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COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Timeline and Logistics

January 12, 2021 1081

Quick Summary:

Learn how and when dental practitioners will be able to obtain the vaccine.

Many dentists want to know when they will receive the vaccine and what factors are involved in determining the timeline. Below, find answers to the most common member questions about distribution logistics.

When will California receive the vaccines and how many will the state receive?

Below are the estimated deliveries of vaccines in California:

Date First doses in series (cumulative)
Mid-December  1/3 million 
End of December  2 million 
End of January  4+ million 
End of April  up to 20+ million

Roughly 3 million individuals are included in Phase 1a, including dental team members. To find out more about what factors helped to determine who is included, view the COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation.

Barring any hiccups in manufacturing or distribution, the state should receive enough initial doses for all individuals in Phase 1a by the end of January. As local health departments finalize the logistics on vaccinating community members in Phase 1a, the state aims to vaccinate as quickly as possible, and the timeline for that should closely follow the timeline for receipt of vaccines.

How will dentists and their staff receive notification as to when and how they receive the vaccine?

Local health departments will send notifications several ways, and those plans are still being solidified on a county-by-county basis. Local dental societies are currently conducting outreach to all local health departments in order to let members know what those plans are. Members may receive initial information from their local dental society, and CDA will also compile and share county plans as they are finalized.

CDA and dental societies are also continuing to advocate at the local level for dentists to be included early in Phase 1a  and to determine whether dentists can help administer the vaccine under a public health emergency order.

How will local health departments generate or receive and validate lists of employees who are eligible for vaccines?

At this time, local health departments are exploring clinic or voucher systems, the use of appointment software and honor systems.

CDA recommends dentist employers to start preparing their office info for any future data requests from their component or local health department including: total number of staff, names and license numbers (if applicable) of office staff, and proof of employment in case needed when receiving a vaccination.

How to obtain the vaccine

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines available in your area, visit your county health department website or reach out to the local component dental society. Additionally, you can reach out to CDA at 800.232.7645 for more information on what is available in your county.

When can I receive my second vaccination?

The CDC updated the recommendation in January on the acceptable time between vaccines, stating that the second dose can be administered up to 42 days after the initial dose, with the same efficacy as administration at 21 or 28 days, depending on the vaccine manufacturer. The clinical considerations are included below in pertinent part: 

Persons should not be scheduled to receive the second dose earlier than recommended (i.e., 3 weeks [Pfizer-BioNTech] or 1 month [Moderna]). However, second doses administered within a grace period of 4 days earlier than the recommended date for the second dose are still considered valid. Doses inadvertently administered earlier than the grace period should not be repeated. 

The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There are currently limited data on efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window. If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series. 

This new recommendation likely stemmed from the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) interim recommendations for Pfizer and Moderna. For some additional context, please see this article from the British Columbia Medical Journal that outlines in an extensive table what other countries and British Columbia provinces are doing regarding dosing interval recommendations. 

In light of this updated recommendation and shortages in vaccine supplies, some counties may be extending the period between the first and second doses, scheduling second doses outside the 21- or 28- day time frames originally established. 

How do dental teams get the vaccine?

Dental settings are considered part of Phase 1a for the state’s vaccine distribution plan. However, logistics of how individuals within Phase 1a will receive the vaccine will be determined by your local health department. CDA is currently working with local dental societies to learn and provide feedback to all local health departments’ Phase 1a vaccine administration plans and will provide members with finalized plans as they are published in the coming weeks. 

Will the state or my county mandate me to get a vaccine?

At this time, we do not anticipate any government entity issuing mandates for the COVID-19 vaccine as long as vaccines have an emergency use authorization. CDA will keep members updated if the expectation changes or if any of the COVID-19 vaccines receive traditional FDA approval. 

When can my patients receive the vaccine?

While the timeline for the general public to receive the vaccine is largely dependent on how many other vaccines receive FDA approval and the manufacturing and distribution capacity for each vaccine, the New York Times has developed a tool to estimate how long it will take for individuals to receive their first dose based on age, location, occupancy and health factors. 

CDA will keep members updated when California develops a more detailed vaccination plan for individuals outside of Phase 1a. 

If I already tested positive for COVID-19, do I need to get the vaccine?

Yes. Reinfection with COVID-19 is possible and experts are still unsure how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.

What to expect after receiving the vaccine

Learn about the side effects and the importance of maintaining infection control requirements to ensure continued staff and patient safety.

Can I catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. The vaccine uses a relatively new viral technology called mRNA and does not contain a live form of the virus. mRNA has been used in other vaccines and vaccine trials such as Zika and flu and has been deemed safe

What side effects might I expect after receiving the vaccine?

The vaccine is considered “reactogenic,” meaning it might trigger responses from your immune system, such as fatigue, for the following 24-48 hours. However, this is normal and a sign that the vaccine is working. Such responses happened to approximately 62% of trial participants. 

It is also important to note that while it is common that individuals experience side effects after each of the two doses, the side effects may be more severe after the second dose. 

Many of the COVID-19 vaccine side effects are similar to COVID-19 symptoms. If a recently vaccinated patient comes in for dental care, how should the office proceed with patient screening?

The vaccine is not guaranteed to protect against infection and may not provide full protection until a couple weeks after the second dose. Additionally, at this time it is not known whether vaccinated individuals can transmit the virus to others. The dental office should defer treatment, if possible. If there is a dental emergency, the dentist should provide nonaerosol-generating treatment using transmission-based precautions or refer the patient to a setting where they can be treated appropriately as a potential COVID-19-positive patient.

Can I stop wearing a mask or social distancing once I get both doses of the vaccine?

Getting vaccinated is one additional tool we can use to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and end the pandemic. We should also continue to socially distance, wear masks and practice good hand hygiene.

The vaccine trials studied symptoms; trials will be ongoing to determine whether trial participants develop antibodies (immunity) over time. Trials have also shown that the COVID-19 vaccines that require two doses may not protect you until one to two weeks after the second dose (similarly to a flu shot).

Additionally, although the vaccine is 90-95% effective, that means that it won't work for 5-10% of the people who get vaccine, which is why we need to work toward herd immunity.

It still unknown whether those who are vaccinated can still be asymptomatic carriers who can transmit COVID-19 to others and current infection control guidelines should be maintained.