Iowa dentists push for role in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Iowa News

ALTOONA, Iowa (WHO-TV) – Across the country, dentists are beginning to take on a new role during the pandemic. Currently, dentists in over 20 states are administering the COVID-19 vaccine and the Iowa Dental Board has introduced a bill this legislative session for dentists in Iowa to do the same. 

The Iowa Medical Society has publicly opposed this bill. In a statement to WHO13, the state’s problem is with the amount of vaccines Iowa is being given, not with distribution.

Co-owner of Altoona Smiles, Eric Forsberg, says his practice would be more than happy to offer the vaccine in their office, but they do understand the additional work that would come with administration.

“The administration of the vaccine is very simple. But the paperwork on the end the administrative requirements that come with it. A lot of our pharmacies are already doing these things, and also it’d be another set of regulations and administrative stuff,” Forsberg said. “I really like to focus on teeth, but I do want to be able to keep our team and patient safe.” 

Brummell said this bill would be more useful in more rural areas. 

“I think this is a great opportunity for even places in small towns where there’s not a whole lot of access to care. So I think it could really help those communities,” Brummel said.

Altoona Smiles has avoided the worst of the economic impact of the pandemic. The family dentistry is currently hiring a new dentist, hygienists, receptionists and assistants.  Co-owner Nicole Brummel said they’ve been lucky enough to stay busy during this pandemic and believe many Iowans could benefit from entering into such a stable job field. 

“I think we all want to be indispensable at some point and so knowing that you’re providing a service that people really can’t go without for an extended period of time is just a testament to the great service you’re providing,” Brummel said. 

The Bureau Of Labor Statistics anticipates the number of job openings for dental assistants to grow a little over 10 percent by 2028.  According to the Dental Assisting Institute, the demand for those in dental services has been overwhelming this year, causing pay rates to rise as well. 

The Altoona Smiles Career Meet and Greet will be held tonight from 5:30 to 7pm. They are asking participants to bring a mask and a resume. 

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