SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – In an effort to speed up vaccinations across the state, Governor Newsom announced this week that dentists are now cleared to administer COVID-19.

The emergency waiver approved Monday allows the state’s 36,000 dentists to help give the shots.

“I think this is something that should’ve been done a long time ago. We should’ve been considered a long time ago,” Dr. Thomas Arnold DDS said.

Berkeley dentists Dr. Thomas Arnold and Dr. Daniel Chen say once they get trained, they’ll be ready to step up and administer COVID-19 vaccines at clinics and vaccination sites.

“As dentists, I think we are fully qualified to administer these vaccination shots. We already give injections in hard to reach places in the mouth, so giving a shot in the arm shouldn’t be a big deal. As medical professionals, we can recognize signs of allergic reaction, so us being able to recognize that and be able to know how to respond I think is crucial,” said Dr. Daniel Chen DDS.

This idea comes as the state continues to finalize it’s vaccination plan. The California Dental Association is applauding the idea, saying every available resource needs to be deployed to save lives and mitigate suffering during the pandemic.

Dr. Arnold says their qualifications go beyond the ability to give the shot.

“A lot of patients have confidence and faith in their dentist and people who might be a little apprehensive might be more open to it if their dentist they’ve been seeing for years says it’s okay.”

Dr. Arnold and Dr. Chen have already received their first doses through the Berkeley Dental Society.

The state association is now urging all counties to consider vaccinating dentists as soon as possible.

“I just think the dentists deal with the community all the time, and we’re excited to help people out and keep people alive. I mean, whatever we can do. We’re ready to get going, Dr. Arnold said.

Dentists will complete a four hour online training course from the CDC on how to administer the shot.

They could start being called upon to help out as soon as next week.

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