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Recap: CDA Virtual Membership Meeting on Vaccine Administration

January 14, 2021 3522
Virtual Membership Meeting – January 12, 2021

CDA this week hosted the first Virtual Membership Meeting of 2021 with a panel of dentist leaders discussing the latest information on the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, the waiver allowing dentists to temporarily administer the vaccine and CDA’s ongoing advocacy on behalf of dentistry.

In addition to providing an overview of the current vaccine landscape, the panelists invited participants to ask questions. Here, CDA provides the answers to those questions about liability, required training and more.

Watch the recorded meeting  

Note: This Virtual Membership Meeting was held on January 12, 2021, and the information covered continues to change quickly, CDA urges members to regularly watch for updates.

General Vaccine Questions

Is there any information on the nasal vaccine?

No nasal vaccine for COVID-19 has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration at this time.

Is the dosage for a petite person the same as the dose for a bigger person?


What are the CDC’s explanations regarding the vaccine’s safety for patients?

Vaccine Information Statements 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:

These sheets are also available on our vaccine administration FAQ.

Should individuals with autoimmune diseases get the vaccine?

Individuals with autoimmune diseases and allergies to ingredients in the vaccine, as well as those who are pregnant or nursing, should consult with their physician about the vaccine.

If a dentist had COVID-19, when are they eligible to receive the vaccine?

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should wait until after their quarantine period is over before receiving their vaccine, but they do not need to receive a negative COVID-19 test prior to getting a vaccine dose. Any person treated with convalescent plasma or antibody treatments needs to wait 90 days before receiving the vaccine.

Is the experience of getting a second dose any different than receiving the first dose?

Largely, no. However, side effects such as fatigue may be slightly more acute during the second dose, according to some patient accounts.

If staff has symptoms of COVID-19 within days of receiving the vaccine (likely as a side effect of the vaccine), should we treat them as we would treat anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19?

Yes. The vaccine is not guaranteed to protect against infection and may not provide full protection until a couple of 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 non-aerosol-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.

Liability and Employment Issues

If you have tail coverage, how does that work?

Please refer to your licensed insurance agent to answer this question as the answer is specific to your individual policy.

Please detail The Dentists Insurance Company policy for retired members with active licenses but without liability coverage who may want to volunteer to administer the vaccine?

For dentists who have reactivated their inactive or retired license or who are retired with an active license and no liability insurance, TDIC offers a volunteer policy to help them participate in the state’s vaccination efforts. The policy allows coverage to be purchased if the individual is volunteering for an organization without compensation, minus typical food and travel expenses.

What is an employer’s legal exposure if an employee refuses to be vaccinated?

At this time, CDA is recommending that employers strongly encourage employees to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. Employers who decide to mandate the vaccine for all employees must consider any employee requests not to be vaccinated due to medical contraindications and make any reasonable accommodations for sincerely held religious beliefs.

If an employee should have an adverse reaction to a mandatory vaccine, the reaction could be considered a workplace injury and subject to a workers’ compensation claim. It is possible that an employer may never have 100% of their employees vaccinated. A fully vaccinated staff does not completely reduce an employer’s liability or obligations to maintain workplace safety standards.

Is vaccination a requirement in order to practice? Would refusal to be vaccinated result in restriction in practicing dentistry?

As long as the vaccine is approved through an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, the state will not issue a vaccine mandate. Private employers may still choose to require employees to get vaccinated.

How do you pay staff if they must take time off due to testing positive for COVID-19? Is the office still required to provide two weeks’ pay, or has that changed?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s emergency paid sick leave expired Dec. 31, 2020. Until March 31, 2021, employers may voluntarily choose to offer emergency paid sick leave under the same terms as FFCRA and can obtain IRS payroll tax credits for 100% of the wages paid to the employee.

Vaccine Training

Which CDC courses certify us to administer the vaccine?

Consult the vaccine administration FAQ for the most up to date information on the required trainings.

What are the license qualifications for a dentist to administer the vaccine?

A dentist must have an active license in order administer the vaccine, even as a volunteer. If you have an inactive or retired license and are interested in participating in the state’s vaccination efforts, please refer to this DCA waiver to learn about what fees and C.E. courses you must complete in order to reactive your license. You may also email [email protected] to determine the next steps for your specific situation.

I completed the CDC training to administer the vaccine, but I have not received the certificate of completion. Any recommendations?

Please refer to this troubleshooting guide to help you complete the trainings and obtain your certificates of completion. Additional support can also be found in CDA’s vaccine administration FAQ.

