At least 20 states have allowed dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a February 3 ADA News article. California, Oregon, and Georgia are among the almost two dozen states that have moved to allow dentists to administer COVID-19 injections.
The ADA has been tracking which states allow dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines using information provided by state dental societies. The association and other prominent dental societies have argued that allowing dentists to administer the vaccine is critical to stopping the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As part of its ongoing COVID-19 vaccine strategy, the ADA supports recognizing dentists as vaccine providers," stated ADA President Dr. Daniel Klemmedson in the ADA article. "Having dentists administer vaccines in their communities helps improve the public vaccination rate, and it relieves some of the burden on the current vaccine provider network."
The move to allow dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines comes as states wrestle with how to vaccinate their populations. As of February 3, almost 34 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines had been administered in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
However, the percentage of people in each state who have received at least one dose of the vaccines isn't uniform, CDC data show. As of January 31, that percentage averages about 7.4% in the 20 states where dentists can administer the vaccine.
The percentage of people who have received at least one vaccine dose is a little lower (7%) in states where dentists can't administer the vaccine. But it's also higher (8.1%) in states for which the ADA reports no information.
The CDC also reported data about the percentage of state populations that has received the complete COVID-19 vaccination course. That percentage came in at 1.66% for states where dentists can administer the vaccine, 1.95% for states where dentists cannot administer the vaccine, and 2.09% for states with no ADA data.
The ADA's strategy to advocate for vaccine administration currently occurs at the federal and state levels. State dental agencies are a crucial part of the ADA advocacy effort to allow dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, noted Dr. David White, ADA Council on Government Affairs chair, in the ADA News article.
"Because most of the states have recognized dentistry as essential, it is only fitting that we join front-line workers in the ability to administer the vaccine," White stated.
The ADA began taking steps to advocate for dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in 2020, according to the ADA News story. This included the ADA House of Delegates passing a resolution in October acknowledging that dentists have the skills to administer critical vaccines.
The ADA has also developed vaccine principles to aid states in approving dentists to administer vaccines. The principles are available online and include training, patient, and delivery protocols.