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In-Depth: San Diego dentists hope to administer more COVID-19 vaccines

States will handle distribution of COVID-19 vaccines differently
Posted at 6:23 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 15:06:11-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — In San Diego County, approximately 60 dentists have completed training and signed up to provide COVID-19 vaccines in the community, according to the California Dental Association.

In January, the California Department of Consumer Affairs approved a public health emergency waiver, allowing California dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine during this pandemic. Dentists would have to complete several training and safety courses required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I’m really excited to be able to give a vaccine because it’s easy, and they need people,” said Dr. Lindsay Pfeffer, D.M.D., M.B.E., M.S., an orthodontist who owns I-Orthodontics, a practice in the Carmel Valley area. “We give injections in far more dangerous areas with blood vessels, and nerves, and moving tongues.”

After completing the courses that go through administering the vaccine, watching for and recognizing reactions, and taking a test, Pfeffer was ready to start giving out shots.

While the vaccine supply is still very limited, and proper storage is an issue, Pfeffer can’t offer the shots at her practice, but she has volunteered at the Sharp Chula Vista vaccination super station and plans to volunteer again over the weekend.

“I had people crying, patients crying on Friday, praying, they were just pulling their shirts down before I could even ask them,” she said. “It was just really gratifying for me to help them.”

Over in Escondido, Dr. Samin Eftekhari, D.M.D., a general dentist at 760Smiles, also passed the approval process to give the vaccines.

“I immediately signed up for it,” he said. “The injections that we do in my career as a dentist are a little more specific and precise compared to a vaccination.”

He’s hoping to take things a step further and administer the vaccines at 760Smiles.

760Smiles’ office manager and vaccination coordinator, Cristy Sadoughi, said every Monday, they have been putting in a request through the state to receive vaccines, which would then be distributed to them by the county.

“We have the deep freezer, and we have the refrigerator,” said Sadoughi. “There’s very specific guidance on how to store these.”

760Smiles also set up an appointment system through their website; the only problem is, they haven’t been able to get their hands on any doses just yet.

A spokesperson for the County of San Diego tells ABC 10News while the county is currently still in charge of distributing the vaccines locally, they hope to be able to give smaller practices doses when a steady stream of vaccine is available.

Right now, it’s still a waiting game.

If and when 760Smiles receives vaccine doses, they hope to set up outside of the practice and offer vaccination appointments to the public.

“The more people that do it, the better,” said Eftekhari.