Can CDA advocate with the CDC to make the trainings a bit less hard to navigate?

CDA is in conversations with the state and is working with the ADA to conduct outreach to CDC regarding these issues.

What are the options for Dual Degree Docs?

Dentists licensed dually as a dentist and physician can administer the vaccine under their medical board license. They must still adhere to any CDPH or medical board trainings.

If you have been trained to give immunizations through the military, does that count as training for giving the COVID-19 vaccine?

If you are planning to provide a vaccine outside of a military program, you must adhere to the training requirements prescribed by the DCA waiver.

In trying to register with CAIR as a vaccine distributor, dentist was not an option for license type. Any idea what is being done to correct this and allow us to register to give the vaccine to patients?

The state is working on launching a new website for providers to use for both volunteering at mass vaccination clinics and providing the vaccine in-office, once available. The California Immunization Branch of the Department of Public Health is also developing resources and updating platforms to reflect the new providers that can administer the vaccine, including dentists.

Has CDA been able to get C.E. approval for the CDC training to administer the COVID-19 vaccine?

Currently the trainings do not count towards C.E., but CDA is working with the dental board, CDC and the state Legislature to have these courses retroactively counted for licensees’ C.E. requirements.

Administering the Vaccine

Do you need to have an active DEA registration before starting administration?

No. The vaccine is not a scheduled controlled substance that requires a DEA registration.

Is there any chance that hygienists will be allowed to administer the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Department of Consumer Affairs is currently evaluating additional providers, including dental students and hygienists, to be able to administer the vaccine under a DCA waiver.

Many people premedicate with ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen prior to taking vaccines to reduce the side effects. I read on the CDC website not to do that for this vaccine. Why is that?

It is not recommended to premedicate before either vaccine dose as it could decrease how effective the vaccine is. 

Do dentists have to be fully vaccinated (receive both doses) before beginning to administer the vaccine?

No. Dentists who volunteer to help in mass vaccination efforts can opt to take their first dose before vaccinating others.

How do you bill for the vaccine?

CDA is in active discussions with health plans, including dental benefits 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 CDA newsroom.

Do you have to be a Medicare provider to obtain and administer the vaccine in private practice?


How are vaccine recipients tracked?

California has statewide and regional vaccine registries that track which vaccine a patient receives and when. The primary registry utilized is CAIR.

Can I assume that dentists will mostly be administering the Moderna vaccine due to the refrigeration needs of the Pfizer vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius while the Moderna vaccine only requires -20 degrees C. If dentists want to provide vaccines in the office, CDA anticipates they will likely opt to provide the Moderna vaccine to avoid having to invest in special freezers. Additionally, the Pfizer shipments come in doses of nearly 1,000, and breaking them into smaller shipments would break the cold chain and shorten the shelf life.

CDA does not expect dentists or physicians to be able to order doses for in-office administration for some time, likely not until the state begins vaccinating the general population or begins to receive larger and more steady streams of doses.

I’m retired and took the CDC course and got the certificates to give the vaccine. Who do I call in my county to see if they need me?

CDA is working closely with the state and local health departments to determine how to best collect contact information for volunteers and plug them directly into mass vaccination clinic efforts. As this evolves, CDA will continue to provide updates in the newsroom.

Dentists Getting Vaccinated

What percentage of CDA dentist-members have been vaccinated?

That information is not available at this time, but we do know that roughly one-third of the doses the state has received so far have been administered and that the state has only received roughly one-third of the doses needed to vaccinate all 3 million individuals, including dentists, in Phase 1a.

Where do we get the vaccine to vaccinate?

Vaccines are not currently available to order for private offices and are only available at state- identified vaccine sites, mainly hospitals and local health departments for now. Once vaccines are available more widely, CDA anticipates that providers will be able to order directly through a state website.

Today the CDPH modified the guidance allowing the vaccination of lower-priority groups. How will this affect dentists who have not been vaccinated yet?

Gov. Newsom on Jan. 12 authorized the state to allow individuals ages 65 and over to gain access to the vaccine once the state began to vaccinate Phase 1b. That action was in direct response to federal recommendations to lower the prioritized age group from 74 to 65 based on spikes in COVID-19 infection rates in this population group.

Dentists and their team members are still considered to be included in Phase 1a, and counties have been instructed to begin vaccinating groups in Phase 1b only after they have exhausted efforts to provide outreach to Phase 1a individuals first.

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