Emergency legislation to allow dentists and other health care professionals to administer COVID-19 vaccines has been signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, which means the bill becomes law immediately.
Virginia dentists have been preparing to apply their experience and expertise toward the collective fight against the coronavirus, according to the Virginia Dental Association, which represents more than 3,900 member dentists across the Commonwealth.
Senate Bill 1445, sponsored by Sen. Siobhan S. Dunnavant, R-Henrico, and House Bill 2333, sponsored by Del. Lamont Bagby, D-Richmond, would permit any qualified and available health care provider in Virginia to volunteer to administer COVID-19 vaccines.
“Virginia Dental Association member dentists are eager to step up and help with the COVID-19 vaccine effort,” said Dr. Frank Iuorno, president of the Virginia Dental Association. “As additional COVID-19 vaccines become available, the ability to include dentists in local rollout plans gives Health Districts one more tool to accelerate distribution. Dentists are highly-trained and likely give more injections than any other health care professional.”
Many Virginia dentists have already completed the Virginia Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Intent Form. The form is the first step for any provider interested in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.
As the bill becomes law, dentists and dental students in good academic standing will be able to volunteer at vaccination events throughout the state, and more easily be able to offer space to host vaccination clinics.
Virginia dentists have played an active role in the state’s public health response throughout the pandemic, including serving as volunteers in the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps.