Medical Reserve Corp

Dentists who want to serve as vaccine administrators should follow these steps

Governor Northam has signed emergency legislation – supported by the VDA – to allow dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in Virginia. Because it’s emergency legislation, it goes into effect immediately on the Governor’s signature. 

How to Register as a Volunteer Vaccinator:
Interested volunteers may now register with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) through either the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) or the new COVID-19 Emergency Vaccination Volunteer Program. Eligible vaccinators may also partner with a non-VDH Vaccine Provider (private practice, pharmacy, free clinic, etc.) directly and should contact organizations in their region to identify if there is a need. 

  1. VDH Medical Reserve Corps: Healthcare providers with an interest in volunteering as vaccinators for VDH may submit an application through the Virginia Volunteer Health System (VVHS). 
  2. VDH COVID-19 Emergency Vaccination Volunteer Program: Pursuant to House Bill 2333, VDH is required to establish an emergency volunteer program as a resource for additional volunteer vaccinators. This program is in development, and additional details are forthcoming. 
  3. Training may vary depending on the healthcare provider and program for which they are volunteering. Additional details are forthcoming, but VDH’s published Volunteer Vaccinator Training Information represents a solid foundation for any volunteer vaccinator.

This legislation does not entitle dentists to receive access to supplies of vaccine or guarantee that dentists who sign up will fill roles as vaccinators – it requires VDH to establish a process to allow dentists and other qualified health care professionals to administer the vaccine and to be called on as needed to support the vaccination effort. It requires VDH to establish a process for medical care facilities like dental offices to register as a site that could be approved for COVID-19 vaccine administration. The legislation also provides civil and criminal immunity to individuals and professional entities acting pursuant to the bill.

In early January, the VDA and VDHA sent a letter urging the Governor’s administration to use its authority to allow dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.  

VDA President Dr. Frank Iuorno, Jr. and immediate past president Dr. Elizabeth Reynolds joined a group of bipartisan legislators in Richmond in January as they unveiled this emergency legislation that would expand the pool of vaccinators for the COVID-19 vaccine to dentists and dental students. 

WATCH: VDA President Dr. Frank Iuorno, Jr. Speaks at Bipartisan Vaccine Press Conference

Dr. Iuorno and the VDA have also urged state vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula to allow more flexibility to healthcare personnel, including dentists, to assist the vaccine effort. 

The VDA will provide further updates on the implementation of this legislation as we get more information, and we will continue to advocate for a streamlined, efficient process for dentists to be able to offer their help. 

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