CA dentists given emergency waiver to distribute COVID-19 vaccine


In an effort to expedite vaccine distribution, California’s dentists have been given approval to begin giving COVID-19 vaccines to patients 16 and older.

California's Department of Consumer Affairs approved a public health emergency waiver to start vaccinating patients as the state expands sites where the vaccine can be distributed.

The state's 3,600 dentists would be able to start administering vaccines after undergoing a brief online training through the CDC.

La Jolla-based dentist Coleman Meadows says he is looking forward to possibly joining the battle against the spread of COVID-19.

“I think it is a generational challenge,” La Jolla-based dentist Coleman Meadows tells NBC-4.“I hope that a lot of people respond to the call. I hope that the public embraces that."

According to the California Department of Public Health, about 454,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in California so far, but 1.3 million doses have been received by the state.

The true number of vaccines given could be somewhat higher because of lags in reporting data, but officials and experts agree that distribution has still been slow.

“If you think about it, this has been the story of this pandemic," said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a Stanford university professor and pediatrician. "And what it really boils down to is what I call the last mile... everywhere you’ve gone you’ve just seen that public health has been strapped. This is really just a matter of vaccines not getting into arms because there aren’t enough resources, vaccinators, clinics to really get this done at a large scale."

Gov. Newsom wants to inject another $300 million into the state's vaccination effort to help