Dentists want to help with coronavirus vaccinations
Dutch dentists say that they are prepared to lend a hand in administering coronavirus vaccines. Member of the dentist’s union KNMT, Henk Donker, said in an interview with BNR that dentists have the capacity to vaccinate patients quickly because the necessary equipment is already there.
“Dentists have much experience with injections. Giving an anesthetic to the lower jaw is much more difficult than a simple injection in the upper arm”, Donker said.
He said that their offers to assist with vaccinations had been previously rejected by the Ministry of Health. “They did not accept it. Because I had time to spare, I made myself available to the GGD. They said: 'We do not use dentists for vaccinations.’ But I have friends who are dentists in Den Haag and Leiden that are helping. So there is no clear-cut policy in this either.”
The proposal from the KNMT comes at the same time that GPs say they are struggling to keep up with vaccinations while and provide regular health care at the same time.
Donker said he thinks the Netherlands should follow the example of the United States, where dentists and even veterinarians are allowed to administer coronavirus vaccines.
Former chief inspector at the Inspection for Medical Care, Wim Schellekens, is skeptical about the offer. “Of course, they know how to give a shot. But we are vaccinating vulnerable people here who require special regulations and have an increased dependency on their GP.”
Schellekens said that vaccinating people in dentists’ offices could pose a logistical problem. “When you are vaccinating people in large numbers, you need to ensure there is enough space to keep distance, also because you need to wait 15 minutes after the vaccination to check if patients have any complications. Dentists have to provide that space too and I wonder if they are capable of that.” He said that the final decision should rest with the local GGD.