Illinois may enlist dentists, dental hygienists to administer COVID-19 vaccine

Illinois will need to recruit additional health professionals to administer COVID-19 vaccines, including dentists and dental hygienists, said Ngozi Ezike, MD, director of the state health department.

The CDC told health departments in early August to draft vaccination plans by Oct. 1 "to coincide with the earliest possible release of COVID-19 vaccine," reports The Washington Post.

At an Aug. 7 meeting about vaccine distribution, Dr. Ezike said Illinois will need to recruit nursing students, medical students, dentists, dental hygienists and even veterinarians to administer vaccines. Such vaccinators will need medical-grade masks, gowns and gloves to keep them safe.

When vaccines become available, health departments will need more staffers to administer doses, conduct contact tracing, educate the public, monitor patients and report serious side effects. People will need to receive a second COVID-19 dose 21 or 28 days after the first, the Post reports.

Marcus Plescia, MD, chief medical officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said people should be prepared for shortages, delays and mix-ups.

"It's probably going to be even worse than the problems with testing and PPE," Dr. Plescia said.

More articles on dental:
Informed consent and COVID-19: 5 things to know
31 dental legal battles covered this summer
Dental industry by the numbers: No. 1 school, state, city for dentistry

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