Expanding the amount of health care workers who can assist in statewide immunization efforts, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Anthony Verrelli and Robert Karabinchak allowing dentists to administer certain vaccines unanimously passed the full Assembly Thursday.
Under the bill (A-5212), dentists would be permitted to administer the human papillomavirus (HPV) and/or influenza vaccine if approved by the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry to do so. The dentist would be limited to administering these vaccines to adult patients only and would need to be in compliance with the rules established by the State Board of Dentistry and State Board of Medical Examiners.
The measure allows the Board to certify dentists during a public health emergency to administer immunizations to adult patients for the disease that is the basis of the emergency – even if the Board has not yet adopted rules/regulations regarding vaccine administration.
Dentists have already been called upon to assist in State immunization efforts, when the Commissioner of Health authorized these professionals to administer COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year. Many dentists also have training to administer injections in order to provide anesthesia to patients.
Upon the bill’s passage, Assembly sponsors Conaway (D-Burlington), Verrelli (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) and Karabinchak (D-Middlesex) issued the following joint statement:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important public health efforts are – what affects one of us affects all of us. This is especially true when it comes to vaccines, which are more effective when more people receive one.
“Many dentists already have the training and experience necessary to administer vaccines. It is only logical to include them in certain immunization efforts so that New Jersey has more professionals available to help administer vaccines and ultimately save lives.”
The legislation now heads to the Senate.