BLOOMINGTON — The coronavirus pandemic might not have meant radical transitions in dental office practices, but it has, in one way, pushed some dentists out of the office.
Around 33 dentists in McLean County are now trained vaccinators, thanks to the effort of the Illinois State Dental Society. Weeks before the vaccine became available in January, ISDS members lobbied for public health departments to allow local dentists to administer vaccines.
"They really don't need a lot of training at all — it's just a redirection of what they do every day in the mouth, but with an injection into the deltoid of the arm," ISDS Director of Governmental Relations David Marsh said.
Earlier this month, the McLean County Dental Society offered the training to its members, getting them ready to vaccinate people if they're ever needed.
MCDS chose to offer the training as part of its March meeting to support establishing herd immunity for COVID-19 in McLean County. MCDS president Dr. Kirk Noraian said it was also a way to show appreciation to the McLean County Health Department for supporting vaccinations for dentists and their teams as frontline health care providers.
“Pulling together has been incredibly important during this pandemic. MCDS wishes to thank MCHD Emergency Services Coordinator David Hopper, Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight, and Support Specialist Jeffrey Paternoster for helping dental front-line workers get vaccinated,” Noraian said.
Dr. Stacey Van Scoyoc of Bloomington Family Dental is one dental professional in McLean County who’s turned her training in giving shots as a dentist into volunteer work at vaccine clinics.
“I’m really excited to be doing this,” she said. "It feels great."
About 800 dentists across the state have participated in the training.