An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Dentists Can Administer Covid Vaccinations In Washington

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A Washington state committee says dentists should be allowed to administer coronavirus vaccines if needed.

The Dental Quality Assurance Commission voted last month to give dentists that authority. But on Thursday, it added language that requires dentists to get hands-on training from a medical professional before actually giving shots.

Vancouver dentist Dr. David Carsten says he knows of cases where people have sustained serious shoulder injuries because they were vaccinated by people who weren’t qualified.

“As long as people have that hands-on training and are doing it competently, I don’t have a problem with it. I just don’t want to see any dentist cause a permanent injury to a person. That’s completely avoidable," he said.

Carsten says dentists in the Puget Sound and Portland/Vancouver areas will probably have no problem when they search for training opportunities. But other board members say they worry dentists in rural areas may have trouble finding people who can teach them.

The commission also voted to allow licensed dental hygienists to administer Covid vaccines while supervised by qualified medical professionals.