Dentists To Deliver HPV Vaccinations

HPV-associated cancers include the oropharynx and the base of the tongue and tonsils

dentist with young boy in the chair

Dentists in Oregon may soon administer vaccinations to their dental patients if Governor Kate Brown signs House Bill 2220.   

This new legislation adds the prescription and administration of vaccines into a dentist’s scope of practice in Oregon. 

The Oregon state legislature approved House Bill 2220 with bipartisan support and passed the Oregon Senate on April 25, 2019, according to the Oregon Dental Association (ODA). 

According to the ODA, this innovative legislation will empower Oregon dentists to help the state achieve these goals: 

  • Reach 70 percent of Oregon adults with annual flu shots by 2020
  • Increase the number of school-age children receiving vaccines
  • Administer the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent oral and throat cancers

This legislation is important since about 3,400 new cases of HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers are diagnosed in women and about 14,800 are diagnosed in men each year in the USA, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

An HPV-associated cancer is a specific cellular type of cancer that is diagnosed in a part of the body where HPV is often found, which includes the oropharynx and the base of the tongue and tonsils. 

“Dentists are highly trained medical practitioners who are well-positioned to provide this additional preventive care service,” said Dr. James McMahan, Oregon Dental Association president, in a news release. 

“Increasing the dentist scope of practice to the administration of vaccines will help further integrate oral health with physical and behavioral health, ultimately better serving our patients.” 

Under this bill, dentists providing vaccinations are required to take a continuing education course and must meet current state-mandated vaccine storage and reporting requirements. 

"As with other vaccines, patients should be vaccinated well before a potential cancer exposure. This is why it is important to give at age 11 or 12, though it can be given up to age 45,” said Michelle Beall, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist, MTM and Immunization Specialist for Brookshire Grocery Company.   

Sponsored Links:

“Protect yourself and your children from HPV-related cancers. Ask your healthcare provider for the HPV vaccine at your next visit,” reminded Beall. 

The Oregon Dental Association announced it will work with Oregon Health and Sciences University and the Board of Dentistry to create training programs for dentists who wish to provide vaccinations in their practice. 

In 2018, the ODA adopted a policy that urges dentists to support the use and administration of the HPV vaccine, recognizing it as a way to help prevent infection of the types of HPV associated with oropharyngeal cancer. 

Recent HPV vaccine news:

The Gardasil 9 vaccine is available at select clinics and pharmacies in the USA. And, vaccine discounts and financial support can be found at Vaccine Discounts.

Relevant Links: CDC vaccination schedules, CDC vaccine price list, international travel alerts, and report vaccine side effects.

Click here to read more about the ADA guidelines on the HPV vaccine.