Ga. dentists sign on to governor's COVID-19 vaccine plan

2020 03 02 19 02 1966 Georgia 400

Dentists in Georgia are voicing their support for a plan issued by Gov. Brian Kemp to enlist dentists to help administer vaccinations for COVID-19. The Georgia Dental Association (GDA) also plans to ask dentists to volunteer to administer shots.

As the COVID-19 pandemic grinds on, many states are struggling to get enough shots into arms on a rapid basis. The issue is particularly acute for dentists, given the sharp drop in dental practice visits that has occurred since the onset of the crisis.

In Georgia, Kemp signed an executive order on January 22 that enables COVID-19 vaccines to be administered by a wider range of medical professionals, including dentists. The order temporarily suspends requirements in the state's medical code that medical assistants must be supervised onsite by a physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse to administer injections.

Instead, the order allows COVID-19 injections to be administered by medical assistants if they are remotely supervised by a physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse whom they can contact via phone or electronically. They also must complete training and handling requirements for the COVID-19 vaccine as specified by the state Department of Health.

The Georgia Dental Association said it supports Kemp's executive order as it pertains to allowing Georgia dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine at public health sites on a volunteer basis.

"Governor Kemp's January 15 Executive Order will further enhance dentists' ability to assist in Georgia's recovery efforts so that our fellow healthcare providers, the medically fragile, and ultimately all Georgians have an opportunity to receive the vaccine," said GDA President Dr. Louvenia Annette Rainge.

Rainge added that she plans to issue a statewide call to action asking her colleagues in the dental profession to volunteer to administer COVID-19 shots. The GDA is working with Kemp's office to support dentists licensed in Georgia who are ready to assist in the vaccination effort.

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