JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — As Missouri continues the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, one legislator hopes to allow dentists to administer the vaccine to patients.
HB 628, sponsored by Rep. Danny Busick, would allow dentists to vaccinate patients for the virus. Busick said the bill would expedite the vaccination process and provide Missourians with a new option to get vaccinated.
“One thing I considered is the fact that you don’t go to a dentist with a communicable disease, while you might in a hospital or clinic,” he said. “It may really be a safer place to get vaccinated. The higher education institutions in my district have seen no problem with the idea. You can go by Hy-Vee or something like that for a flu shot, so why wouldn’t a medical office be able to do the same thing? It’s just as safe — if not more so.”
Under the bill, participating dentists would be required to undergo training before administering the vaccine to patients with which they have a preexisting doctor-patient relationship. Busick said the bill would prohibit dentists from soliciting new patients for vaccination.
The Republican sophomore said he was prompted to file the bill by medical professionals in his district, which houses Truman University and other institutions.
“My district has quality schools of higher education with medical and dental programs, and they along with the University of Missouri-Kansas City dental school came to me with this idea to help with this ongoing situation,” he said. “Flu shots and things like that are given out at places other than doctors’ offices, and dentists are very well trained in applying injections and things like that.”
Busick said the bill would allow more Missourians to receive the vaccine in a safe environment, and that the dentists he had consulted with in his district approved of the idea.
“We have very fine dentists and medical professionals here in Missouri,” he said. “I think they’ve given a lot of consideration to whether this is something they can do, and I haven’t heard of any situation where this would cause any trouble.”
California enacted the same policy this week, approving an emergency waiver from its Department of Consumers Affairs after its governor reported low vaccination numbers amid rising case numbers for the state.
Missouri recently passed a new rule allowing pharmacy technicians to administer the vaccine, increasing immunization capacity beyond pharmacists and interns. Walgreens and CVS are contracting with the federal government to administer the vaccines to long-term care facilities.