New legislation might soon give California dentists the option to perform the rapid point-of-care COVID-19 test.

The proposed law will give dental offices the capacity to administer FDA-authorized flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

Assembly Bill 526, which passed in early September and is awaiting the governor’s signature, helps clear some hurdles dental practices face in managing patient care, particularly during the pandemic.

Once signed into law, dentists will have laboratory field services licensing to perform the rapid test. This will help protect all dental staff members and their patients from disease spread.

A July 26 public health order requires health care workers to be either fully vaccinated or test regularly for infection. This new bill helps expand access to simple and reliable COVID-19 testing.

The law will go into effect as soon as it is signed. The governor has until Oct. 10 to sign the bill under the current legislative session.

As essential workers, dentists provided needed services during the pandemic and were also entrusted to help get people vaccinated. The spirit of that will continue under the new law. The bill will codify a wavier issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs to administer vaccines. As a result, dentists will be able to prescribe and administer FDA-approved or authorized vaccines for the flu and COVID-19.

Under the bill, training for the administration of vaccines will count toward dentists’ continuing educations requirements.

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