The safety of COVID-19 vaccine administration is comparable between dentists and nurses, according to an article published on September 2 in the Journal of Dental Sciences in 125 patients who received the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
During the pandemic, COVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time. Once vaccination began, it became challenging to secure enough physicians and nurses who could vaccinate individuals. Some parts of the U.S. expanded the scope of dentistry to enable dentists to administer vaccinations. Given the requirement to continue administering booster doses, it is likely that dentists will remain involved in vaccination efforts.
Understanding the safety profile of this practice is critical to ensuring good outcomes. A study compared the rates of complications associated with COVID-19 vaccinations administered by dentists with those administered by nurses. To the best of the study authors' knowledge, this study was the first of its kind.
A vaccine administrator divided 125 study participants into two groups. One group received an injection from a dentist, and the other group received an injection from a nurse. The rates of complications associated with the intramuscular injection technique were examined.
The incidence of injection technique-related complications was lower in the dentist group compared to the nurse group. However, the difference was not statistically significant.
Intramuscular injection in the deltoid muscle can potentially injure the surrounding nerves, causing numbness, movement disorders, and weakness in shoulder abduction. In the study, if a recipient complained of numbness, the needle was removed, and the location of the injection was moved before the vaccine was administered.
"The present evidence suggests that vaccination safety is comparable between nurse and dentist providers," wrote the study's authors, led by Dr. Keita Kagawa of Kanagawa Dental University in Tokyo.
Numbness in the hand or arm at the time of injection occurred in 4.8% of recipients in the nurse group and in 2.4% of recipients in the dentist group. The incidence rates of the vasovagal reflex in the nurse and dentist groups were 2.4% and 0%, respectively. However, numbness and vasovagal reflex dissipated shortly after in both groups.
"In conclusion, this study revealed that COVID-19 vaccine administration by dentists is as safe as that by nurses," Kagawa and colleagues concluded. "This is the first study to support the safety of COVID-19 vaccine delivery by dentists."