With the advent of a fully open and operational California looming around the corner, many health centers across the country have taken an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to administering the COVID-19 vaccine. There is a huge opportunity to be had in reaching the ultimate goal of herd immunity through the utilization of all our staff-power and resources. Implementing the use of dental providers and staff, who have been trained extensively to give injections both orally and subcutaneously, will aid the effort of putting the vaccine into the arms of our community members, providing a safer community and a safer world.
“To achieve the ultimate goal of herd immunity, we need to consider utilizing all of our resources and all of our staff that are well trained, to put shots into the arms of our community members as rapidly as we can,” states Dr. Huong Le, Chief Dental Officer, Asian Health Services, Oakland, California. Dentists are available and can help offset the workload that providing vaccines and tests places on medical staff across the nation; it is in our communities’ best interests to utilize resources that are at the ready.
Dr. Le shares that dental providers are also trained in promoting health in a manner that can be helpful in talking to community members who are still unsure about getting vaccinated. Dental visits are also longer and allow providers to build more intimate relationships, trust, and rapport with patients that allow a more fluid flow of accurate information to encourage patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Across the board, the benefits of including dental staff in the fight against COVID-19 will certainly prove fruitful in our mission to protect our most vulnerable community members. Dental providers have received training on managing medical emergencies and can be an asset at vaccination clinics or events. Health centers located in small communities should also consider having dentists in their area to volunteer as vaccinators. Asian Health Services has utilized many retired physicians and dentists in our local vaccination events.
“We’re here. Get us involved. We want to protect our community,” emphasizes Dr. Le.