The Minnesota state Senate passed legislation on Feb. 8 that would allow dentists to administer CCP virus vaccines in a bid to accelerate their rollout.
The bill, called SF 475, amends a section of Minnesota Statutes 2020 to allow dentists who have undergone relevant training to administer both influenza and CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccines. While the statutes already allowed dentists to give flu shots to patients aged 19 and over, the amendment reduces the age to 16 and expands the scope of inoculations to include vaccines for COVID-19.
“As the COVID vaccine becomes more readily available, we want to ensure that Minnesota has the flexibility to administer the vaccine quickly in communities across the state,” said Sen. Rich Draheim, a Republican, in a statement. “Our state’s rollout has been rocky to date. As we look to improve, one way to add flexibility is to add administers that we already have trusted as partners in delivering other vaccines.”
The legislation passed in a unanimous 67–0 vote, which Draheim hailed for its bipartisan backing.
“I wanted to take a moment to applaud today’s bipartisan compromise on my legislation to allow dentists to administer the COVID vaccine,” he said in a statement. “Despite our differing views on many subjects I’m happy to see that we can find compromise and work together to help all Minnesotans.”
With the move, the North Star State joins around 20 others that let dentists administer inoculations.
Meanwhile, the country has entered a tricky phase of the CCP virus vaccination rollout as providers try to ramp up the number of people getting first shots while also ensuring a growing number of others get second doses. It comes at a time when millions more Americans are becoming eligible to receive vaccines.
With Pfizer’s and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines, the need to give each person two shots a few weeks apart vastly complicates the country’s biggest-ever vaccination effort. Uncertainty about future vaccine supplies fuels worries that some people won’t be able to get their second shots in time.
In some cases, local health departments and providers have said they must temporarily curb or even cancel appointments for first doses to ensure there are enough second doses.
For about the past month, the United States has administered an average of 900,000 first doses each day, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Now many of those people are due for second doses, and the average number of Americans getting second shots hit an all-time high on Feb. 9, at 539,000 per day over the past week.
Since the vaccine was authorized in late December 2020, about 33 million people in the United States have received at least one shot, while 9.8 million have received two doses, according to data from the CDC.