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Oregon passes bill allowing dentists to administer vaccines

April 26, 2019

By Kimber Solana

Wilsonville, Ore. — Dentists in Oregon can soon provide vaccinations, including annual flu shots and the human papilloma virus vaccine, to patients.

The Oregon state legislature approved a bill that adds the prescription and administration of vaccines into a dentist’s scope of practice. House Bill 2220 received overwhelming bipartisan support and passed the Oregon Senate on April 25 and now awaits Gov. Kate Brown’s signature, according to the Oregon Dental Association.

“Dentists are highly trained medical practitioners who are well-positioned to provide this additional preventive care service,” said Dr. James McMahan, Oregon Dental Association president, in a news release. “Increasing our scope of practice to the administration of vaccines will help further integrate oral health with physical and behavioral health, ultimately better serving our patients.”

Under the bill, dentists providing vaccinations are required to take an additional continuing education training course and must meet current state mandated vaccine storage and reporting requirements. The Oregon Dental Association announced it will work with Oregon Health and Sciences University and the Board of Dentistry to create training programs for dentists who wish to provide vaccinations in their practice.

The bill, according to the ODA, would allow dentists to help Oregon reach state health goals that call for 70 percent of Oregon adults to regularly receive annual flu shots by 2020; increase the number of school-age children receiving vaccines; and, of particular interest to some dentists, administer the HPV vaccine to prevent oral and throat cancers.

The ADA in 2018 adopted a policy that urges dentists to support the use and administration of the HPV vaccine, recognizing it as a way to help prevent infection of the types of HPV associated with oropharyngeal cancer.

The Oregon bill passed the state House unanimously on March 28.

To read more about the ADA guidelines on the HPV vaccine, visit ADA.org/OralCancer.