New Law Will Allow Oregon Dentists to Vaccinate Patients

PORTLAND, Ore. — A new bill that would allow dentists to administer vaccinations just passed the Oregon Legislature.

Next year, Oregon dentists will be allowed to give their patients immunization shots. House Bill 2220 will allow dentists to give any vaccinations — from measles to HPV and annual flu shots.

Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign the bill into law in the next day or two. The law passed with a nearly unanimous vote.

Oregon health officials have been working on this since before the recent nationwide measles outbreak. Dentists have gradually been providing health care screening to their patients well beyond the 32 teeth most of us have in our mouths.

Dr. Jason Bajuscak of City Dental works on a patient. Bajuscak says he’s eager to offer vaccinations to his patients under a new Oregon bill that’s expected to be signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown. (KATU Photo)

This law expands that and will allow dentists to be able to give both children and adults vaccines. Other states allow dentists to give flu shots, but not all vaccinations.

“This is not anything more than an access bill. Provide access for patients who want to get vaccines, to get them,” said Phillip Marucha, dean of dentistry at Oregon Health & Science University.

Marucha spearheaded the creation of the bill, along with the Oregon Dental Association.

Two weeks from now, the group will meet with the Oregon Board of Dentistry to start establishing training rules and protocols for dentists.

Dr. Jason Bajuscak of City Dental said he’s eager to provide this service to his 1,600 patients at his downtown clinic.

“Dentists have a unique, already established relationship, oftentimes, with their patients. We’re pretty integral with primary care,” Bajuscak said. “This is another great service that we can provide for them.”

Health care providers have known for decades that good oral health often translates to good health in general.

Only licensed dentists will be authorized to administer vaccines after a certification process. The Oregon Health Authority will also work with dentists to adopt rules to help them file the vaccination reports into the state immunizations registry.

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