Dentists Administering Vaccines
Dentistry’s Position: Support
Sponsor: Representative Laura Fine
A dentist enrolled in a medical network or enrolled as a Medicare or Medicaid provider may administer vaccinations upon completion of appropriate training on how to address contraindications and adverse reactions. Vaccinations shall be limited to patients 18 years of age and older pursuant to a valid prescription or standing order by a physician. In addition, vaccinations shall be limited to influenza (inactivated influenza vaccine) with notification to the patient’s physician and with appropriate reporting and record retention.
The Illinois State Dental Society supports this bill for the following reasons:
Expanding the number of providers willing to administer recognized safe and effective vaccines will enhance the safety of the citizens of Illinois and will reduce the overall cost on the health care system by keeping people out of the hospitals.
In Illinois last year, there were 98 deaths related to influenza and 600 ICU hospitalizations according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Annually 28,000 to 48,000 people die nationwide, with only 40% of Americans receiving a flu vaccine.
To date, nearly 2,000 dentists have been trained in Basic Disaster Life Support through the Disaster Emergency Medicine Responders Training Office, a major component of which is inoculation training.
Dentists have the necessary education and skills to provide vaccines to the public and help prevent many of the serious medical situations that develop when people don’t receive vaccines. A general dentist gives thousands of intraoral injections of anesthesia each year as a matter of normal dental treatment.
Given the severity of recent flu seasons, it only makes sense to expand the public’s access to the flu vaccine as well as other immunizations, particularly in rural and underserved areas where access to a pharmacist or physicians is likely to be limited.
Since 2002, 20 additional states have passed laws allowing pharmacists to administer at least some vaccines, bringing the total to 50 states with such laws, according to the American Pharmacists Association in Washington.
Illinois should continue to be a leader by being the first state to expand the safety net for its citizens by allowing highly qualified dentists the option of providing vaccines to patients as a preventive service.
Click here to a direct link to SB3409.