Dentists across California are beginning to get involved in the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts after the Department of Consumer Affairs last month granted an emergency public health waiver that allows dentists to administer the vaccine to individuals age 16 and older once the dentist completes the required training.
Retired dentists, too, can participate in COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
In late March 2020, the DCA issued an order that waived license reactivation or restoration requirements, including continuing education requirements for reactivating or renewing a dentist license that has been inactive for fewer than five years. The intent of that waiver, which remains in effect today, was to help mobilize health care personnel’s response to the pandemic and to curb the spread of COVID-19. Retired dentists should read the entire order to confirm the waived requirements apply to them.
All dentists with active or retired licenses must successfully complete the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 training program before administering the COVID-19 vaccine. The training comprises three modules, two of which specifically cover what health care professionals need to know about both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Course participants will learn about general vaccine administration procedures, vaccine storage and handling requirements, how to document and report adverse events associated with the vaccine and more.
Retired dentists must take other specific actions before they are allowed to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, and those actions are determined by how long the dentist’s license has been inactive.
Dentists who wish to reinstate or restore a license that has not been active for fewer than five years must:
Dentists with licenses that have been inactive for five or more years do not qualify for the continuing education waiver (DCA 20-91) and instead must:
Currently, due to a shortage of the COVID-19 vaccines in the state, dentists are not allowed to order and administer the vaccine in the dental office; instead, dentists can volunteer to administer the vaccine at mass vaccination clinics or licensed facilities. To learn about volunteer opportunities in their communities, dentists should contact their local health department until CDA notifies members that the state has launched its statewide volunteer registry platform.
The Dentists Insurance Company offers a volunteer policy that allows retired dentists who have reactivated their license to purchase coverage if they are volunteering without compensation for an organization, less any expenses. Learn more online or email or call TDIC Insurance Solutions at 800.733.0633 and select option 1.
More resources for dentists are available on the dental board's webpage Update on Impacts Related to COVID-19 and the CDPH webpage Training Requirements for Non-Traditional Vaccinators.
Dentists can also review CDA’s latest vaccine administration FAQ and watch the cda.org newsroom for regular updates.