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Dentists in Japan eyed for administering COVID-19 vaccine injections

Dentists in Japan eyed for administering COVID-19 vaccine injections

TOKYO — The Japanese government may soon allow dentists to administer injections of coronavirus vaccines.

Aiming to secure enough personnel for inoculations that are about to begin in full swing, the government hopes to increase the number of people who can administer vaccine injections other than doctors and nurses, who are currently the only ones allowed to do so.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry will soon convene a panel of experts to present a proposal for allowing dentists to administer vaccine shots as a special exception. If approved, the ministry will inform local governments and related bodies of the conditions for the special arrangement by the end of this month, and ask them to set up vaccination systems in their areas.

Administering vaccinations is in principle limited to doctors and nurses under the current law. Dentists are only allowed to give injections within the scope of dental treatments. But the government could create an exemption for this if it decides that there are special circumstances.

Vaccinations for those 65 and older started on April 12, but many municipalities are experiencing a serious shortage of nurses.

The vaccinations for the elderly are scheduled to start in full swing from mid-May onward. Looking ahead to the need for administering more than 100 million doses, including those for the general public, the government has decided that it is necessary to secure more people who can administer vaccine injections.

Inoculations by dentists would be allowed only in cases where municipalities determine that they are unable to secure enough doctors or nurses. Inoculations are expected to be administered at mass vaccination sites, not at individual dental clinics. The government is also considering requiring prior training for dentists.

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