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Get answers to commonly asked questions regarding the temporary scope expansion permitting dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Dentists will unlikely be able to administer in their practices, but can be instrumentally helpful in mass vaccination community events launching soon.

Below are answers to commonly asked questions regarding the emergency public health waiver issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs on Jan. 4, 2021. This FAQ will be updated as new information develops.

What do I have to do before I can start administering the COVID-19 vaccine?

Dentists who wish to begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine must complete the required training, comply with all federal and state recordkeeping and reporting requirements and adhere to the administration requirements in accordance with the FDA emergency use authorization.

If you have an inactive or retired license and would like to participate in these vaccination efforts, we strongly encourage you to reach out to the dental board at [email protected] to reactive your license utilizing one of the first DCA waivers that was issued at the beginning of the pandemic.

Which trainings must I complete?

DCA has mandated that dentists complete four CDC-hosted courses prior to beginning to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The trainings listed below total approximately three hours and are free and self-paced online:

A few tips for completing the training:

  • Start with the first two training sessions, as these provide essential information.
  • Registration is required to receive a certificate of completion.
  • Take a screenshot of your completion as a backup record.

Many dentists may experience technical difficulties registering with the various systems CDC is utilizing to host their trainings. CDA is in ongoing conversations with several state agencies about streamlining the process or reevaluating the current mandated trainings and will notify members as soon as possible of any changes. In the interim, please use this troubleshooting guide that illustrates how to complete the trainings and print certificates of completion for the trainings that provide one.

How to I receive proof of completion of the trainings?

Trainings A and B listed above will provide a certificate at the end of the post-program evaluation and five-question test. In order to obtain this certificate, the website will ask you to register with the “TCEO” portal. There will be no certificate of completion available for training C. In order to obtain a completion certificate for Training D, you must create an account with the CDC TRAIN portal. When creating a TRAIN account, you may need to certify yourself as a “physician” if a dentist option is not available.

Print or save certificates to keep in your records similarly to other C.E. course certificates. At this time, you will not need to submit the certificates to any state agency.

Do I have to have an active CA licensure to participate in administering vaccines? I am retired but want to help.

DCA issued a waiver at the beginning of the pandemic that more easily allows for those with retired or inactive licenses to reactive their license in order to help with surge, and now vaccination efforts. We recommend you read the waiver in its entirety here and then reach out to the dental board to determine what specific fees and training aside from the CDC vaccine trainings you will need to complete in order to help out. You can email the dental board directly at [email protected].

Who can I administer the vaccine to?

Dentists may vaccinate individuals 16 years of age or older. In cases of severe allergic reaction, dentists are also permitted to administer epinephrine or diphenhydramine by injection. The waiver is limited to any FDA-approved or Emergency Use Authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

Why does the waiver allow for the administration of the vaccine to people age 16 and older?

While the DCA waiver allows for dentists to administer the vaccine to people as young as 16, dentists must also adhere to the limitations of each approved vaccine. The Moderna vaccine has only been approved for individuals aged 18 and over. However, the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for individuals aged 16 and over.

How do I sign up for the required state and federal vaccine registries?

The California Department of Public Health has published a resource outlining how providers can register for the various reporting databases, including the COVID-19 vaccine provider registry (COVIDReadi), California Immunization Registry (CAIR), daily vaccine inventory reporting and adverse event/side effect reporting(VAERS). An overview of immunization information systems (IISs), also known as “vaccine registries” can be found here.

CDPH is continuing to develop additional reporting resources and is directing providers to review these resources in the interim.

Where can I learn more about the storage and handling requirements?

While these topics will be covered in the mandated trainings, the following links provide brief but detailed overviews of the storage and handling requirements for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines:

Where can I learn more about the Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) and administration requirements for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines?

The CDC has developed the following in-depth resources on the FDA EUAs, vaccine administration, interim clinical considerations, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations and FAQs for both vaccines:

What materials do I need to provide to individuals that I vaccinate?

Vaccine Information Sheets (VIS) have not been developed for the COVID-19 vaccines at this time. The appropriate FDA Emergency Use Authorization Fact Sheets for Recipients listed below should be provided to patients at the time of vaccination:

How do I notify individuals’ physicians about vaccines that I have administered?

As more vaccination clinics are established throughout the state, we expect to be provided with additional guidance on what, if anything, dentists will need to do aside from inputting data into the state vaccine registry in order to inform individuals’ physicians about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

How do I bill for the vaccine?

CDA is engaged in active discussions with health plans, including dental benefit plans, to determine the most appropriate code to use when billing for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. CDA will keep members updated on these discussions in the Newsroom.

Where can I administer the vaccine?

The DCA waiver does not specify which settings a dentist can administer the vaccine. However, the dentist should ensure that all appropriate emergency response supplies are readily available and that the patient can be monitored for adverse reactions or side effects for 15 minutes after the injection.

It is unlikely that dentists will be able to administer vaccines from their dental offices at this time due to storage requirements, outstanding billing questions , and space requirements for patients that need to be monitored after the vaccine administration. Dentists wishing to participate in vaccination efforts will likely be able to do so through efforts organized by government entities or local health systems and hospitals.

How can I participate if I haven’t yet received the vaccine?

CDA and local dental societies are working closely with health departments and emergency medical services authorities to learn how your county is deploying health professionals to administer the vaccine in your area. CDA is continuing to advocate at the state and local level for dentists and their staff to be elevated in priority to access the vaccine and should receive at least their first dose prior to vaccinating community members.

When does the waiver expire?

The waiver does not have an expiration date but is expected to stand for the duration of the declared state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine be covered under my TDIC policy?

As long as the DCA waiver is in effect, the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine when provided in accordance with the waiver requirements will be considered within the scope of practice and therefore covered under a TDIC policy or applicable endorsement. If you are covered by a different carrier, we recommend you inquire about temporary extended coverage and provide a copy of the DCA waiver.

For dentists who have reactivated their inactive or retired license in order to help with state vaccination efforts, TDIC offers a volunteer policy where coverage can be purchased if volunteering for an organization without compensation, excess expenses. Additionally, it is important to note that both federal and state statutes provide legal immunity for administration of the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of your liability carrier. The statutory immunities cannot prevent a claim or lawsuit from being filed against you, but can provide you with a legal defense against any such claims. In other words, the broad immunities are designed to protect you from being held liable for any claims based on administering the vaccine, so long as you are practicing within the standard of care. This includes taking the appropriate training and following all manufacturer guidance on storage and administration of the vaccine.

The advantage of having a policy that specifically covers the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine is that should a claim be filed against you, the liability carrier would provide your legal defense as opposed to you finding an attorney on your own.

When can I start vaccinating my patients?

At this time, it is unlikely that dentists will be able to vaccinate individuals within their dental office due to vaccine storage requirements. It is likely for the indefinite future that dentists will be able to administer vaccines in hospital, clinic and mass vaccination sites. Additionally, because state and local vaccine roll-out plans are still in flux, there is no estimated time for when vaccines will be available to the general public.

Please note that the information and any suggestions contained in this resource represent the experience and opinions of CDA. This communication does not constitute and should not be considered a substitute for legal, financial or other advice provided by licensed professionals. For that, you must consult your own attorney, accountant or other professional advisor.

Last updated Jan. 11, 2021