How about a COVID-19 shot with that cleaning?

State board gives dentists final approval to vaccinate

How about a COVID-19 shot with that cleaning?

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Dr. Abe Abdul’s fourth dental office in Union Square won’t open for a couple of months, but when it does, he expects to be offering a new service: COVID-19 vaccinations.

“For the longest time, even prior to COVID, I felt that the dental profession is in a good position in terms of even delivering the flu vaccine,” Dr. Abdul said. “We understand anatomy, we understand pharmacology, we understand how to deal with complications.”

And dentists know how to give shots in and outside of the oral cavity.

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“Many of us, we start IV lines,” Dr. Abdul said. “Many of us draw blood in our office.”

What Dr. Abdul drew up last month was a petition to Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker asking that dentists be included in the state’s professional pool of COVID-19 vaccinators.

By mid-December, the governor gave his blessing to the idea, along with Health and Human Services Secretary MaryLou Sudders. The Board of Registration in Dentistry gave final approval last week when it voted that administering the COVID-19 vaccine did, indeed, fall within the scope of regular dental practice.

So, when might dentists begin vaccinating patients?

Well, first they have to get vaccinated themselves. And pinning the state down on when that might happen has been a source of frustration for a profession whose members stare into the maw of the pandemic every day.

“We are one of the few medical specialties where we’re dealing with patients without a mask,” Dr. Abdul said. “We have to. There is no other way.”

Omar Cabrera of the state’s Department of Public Health told Boston 25 News that discussions about when dentists and other community health care providers will get vaccinated are happening now; but there is no word on when a timetable will be released.

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