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April 2021 Social Commentary

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Janie Akridge Hill Hall, CRDH, BHS, MS, CDAJanie Akridge Hill Hall, CRDH, BHS, MS, CDA Dimensions Facebook Commenter

Absolutely not because I have not been properly trained to administer them (like nurses and medical personnel have). Plus, there is always the potential for a lawsuit if something goes wrong, or an injury occurs. 



Cecilia Rico-Paja, RDH, BS Cecilia Rico-Paja, RDH, BS Dimensions Facebook Commenter

In a heartbeat! Anything to help reduce COVID-19’s morbidity and mortality, and to get us closer to a “normal” life. My state, California, is allowing dental hygienists to volunteer now.



Kevin Ohashi Lopez, RDH, BSDHKevin Ohashi Lopez, RDH, BSDH Dimensions Facebook Commenter

I definitely would. We are skilled clinicians trained to provide care that includes the use of needles/syringes. We’re in the profession of preventive care, and, as such, the vaccines are there to prevent spread or contracting disease. I also feel like this would be great to solidify the work of dental hygienists. We aren’t limited to simply “cleaning teeth.” It’s time for us to have a seat at the table of medicine, or at least a bigger presence. This could very well be the opportunity for that.

Joanne Lee, BSDH, RDHJoanne Lee, BSDH, RDH Dimensions Facebook Commenter

Yes, we’ve received enough training to have a foundational understanding of vaccine administration. As a health professional and Master of Public Health student, I understand the importance of immunizations and devote the last few minutes of each appointment to encouraging patients to get vaccinated. I’ve completed the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention modules and am awaiting clarity on the practical training in vaccine administration for dental hygienists in California so that I can start volunteering in my local community.

Carolyn Patenaude, MSEd, BSRDH, CDA

Carolyn Patenaude, MSEd, BSRDH, CDA Dimensions Brand Ambassador

I am a vaccinator in the state of Connecticut. I trained through our Department of Public Health. An online training and exam were required first. Second, a hands-on training portion was necessary. Once these certifications were received, I was able to sign up with our state volunteer medical reserve core. I believe dental hygienists are uniquely qualified to administer the vaccines as we are already licensed to provide local anesthesia. It is a true honor to be able to help during such a critical time of need.

Sharon Stemple Hinchman, MSDH, RDHSharon Stemple Hinchman, MSDH, RDH Dimensions Facebook Commenter

Yes. Depending on the state, pharmacy technicians, emergency medical technicians, phlebotomists, and others are allowed to give COVID-19 vaccinations; none have local anesthesia certification, including nurses. Of the states allowing dental hygienists to give vaccines, many require a local anesthesia (LA) permit. In some states, LA is a new addition to dental hygienists’ scope of practice and many older hygienists may not have taken the course, eliminating this experienced group from serving as vaccinators. California requires dental hygienists to complete 6 hours of hands-on training in addition to a training module. Most nurses don’t spend that much time learning to give intramuscular shots. Why are dental hygienists always held to a higher standard?

SOCIAL COMMENTARY Like Dimensions of Dental Hygiene’s Facebook page at: to share your thoughts on posted questions. We may publish your comment in an upcoming edition of our new column “Social Commentary,” and one lucky respondent will receive a coupon for a free continuing education course. If you would like your Instagram handle included, please be sure to add it to your response.

From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. April 2021;19(4):13.

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