Coalition of Major Health and Oral Health Organizations Calls on Biden Administration and Governors to Allow Oral Health Providers to Administer COVID-19 Vaccine

420,000 oral health professionals are ideally located to ensure underserved communities can access the vaccine

Boston, March 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, 17 leading health and oral health organizations sent letters to the Biden administration and 39 governors urging them to license 420,000 oral health professionals dental clinics across the country to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to hasten the end of this pandemic.

In its letter, the Oral Health Pandemic Response Task Force calls on the federal government to take certain steps to remove legal barriers that deter dental providers from choosing to participate as vaccinators where they may be permitted by some states. The letter also calls on governors of states where dental providers are not currently licensed to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to include them as licensed vaccinators, thereby dramatically increasing the number of licensed vaccinators in their state.

Currently, 26 states and territories allow dentists to administer COVID-19 tests, and 25 states allow them to administer the vaccine. Only 14 states allow dental hygienists to administer the vaccine.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our country has been staggering,” the task force wrote to officials. “This devastation has exposed long-standing health and social inequalities across our country, including among Hispanics, Blacks, Indigenous peoples and other people of color; people in rural areas; and people with disabilities. These groups are disproportionately likely to experience difficulty obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine. »

Oral health professionals, who have been significantly underutilized in response to this national emergency, are uniquely placed to ensure underserved communities can access the vaccine. This workforce – comprising more than 200,000 licensed dentists and over 220,000 licensed dental hygienists – is spread across the country in every community.

Every year, nearly 30 million Americans see a dentist but not a doctor. Oral health professionals have the training and experience to serve as vaccinators. Authorizing them to administer COVID-19 tests and vaccines would give them the opportunity to engage in the national effort to end this pandemic and, above all, could increase the access points needed to vaccinate the population.

Oral health professionals can also serve as trusted sources of accurate information to promote vaccine distribution. They can be particularly impactful in hard-to-reach areas and with those most at risk of suffering the devastating effects of this virus.

The letter, which can be found here, was sent two weeks after the United States marked 500,000 lives lost to the pandemic. Removing barriers would not only allow additional vendors to join the effort to end this pandemic, but would also help save lives and set the stage for rebuilding the economy.

A list of signatories to the letter is below:

  • American Association of Dental Boards

  • American Dental Association

  • American Association of Dental Hygienists

  • Arcora Foundation

  • Asian Resources, Inc.

  • Association of State and Territory Dental Directors

  • California Panethnic Health Network

  • Community catalyst

  • Dental Trade Alliance

  • DentaQuest

  • DentaQuest Partnership for the Advancement of Oral Health

  • Hispanic Dental Association

  • National Dental Association

  • National Rural Health Association

  • Oral Health Progress and Equity Network

  • Accessible Oral Health Project

  • Santa Fe Group

The Oral Health Pandemic Response Task Force is an ad hoc gathering of executives across the dental landscape. We represent providers (dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants), dental plans, dental service organizations, dental offices, payers, dental supply manufacturers, state dental boards, community clinics, the community public health, government, academia, philanthropy, advocates and community members (including racial and ethnic minority groups, people with disabilities and rural Americans).

The DentaQuest Partnership for the Advancement of Oral Health is a non-profit organization working to transform the failing healthcare system and enable better health through oral health. Through strategic granting, research, and care improvement initiatives, we drive meaningful change at the local, state, and national levels. The DentaQuest Partnership is affiliated with DentaQuest, a leading American oral health company whose mission is to improve oral health for everyone. To learn more, visit www.dentaquestpartnership.org.

CONTACT: Kristin LaRoche DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement 857-275-5038 [email protected]

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