California Authorizes Dentists To Administer Covid-19 Vaccine

Published On: January 4, 2021By

Explanation of the emergency scope-of-practice waiver authorizing dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccinations by a Chudnovsky Law dental license lawyer.

Written by Robert K. Weinberg and Suzanne Crouts

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The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) granted a public health emergency waiver effective January 4, 2021 authorizing licensed dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to any persons 16 years and older. With this emergency waiver, California joins a rapidly growing list of states including Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington that have authorized dentists to administer the vaccine.

Vaccination map showing Covid-19 vaccine regulations in California and all states for dentists.

Overwhelmed healthcare workers stretched to the limit

Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California had received 1.29 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as of January 2, 2021, but only 454,306 doses had been administered. “We are working aggressively to accelerate our pace,” he said. “…it’s gone too slowly. I know for many of us, all of us, I think we want to see 100% of what’s received immediately administered in people’s arms, and so that’s a challenge.”

Newsom wants to enlist dentists, pharmacy techs, members of the National Guard and others to assist in rapidly increasing the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations as recent surging COVID infections overwhelm the healthcare system and stretch resources past the breaking limit.

The California Dental Association applauded the move. “Dentists are ready, willing and able to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to the public,” said CDA president Judee Tippett-Whyter, DDS. “We can help with surge capacity at clinics and vaccinations sites – wherever we’re needed to quickly administer vaccinations and save lives.”

Waiver of restrictions on dentists for ordering and administering Covid-19 vaccine

The waiver highlighted that “California dentists have a broad scope of practice. BPC 1625 provides that dentists may diagnose or treat, by surgery or other method, diseases and lesions, and they can correct malpositions of the human teeth, alveolar process, gums, jaws, or associated structures. Such diagnosis or treatment may include all necessary related procedures as well as the use of drugs, anesthetic agents, and physical evaluation.”

When implementing the waiver, the DCA referenced Executive Order N-39-20 which authorizes the Director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs to waive any statutory or regulatory professional licensing requirements and amend scopes of practice pertaining to DCA licensed professionals, including dentists.

Requirements for dentist license waiver

Starting January 4, 2021, the DCA Director waives BPC 1625 to the extent that it prohibits licensed dentists from independently initiating and administering COVID-19 vaccines that are approved or authorized by the FDA to persons 16 years of age or older. In any cases involving a severe allergic reaction, dentists may also administer epinephrine or diphenhydramine by injection.

Dentists must meet the following conditions to be eligible for a waiver:

  1. The dentist must successfully complete the CDC’s following free, self-paced COVID-19 training programs, totaling three hours:
  2. The dentist must comply with all applicable state and federal reporting and record keeping requirements, including providing documentation to the patient’s primary care physician, as applicable, and enter information into the appropriate immunization registry as designated by the California Department of Public Health immunization branch.
  3. The vaccine must be administered in compliance with any applicable FDA emergency use authorization.

Dentists are highly qualified to administer vaccinations

Dentists receive extensive training in pharmacology, pathology, anatomy and autoimmune response during the education required to become licensed dentists. Dentists regularly perform injections in the considerably more sensitive mouth area with delicate nerves, blood vessels and moving tongues.

The DCA waiver defines the additional CDC training that dentists must complete relevant to vaccine administration, adverse reactions and contraindications.

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Resources:

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About Chudnovsky Law

Chudnovsky Law is an award-winning California professional license defense law firm. The firm’s three defense attorneys Tsion Chudnovsky, Robert K. Weinberg, and Suzanne Crouts have a combined 65+ years experience practicing law.

The firm provides effective and vigorous license defense for licensed businesses and all health care professionals including dentists, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and chiropractors.

Attorney Robert K. Weinberg manages the firm’s professional license defense practice. He is a former prosecutor with more than 30 years of experience handling professional license defense, federal, DEA and state criminal defense matters. Robert is an authority in the complex intersection of licensing and criminal law for professional licensees and healthcare corporations. He has handled over 5,000 cases and jury trials.

To speak with a Chudnovsky Law attorney, call (844) 325-1444.

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