The COVID-19 pandemic has been deadly, killing almost 2 million people worldwide as of January 2021. Over 360,000 of those have been in the U.S. Fortunately, vaccines have been approved and are ready to be administered.
The question now is, how can we get the vaccine to people quickly and effectively? We want to ensure that medical professionals administer the shots, but general practitioners are overwhelmed with work.
The answer is simple — we can allow dentists to give the vaccine. Here’s why.
Dentist Know How to Give Injections
Dentists give injections regularly to patients. In fact, they do more injections in a regular week than a doctor does. These injections serve to numb gums and teeth roots so that dental procedures can be done.
Giving injections in the gums is difficult and dentists are able to do it well every day. It makes perfect sense to authorize them to give injections in the arm to make vaccine rollouts faster and more effective while keeping patients safe.
Dentists Have Given Vaccines in Past Health Emergencies
During the H1N1 Swine Flu in 2009-10, the states of New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts all deputized dentists to administer the vaccine.
Today, dentists in states like Illinois and Minnesota are able to administer the flu vaccine every year. Clearly the usefulness of allowing dental professionals to help give necessary medical care is recognized.
Given the scope and severity of COVID-19, there’s no reason dentists should not be able to give these vaccines as well. It will lessen the burden on local health professionals and make it easier for people to find a vaccine site.
Many people feel that seeing a doctor is something you only do when you are sick. However, almost everyone understands the importance of going to the dentist at least once a year.
The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that 9% of Americans see a dentist every year but not a physician. That’s millions of people that can be served a vaccine by a professional they already visit, rather than needing to make a special appointment.
We all know how easy it is to put off doing something that isn’t part of our normal routine. If getting a vaccine can become part of an annual dentist appointment, everyone will be safer and healthier.
Dentists Are Ideal Professionals to Perform Vaccinations
The key to restoring our society to health is to have the COVID-19 vaccines administered widely in a short period of time. To do so, we need health professionals in every community to be approved to give the injections.
Dentists are well-qualified and see patients regularly that may not visit a doctor. They’ve been used in the past for vaccines, and many can give the flu vaccine right now. To reduce the burden on physicians who have a heavy caseload, other medical personnel need to be able to give the vaccine. There’s no reason to exclude dentists from the list of professionals available to vaccinate Americans!