California Dental Hygienists Can Administer the COVID-19 Vaccine

Dentistry Today


Registered dental hygienists (RDHs) in California who meet specific training and supervision requirements can now administer the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).

DCA director Kimberly Kirchmeyer has waived Business and Professions Code sections and California Code of Regulations sections to the extent that they prohibit RDHs from administering COVID-19 vaccines that are approved or authorized by the federal Food and Drug Administration to people age 16 and older and, in cases involving a severe allergic reaction, epinephrine or diphenhydramine by injection, subject to the following conditions:

  • The RDH administers the subject vaccine, epinephrine, or diphenhydramine as applicable under the direct supervision of a dentist as specified in Business and Professions Code section 1902 or under the supervision of a licensed physician and surgeon
  • The RDH’s supervisor must be physically present at the site of the administration and while the vaccine, epinephrine, or diphenhydramine is administered
  • The RDH’s supervisor is authorized to independently initiate and administer the subject COVID-19 vaccine
  • The RDH successfully completes at least six hours of a practical training program approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education that includes hands-on injection technique, the recognition and treatment of emergency reactions to vaccines, and an assessment of the RDH’s injection technique
  • The RDH successfully completes the required COVID-19 training programs prescribed by the California Department of Public Health online
  • The supervising dentist or physician and surgeon complies with all applicable federal and state recordkeeping and reporting requirements and enters information in the appropriate immunization system designated by the immunization branch of the State Department of Public Health
  • The subject vaccine is administered in accordance with any applicable FDA emergency use authorization or license

RDHs acting within the scope of the DCA director’s order may administer any COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized by the FDA as specified to people age 16 or older as well as any epinephrine or diphenhydramine by injection to treat severe allergic reactions.

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