Dentists hope to make dent in vaccinating North Carolinians

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – With around 15,000 patients at his four locations, Dr. Brett Wells and his team of dentists could help make a dent in the vast amount of people in North Carolina waiting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’ve still got a lot of injections to give, many many millions of shots to get in, and I think the quicker we get shots in arms, the quicker we can get back to, I hesitate to say, life as normal, but life as close to normal as we’re going to get,” Wells said.

There are around 5,000 dental providers in the state. Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order in February clearing the way for dentists to be able to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We are waiting for the board to release their training criteria for licensees to be able to participate,” said Dr. Zachary Brian with the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative. He said they may receive that guidance this week.

Brian joins other dentists in hoping that it will also mean dentists can give the shots inside their practice.

“They trust us and we have generally a long-standing relationship with the patient, the patient’s family. And so, trust in who is delivering that vaccine may go a long way, particularly in vulnerable communities,” Brian said.

If they get them, dentists will need to know which vaccine they’ll receive, how often, and how many doses.

“Maybe you come in for your cleaning and you get your vaccine, or you schedule an appointment,” Wells said.

Dental offices are equipped to handle the most unforeseen side effects. Wells said he’s ready to do what it takes so that the influx of promised vaccine is given out as quickly and easily as possible.

“I think we all just want to do anything we can and do our part and help to get humanity to herd immunity so we can all get back to some semblance of our lives and reduce some of the operational headaches and the stresses that we are encountering in our everyday lives,” Wells said.

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