CARSON CITY – Immunize Nevada, Nevada’s only statewide nonprofit coalition dedicated to immunizations, has joined the Nevada Dental Association (NDA) in supporting a bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature that would enable dentists throughout the state to administer vaccines.
The bill proposed by state Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill, R-Carson City, would allow Nevada dentists to administer vaccinations for common diseases such as influenza, and allow dentists to continue administering the COVID-19 vaccine. A recent Nevada Emergency Directive initially made it possible for dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the state.
The bill acknowledges the ongoing need to improve Nevada’s overall vaccination rates and access to basic health care services and also addresses the need for dentists to help Nevadans during this ongoing pandemic.
Immunize Nevada is widely recognized as Nevada’s trusted resource for immunizations and community health for all ages by fostering education and statewide collaboration. The nonprofit expressed support for the measure, including supporting the issue when it was heard by the Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners.
“It is imperative that Nevada increase opportunities and locations for getting vaccinated – and expanding the scope of dentists is a step in ensuring adequate vaccine access; and follows similar efforts made by other states,” said Heidi Parker, executive director of Immunize Nevada. “We are grateful for the forward thinking of the Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners in considering this agenda item to help increase immunization access across the state.”
The bill would allow licensed dental practitioners to administer the seasonal influenza vaccine, providing another point of access for Nevadans seeking to get vaccinated, as well as the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
About 70% of oropharyngeal cancers are related to the HPV virus, national studies show. Dental offices are the primary health care setting for oral cancer screenings, education and awareness, all of which could have a significant impact on the administration of the HPV vaccine.
“We want Nevadans to know that administering vaccines is within the scope of practice for a dentist, that Nevada acknowledges this and that there is legislation being put forth to make this permanent. We are also grateful to have support for this legislation from a number of respected entities, including Immunize Nevada,” said NDA President Dr. Mark Funke, DDS, a longtime dentist based in Carson City. “This effort will increase the public’s access to life-saving care in a safe, effective and convenient manner and help alleviate the burden on the local health care system.”
Oregon currently has a law allowing dentists to administer such vaccines. In addition, similar legislation has been submitted in several other states, including Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, Idaho, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Washington.
Additionally, the American Dental Association’s (ADA) House of Delegates previously passed a resolution that states that dentists have the requisite knowledge and skills to administer critical vaccines that prevent life- and health-threatening conditions and protect the life and health of patients and staff at the point of care.
About the Nevada Dental Association
The Nevada Dental Association is the voice and advocate for oral health care in Nevada. It promotes the highest standards of care for the public and inspires members to pursue professional excellence and personal fulfillment through education, leadership and communication. It preserves the integrity of the dental profession, strengthens the doctor-patient relationship and promotes the Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct of the American Dental Association. Visit www.NVDA.org.