California grants dentists emergency waiver to administer COVID-19 vaccines

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state is speeding up efforts to get people vaccinated. Soon, you might even be able to get the shots from your dentist.

This week begins round two of health care workers receiving their second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Valuable vials of the COVID-19 vaccine continue to be rolled out, yet not every health care worker has been rolling up their sleeves.

But Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer said those precious shots, which she calls liquid gold, are not being wasted.

"There have been a couple of instances where they've had extra doses at the end of the clinic," she said. "But they've managed to find other people in the hospital setting. We urge everyone to do your very best to create a sort of standby list with those folks that are in the right tier."

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Some hospitals acknowledge offering the COVID-19 vaccine to those outside the highest-priority groups - but say it was only done when thawed doses went unused and were about to expire.



Ferrer said vaccine distribution is going on as scheduled even as more patients crowd hospitals.

California's Department of Consumer Affairs just approved a public health emergency waiver that would allow dentists to administer vaccines to those 16 and older.

This comes as the first California nurse to get a COVID-19 vaccination receives her second shot.

"I was a little nervous because of everything I read as far as the studies," said ICU nurse Helen Cordova who works at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center.

RELATED: Gov. Gavin Newsom explains why COVID-19 vaccine rollout is slow going

When she got her first dose in mid-December she said she felt fine.

"Just felt like when I got my usual flu shot. The arm is sore for a bit and then it goes away," she said. "It just shows that the vaccine is working and your body is developing that immunity."

Her example has convinced many of her colleagues who had doubts.

"That's always been sort of my aim with it all - is that people do their research to sort of make that decision on their own," Cordova said.

Cordova worked both Christmas and New Year's and said the workload is relentless. She urges others to wear masks, stay apart and learn as much as you can about the vaccine.

"I kind of hope that people like me who were definitely no on the vaccine can change that stance to yes," Cordova said.
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