Latest executive order allows North Carolina dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Dr. Stan Hardesty examines teeth, fills cavities, and performs other dental procedures.

The Raleigh dentist will soon also administer COVID-19 vaccines, by volunteering at a clinic.

At least 20 states now allow dentists to administer the vaccine.

Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 193, making North Carolina one of them.

"We're appreciative to be a part of the COVID workforce that can administer these vaccines and help people to be vaccinated so we can go on back to life, hopefully, normally," Dr. Hardesty said.

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Dr. Hardesty owns his practice, W. Stan Hardesty DDS, P.A., and is President of the North Carolina Dental Society. He said the society advocated for this since dentists are already highly trained in giving injections.

"Since we're a health care provider, we're glad to help enter the workforce to kind of defeat this pandemic because we don't want patients to have to suffer through the symptoms of COVID, so we're glad to help administer the vaccination in any way possible."

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Dr. Hardesty is finishing online COVID-19 training programs, required by the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners, before giving the shots He hopes to help boost the number of North Carolianians who are vaccinated.

"We hope to increase that number, as we move into the summer months," Dr. Hardesty said.

Dr. Brett Wells, owner of Wells Family Dental Group in Raleigh, said he's going through the online training to be able to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

"I would like to look back on this time in my life and, I'm sure all of us, to be able to say we did everything we could do and how we helped in the pandemic of 2020-2021," Dr. Wells said.

Dr. Wells said he is open to volunteering at a clinic or even providing the vaccine at his offices, if there's enough supply.

A spokesperson from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said the executive order gives professional health care licensure boards such as the state dental and medical boards the authority to waive or modify enforcement of any legal or regulatory constraints that would prevent or impair allowing dentists licensed in North Carolina to administer the vaccine and to administer, by injection, epinephrine or diphenhydramine for the treatment of a severe allergic reaction to a COVID19 vaccine. She said the operational aspects of dentists administering COVID-19 vaccine will be left to the licensure boards.
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