Health & Fitness

Dentists, veterinarians and medical students authorized to administer Covid shots while Biden expands vaccination program

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A U.S. Army soldier of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division immunizes Jacklina Mendez with the COVID-19 vaccine on March 9, 2021 on the north campus of Miami Dade College in North Miami, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

The Biden government will allow a wider range of medical professionals, including dentists, veterinarians, paramedics and medical students, to administer Covid-19 shots to get the nation back to normal by midsummer.

The U.S. Department of Health is using its powers under the Public Preparedness and Emergency Preparedness Act to empower more healthcare professionals and qualified students to manage the admissions, the agency said in a statement Friday.

That means dentists, paramedics, midwives, opticians, paramedics, medical assistants, podiatrists, respiratory therapists and veterinarians can start giving Covid-19 vaccines nationwide, according to HHS.

It also empowers “medical students, nursing students and other health care students in the professions listed in the PREP Act with appropriate training and professional supervision to act as vaccines,” the statement said.

The move comes after President Joe Biden announced Thursday evening that he would instruct all U.S. states, tribes, and territories to qualify all adults ages 18 and older for the coronavirus vaccines by May 1.

The president said during his first primetime event for the nation on the one year anniversary of the pandemic the goal is for Americans to gather in small, personal groups to celebrate July Fourth.

“That doesn’t mean that everyone gets a shot straight away, but May 1st is the date on which every adult is entitled to register for the shot,” Biden’s Covid Tsar Jeff Zients said at a press conference on Friday. “We expect an adequate vaccine supply for all adults in this country by the end of May.”

The US currently administers an average of 2.2 million vaccines per day per week. About 65% of Americans 65 and over are now vaccinated, Zients said. Just over a quarter of adults aged 18 and over have received at least one vaccine, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’re making progress, but there is still a lot to do,” he said.

On Monday, the CDC released its first guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated. These state that they can now converse with other vaccinated individuals inside without masks or social distancing.

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Katherine Clark