The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched an online portal to help dental providers navigate the training and registration they will need to complete to become part of the expanded COVID-19 vaccine workforce.
The Emergency System for the Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals website verifies health professionals’ identities, licenses, credentials, and accreditations in advance so that state and territorial health agencies can determine the best way to use available COVID-19 vaccinators to help their communities.
The HHS noted that some vaccinators may not be called to serve, but by registering, dental providers are making the commitment to help the people in their community if they are needed. Dental providers could even administer a dose of vaccine that saves someone’s life, the HHS continued.
The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act allows the HHS secretary to issue a declaration in a public health emergency such as a pandemic. This declaration provides temporary immunity from tort liability claims, except willful misconduct, to individuals or organizations involved in dispensing medical countermeasures such as vaccines.
The HHS first issued a declaration in January 2020 and amended it on March 11 to designate additional healthcare professionals, including dentists, as “qualified persons” who are authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Dental students with the proper training and professional supervision also are authorized under the declaration.
Since the pandemic began, the ADA has urged the federal government to expand the vaccination workforce to include dentists. The ADA joined a coalition in September 2020 urging HHS to take this action and sent another letter asking the department to authorize dentists as vaccinators on February 11.
For more information or to register, visit the HHS Public Health Emergency webpage.