coronavirus vaccine

Your Vaccine Appointment Could Be Set at Your Dentist Or Optometrist's Office

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With so much of our focus on the coronavirus vaccines right now, listen to this: You may end up getting your shot from your eye doctor or dentist.

Some of them say it could take some of the pressure off hospitals and also bring some extra money into their practices.

The California Dental Association and a professional organization representing optometrists have been lobbying lawmakers to pass a law to allow dentists and optometrists to administer the vaccine.

“We have extensive training in pharmacology and managing auto immune reactions,” explained Dr. Coleman Meadows of Seaside Dental in La Jolla.

Currently, California dentists aren't licensed to administer vaccines, but in other states they have been called to that duty.

The California Dental Association (CDA) estimates vaccinating every resident of the state would require 200,000 shots per day for one year. 

CDA President Dr. Richard Nagy said other than hospital staff, dentists are at the top of a short list of professionals qualified for the job.

"We are highly trained to give injections. We do it every day in one of the toughest areas, the mouth,” Dr. Nagy said.

California has more than 36,000 dentists, and according to Dr. Nagy, you are more likely to visit a dentist than another doctor in a year's time.

There’s enough skepticism surrounding vaccines as it is, and Dr. Nagy thinks allowing dentists to administer the vaccine could put some people’s minds at ease.

“We have a lifetime relationship with many people that come in for cleanings. They know the office, they know the dentist, they know the staff. So there is a sense of comfort for many patients that may be uncomfortable in a more sterile hospital environment,” he said.

Dr. Meadows said an American Dental Association survey indicates 60% of people asked would get a vaccine from their dentist, and 59% said they would get the COVID-19 vaccine from their dentist.

“Part of putting all this past us is having vaccinations at every entry point into the healthcare system,” Dr. Meadows said.

If state law makers don’t clear the way for dentists and optometrists, Dr. Nagy said the governor could issue a temporary executive order just he did with pharmacists earlier this year.

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