DentalCare Logo

What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus (COVID‑19) Pandemic

Course Number: 652

Vaccine Allocation

Chart showing the COVID-19 vaccine allocation phases within the framework

COVID‑19 Vaccine Allocation Phases within the Framework.69

The rate by which dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and other office staff are receiving their COVID‑19 vaccinations varies widely across the state, depending on state-, county-, and local-level distribution. President Biden directed all states to open vaccine eligibility up to all adults by May 1, 2021.70

Chart showing a map of the US and the states opened up to vaccines to all adults.

White House COVID‑19 Response Team on Twitter: “The President directed all states to open vaccine eligibility up to all adults by May 1. 14 states have already opened eligibility — or will in the next week — and 12 others will by April 15. So, by mid-April, about half the states will have opened eligibility to all adults.”70

To address the states’ shortage of health care providers eligible to administer COVID‑19 vaccines, the Department of Consumer Affairs approved a public health emergency waiver that will allow dentists and pharmacy technicians to administer COVID‑19 vaccines to people age 16 and over.71 A number of states allow or are considering allowing dentists and other professionals to administer the vaccine.72 As of March 11, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is amending an emergency declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act to authorize additional providers, including dentists and dental students, to vaccinate patients for COVID‑19 nationwide.72 As of March 13, 2021, at least 28 states have already engaged dentists to administer the COVID‑19 vaccines during the COVID‑19 public health emergency. The federal declaration allows licensed dentists throughout the country to vaccinate the public against COVID‑19, regardless of state laws that prevent dentists from doing so.72 The expanded list of providers does not include dental hygienists, in spite of efforts by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA). As of March 12, 2021, fourteen states have authorized dental hygienists to administer the COVID‑19 vaccine including: California, Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.73

The priority for dental healthcare providers in vaccination is important as it acknowledges the essential role that dental healthcare providers play in maintaining public health. Further, dental healthcare providers have known skill sets that allow them to deliver injections safely. Twenty-six healthcare organizations from a COVID‑19 Dental Coordination Group wrote to ADM Brett P. Giroir, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to recommend that, under the PREP Act, they expand authorization for dental professionals to order and administer COVID‑19 vaccines.74 These organizations believe it will increase and/or improve access to safe and effective COVID‑19 vaccine delivery. While the steps taken by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure vaccines can be delivered widely, safely, and effectively by 2021 are appreciated, it is believed that including the more than 340,000 U.S. dental healthcare professionals in the list of eligible providers permitted to administer the COVID‑19 vaccine enhances the nation’s ability to respond effectively to the present crisis and potential future crises as well.74