Minnesota Senate passes bill to let dentists inject flu, COVID-19 vaccines

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The Minnesota Senate on Monday passed legislation seeking to allow qualified dentists to inject flu and COVID vaccines into patients.

Senate File 475, sponsored by Sen. Rich Draheim, R-Madison Lake, gives Minnesota additional flexibility with its vaccination plan, particularly in rural communities where doctors may be sparse.

“As the COVID vaccine becomes more readily available, we want to ensure that Minnesota has the flexibility to administer the vaccine quickly in communities across the state,” Draheim said in a statement. “Our state’s rollout has been rocky to date. As we look to improve, one way to add flexibility is to add administrators that we already have trusted as partners in delivering other vaccines.”

Current law allows for trained dentists to administer the flu vaccine to patients 19 years old and over. This bill enables dentists to administer the flu and the COVID vaccines to patients 16 years old and above.

Minnesota has injected at least 556,482 people with the COVID-19 vaccine as of Saturday.

The Food and Drug Administration has only approved the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Last week, Johnson and Johnson applied for emergency use authorization as well, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set a hearing on Feb. 26.

Once there’s enough vaccine supply, the next possible bottleneck could be the number of people granted authority to administer the vaccine.

According to the American Dental Association, at least 18 states currently allow dentists to administer the COVID vaccine.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is neutral on the bill.

“In general we want to make sure as many vaccinators as possible are available to get shots in arms once we have an adequate supply of vaccine,” MDH spokesperson Doug Schultz said.

The bill moves to the House.

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