom was optimistic Monday as he discussed the state’s move.

“We recognize there’s hope on the horizon,” Newsom said.

Hospital workers across the state are stretched thin as they battle the pandemic. The move aims to help ease the burden on the healthcare system as a whole. California has administered more than 454,000 doses of the new vaccines over the last three weeks. There are another 1.9 million doses on the way.

“It’s gonna be a huge process to try and vaccinate all of the people of our state,” said Dr. Judee Tippett-Whyte, a general dentist in Stockton and President of the California Dental Association.

Dentists are highly skilled and are up to the task, Tippett-Whyte said. They would likely begin vaccinations at hospitals, clinics, or other vaccination sites.

ABC 10 Medical expert Dr. Payal Kohli said it could act as a massive force multiplier.

“Of course we have to be careful that the dentist that are administering these vaccines are properly trained and are also told about the side effects that they need to monitor for,” Kohli said. “But if that’s done correctly I’m in full support of the idea.”

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