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Health Team

NC dentists can soon start vaccinating those eligible for a COVID vaccine

Posted February 11, 2021 7:59 p.m. EST
Updated February 12, 2021 1:46 p.m. EST

— Gov. Roy Cooper's recent executive order allows dentists to assist in the statewide coronavirus vaccination effort.

North Carolina now joins more than 20 states in including dentists in its vaccination efforts.

"Not only are we very comfortable with administering shots to people, we are used to dealing with adverse reactions to medications we know about scheduling people about tracking about rescheduling people," said Dr. Michael Riccobene, chief executive of Riccobene Associates.

Understanding all this, Riccobene says, will help move along the state's vaccine rollout plan. But there are still a lot of questions.

"It's still a matter of supply," Riccobene said. "How do we get it? And getting the training in order to know how to store it, knowing the exact tracking system they want us to keep; those are going to be the logistical issues."

Dr. Tasha Hinton at TTH Family Dentistry in Morrisville says she is more than willing to help vaccinate. But her office is much smaller and she worries she'll see the long lines other vaccination sites have seen.

"We wouldn't be able to see the volume these other clinics see, but, if we can see 10 a day or one person more, it's better than not," Hinton said.

The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners says a meeting with Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, the North Carolina Medical Board and the dental board has been scheduled to discuss the logistics, training and timeline.

"We know we will not get normalcy until everyone has herd immunity, to get to a point where patients feel safe coming to the dentist office or going out," Riccobene said. "We know until that happens, none of us will have that sense of normalcy."

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