COVID-19

COVID-19 2021-03-19T15:55:26-04:00

March 18,2021
COVID-19 issues are rapidly and continually evolving. The following information is current as of the publication date listed.

Dear Colleagues,

PDHA has fielded many calls and emails regarding the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination.

We have consulted with PDHA legal counsel Jason G. Benion, Esq. According to Mr. Benion at this time, dental hygienists in Pennsylvania are not authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

Under the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act for Medical Countermeasures Against COVID-19 (PREP Act), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may declare those professionals who are authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines.  This declaration preempts any state law that prohibits a person from doing so.  An authorized person also is immune from liability for claims resulting from administration of the vaccine. 

HHS recently expanded the list of individuals authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines to include certain health care professionals (for example, paramedics, dentists, and physician assistants), recently retired professionals, and students.  However, HHS has not authorized dental hygienists to administer the vaccines. 

ADHA has advocated that dental hygienists be authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines and continues to work with federal agencies on this matter.

The PREP Act and HHS’ declaration also incorporate state laws that authorize individuals to administer COVID-19 vaccines.  Some states have authorized dental hygienists, typically those with an anesthesia permit, to do so. 

Pennsylvania, however, has not specifically authorized dental hygienists to administer COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccine administration is not part of the usual scope of a hygienist’s practice.  Legislation recently introduced in the General Assembly would simply incorporate into Pennsylvania law HHS’ list of authorized persons, under which hygienists are not authorized to administer vaccines.

We will continue to monitor this situation for further developments. 

Sincerely yours,

Carolynn B. Wahl, BSDH, PHDHP
PDHA Government Relations Chair

Please see the important announcement from the Pennsylvania Department of State which can be found at:  https://www.dos.pa.gov/pages/2020-12-07-waiver-cpr-massage-dentistry.aspx

Pennsylvania Further Extends Temporary Waiver of Certain CPR Rules for State Board of Massage Therapy and State Board of Dentistry

On April 7, 2020, the Department of State issued a waiver temporarily suspending the requirement that licensed massage therapists under the State Board of Massage Therapy maintain active certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). See Department of State Temporarily Waives CPR Rules for Two Additional Professional Licensing Boards. That same waiver also temporarily suspended the requirement that licensed dentists, dental hygienists and expanded function dental assistants under the State Board of Dentistry maintain active certifications in CPR and Basic Life Support (BLS). CPR or BLS certifications that were in effect on March 17, 2020, are currently recognized as remaining valid and in effect until December 31, 2020. – CONTINUE READING

Read More

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

download PDF here

Guidance on COVID-19 for Dental Health Care Personnel in Pennsylvania

Click on image below to enlarge or download pdf here

Please contact the Pennsylvania of Department of Health with questions or concerns.
Their website is https://www.health.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx