MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin is gearing up for everyone to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May, and that means enlisting the help of dentists.
The Wisconsin Legislature on Tuesday, March 16 approved a bill to allow dentists to give the flu and COVID-19 shots.
Passage of the bill came quicker than a call to the dentist's office. In fact, no mouths even opened for debate as the bill was unanimously approved by the Assembly.
As the country ramps up vaccinations, neighboring Minnesota and Illinois already allow dentists to give the shot.
"A patient would I think gladly have done (the vaccine administered) while they’re getting their teeth cleaned, or getting a filling done," said Dr. Angela Lueck. "It just saves them a trip to their own doctor, and they’re already here, they’re already having work done."
Lueck has been a dentist for more than 20 years. She's never given a vaccine, and she will need to complete 12 hours of training to do so.
"Giving injections or anesthetic is part of our daily routine, it’s something we do pretty much all day long," Lueck said. "The difference between this and giving a vaccination is that we have oral structures to worry about, from the tongue, to vessels, and we’re searching for nerves that are underneath the tissue, so it’s a little more complicated, I guess than giving a vaccination."
Passed by the Senate and now the Assembly, the bill now moves on to Gov. Tony Evers' desk for his likely signature before dentists will be able to vaccinate.
The Assembly also unanimously passed another bill on Tuesday. It would guarantee people with pre-existing conditions can't be denied health insurance. That is a part of the Affordable Care Act, but the measure would be a state backup if that federal law were to be struck down.