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Wisconsin dentists prepare to give COVID vaccine

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 10:24 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Dentists are preparing to get COVID certified after Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill that allows dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We had a few people call the office today asking if our office was going to offer the vaccine,” Dr. Patrick Tepe, Wisconsin Dental Association former-president, Verona dentist said. “I think it caught even our front desk a little bit by surprise.”

Patients are pondering the idea of a teeth cleaning and a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I would love to help,” Dr. Tepe said.

To step into the role of giving the Covid shot, dentists have to complete a course filled with vaccine protocols and record keeping. Even though dentists are no stranger to administering shots, Tepe said this playing field is different.

“Giving Covid and flu vaccines - which is what this law allows - there is as much logistics and paperwork and registration involved as there is the actual immunization itself,” he said.

For that reason, he doesn’t expect the majority of dentist offices to jump on board. But he said some may choose to help public health to offer some relief.

“If dentists can add to the workforce and, if nothing else, take some of the strain off the folks that have been vaccinating for now months and will be ongoing. It’s a little part that I think that dentists can do,” he said.

Evers announced he had signed the bill on Monday morning during a visit to the UW-Milwaukee COVID-19 vaccine site, the same day that nearly 2 million more people became eligible for shots.

“It’s all hands on deck and dentists have the right knowledge and experience to get shots in arms quickly and safely, and we know we can use their help to get this done and to put the pandemic behind us,” Evers said.

Evers’ administration announced earlier this month that people age 16 and up with certain pre-existing conditions would be eligible on Monday.

The general public will become eligible May 1. As of Sunday about 25% of Wisconsin’s population had received at least one dose. Nearly 15% had received two doses, completing their vaccination cycle.

“Wisconsin has been consistently at the top as a leader in the nation in getting available shots in arms, and that’s in part because Wisconsinites are always ready to roll up their sleeves and help,” the governor added.

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