Alberta dentists offer to help with COVID-19 vaccinations

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The association that represents almost 2,800 dentists across Alberta says its members are ready and willing to give out COVID-19 vaccines if they are called upon to help.

The Alberta Dental Association and College wants the provincial government to consider using dentists in the vaccine deployment plan as more doses arrive.

President Bruce Yaholnitsky said his association has been in talks with the government since the summer about helping out.

“We’ve had so many of our members contacting us asking, are we going to be able to do this? Can you volunteer?  We’d have retired dentists approaching us (to see) if they can get a temporary licence just to help with the delivery of vaccines,” Yaholnitsky said.

“We have this huge, well trained, well educated group of health professionals, who (are) willing and able.”

Yaholnitsky said dentists would not be able to give out vaccines at their offices, since they don’t have the required cold storage, but could go to clinics where people are getting the jab to lend a hand.

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“Right now, there’s not enough vaccines that they would require us. Community health clinics and pharmacists are dealing with it quite adequately. But at some point in time we’ll get a load,” he said.

Both Manitoba and British Columbia include dentists among the health-care professionals approved to administer a COVID-19 vaccine.

Yaholnitsky said his association and the government have had some good discussions about what the process could look like in Alberta. There are some bureaucratic hurdles since most dentists are not part of Alberta Health Services, he said.

Representatives for Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ajoannou@postmedia.com

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