February 26, 2021

Lonnie Listonsmith

Experienced Health Expert

Iowans could get COVID-19 vaccine from their dentist under proposed law

4 min read

A trip to the dentist could come with a COVID-19 vaccine, under a newly-proposed Iowa law.The Iowa Dental Board filed House Study Bill 71 Tuesday, which would include dentists among those authorized to give COVID-19 and influenza vaccines.The program would be voluntary and dentists would need to complete at least four hours of training. Dr. William McBride, chair of the Iowa Dental Board, said 14 other states currently allow dentists to administer the vaccine, including California, New York and Oregon.It’s part of a nationwide push to expand the role of vaccination beyond doctors, nurses and pharmacists.In Florida, paramedics have been training to administer the vaccine. Optometrists have also pushed to be included in some states’ lists of vaccine providers.McBride said Iowa dentists want to play a greater role in keeping people healthy.”We really thought it makes sense,” he said. “We are health care providers. We have a lot of touchpoints with patients in terms of them coming in routinely and regularly and we certainly feel that we have the qualifications; we administer many, many injections on a daily basis.”The proposed bill does face opposition, however. The Iowa Medical Society, Iowa Psychiatric Society and the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics have all registered as being against the bill.”We do have some concerns about people who have not been part of the existing immunization system giving immunizations,” Iowa Medical Society Dr. Brian Privett said.Privett said the Iowa Medical Society has a great deal of respect for the role dentists have played and the risks they have taken providing care during the pandemic. He said qualifications aren’t a concern.But Privett said it’s important for high-risk patients to see their regular doctor who has access to their full medical history. He also said the bill doesn’t address the central issue at hand right now.”The issues that are currently going on have to do with the supply of the vaccine,” Privett said. “It has nothing to do with the number of providers able to give the vaccine.”KCCI asked McBride about opponents’ concerns.”All the reasons that they may be opposed, I guess I don’t necessarily want to speak to that,” McBride said. “I think some of it is just maybe a turf issue and I think some professional organizations, that’s their job to protect their profession.”The bill has been assigned to the House Human Resources subcommittee. As of Wednesday, lawmakers haven’t scheduled a hearing for it.KCCI contacted the Iowa Department of Health to ask if it’s considering pushing for an expansion of who can give COVID-19 vaccines. An agency spokesperson has not responded to our inquiry.

A trip to the dentist could come with a COVID-19 vaccine, under a newly-proposed Iowa law.

The Iowa Dental Board filed House Study Bill 71 Tuesday, which would include dentists among those authorized to give COVID-19 and influenza vaccines.

The program would be voluntary and dentists would need to complete at least four hours of training.

Dr. William McBride, chair of the Iowa Dental Board, said 14 other states currently allow dentists to administer the vaccine, including California, New York and Oregon.

It’s part of a nationwide push to expand the role of vaccination beyond doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

In Florida, paramedics have been training to administer the vaccine. Optometrists have also pushed to be included in some states’ lists of vaccine providers.

McBride said Iowa dentists want to play a greater role in keeping people healthy.

“We really thought it makes sense,” he said. “We are health care providers. We have a lot of touchpoints with patients in terms of them coming in routinely and regularly and we certainly feel that we have the qualifications; we administer many, many injections on a daily basis.”

The proposed bill does face opposition, however. The Iowa Medical Society, Iowa Psychiatric Society and the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics have all registered as being against the bill.

“We do have some concerns about people who have not been part of the existing immunization system giving immunizations,” Iowa Medical Society Dr. Brian Privett said.

Privett said the Iowa Medical Society has a great deal of respect for the role dentists have played and the risks they have taken providing care during the pandemic. He said qualifications aren’t a concern.

But Privett said it’s important for high-risk patients to see their regular doctor who has access to their full medical history. He also said the bill doesn’t address the central issue at hand right now.

“The issues that are currently going on have to do with the supply of the vaccine,” Privett said. “It has nothing to do with the number of providers able to give the vaccine.”

KCCI asked McBride about opponents’ concerns.

“All the reasons that they may be opposed, I guess I don’t necessarily want to speak to that,” McBride said. “I think some of it is just maybe a turf issue and I think some professional organizations, that’s their job to protect their profession.”

The bill has been assigned to the House Human Resources subcommittee. As of Wednesday, lawmakers haven’t scheduled a hearing for it.

KCCI contacted the Iowa Department of Health to ask if it’s considering pushing for an expansion of who can give COVID-19 vaccines.

An agency spokesperson has not responded to our inquiry.