SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – California officials have granted dentists an emergency waiver to administer COVID-19 vaccines, as the state faces distribution issues of the shots while cases continue to surge.
The order issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs (.pdf) allows licensed dentists to inoculate people 16 and older with FDA-approved vaccines if they complete training programs provided by the Centers for Disease Control.
Dentists would also be allowed to administer epinephrine or diphenhydramine in the event of a severe allergic reaction.
Under the order, dentists must also comply with federal and state reporting requirements, which includes providing documentation to the patient's primary care provider, along with entering information into the immunization registry.
The California Dental Association applauded the move, saying they could be brought in at clinics and other vaccination sites. "Dentists are ready, willing and able to help administer COVID-19 vaccinations to the public," CDA president Judee Tippett-Whyte said in a statement.
The order comes as the pace of distributing COVID-19 vaccines has gone slower than expected in California and throughout the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 4 million shots have been injected into people as of Monday, far below the federal government's projection of 20 million at the end of 2020.
"It's gone too slowly. I know for many of us, all of us, I think," Gov. Gavin Newsom said at his weekly COVID-19 briefing on Monday. "We want to see 100 percent of what's received immediately administered in people's arms. And so, that's a challenge. A challenge across this country. It's a challenge, for that matter, around the rest of the world. But that's not an excuse."
Newsom said that his administration is "working aggressively" in accelerating the pace of vaccine distribution.
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