Washington — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched an online portal to help dental providers navigate the training and registration they will need to complete in order to become a part of the expanded COVID-19 vaccine workforce.
The Emergency System for the Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals website verifies health professionals’ identities, licenses, credentials and accreditations in advance so that state and territorial health agencies can determine the best way to use available COVID-19 vaccinators to help their communities.
“Some vaccinators may not be called to serve, but by registering you are making the commitment to help the people in your community if they need you. You could even administer a dose of vaccine that saves someone’s life,” wrote HHS on the Emergency System for the Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals website.
The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, or PREP Act, allows the HHS secretary to issue a declaration in a public health emergency such as a pandemic. This declaration provides temporary immunity from tort liability claims (except willful misconduct) to individuals or organizations involved in dispensing medical countermeasures such as vaccines. During COVID-19, a declaration was first issued in January 2020 and was amended on March 11 to designate additional health care professionals, including dentists, as "qualified persons” who are authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Dental students who have the proper training and professional supervision are also among those providers authorized under the declaration.
Since the pandemic began, the ADA has urged the federal government to expand the workforce of COVID-19 vaccinators to include dentists. The Association sent a Feb. 11 letter to HHS on this issue and the ADA was also part of a September 2020 coalition letter.
For more information or to register, visit the HHS Public Health Emergency webpage.
The ADA continues to monitor developments related to COVID-19 vaccine authorization and administration on behalf of the profession and public.