HHS Amends PREP Act to Bolster Vaccinator Workforce

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Feb 4, 2021
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a fifth amendment to the Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) on January 28 to add additional categories of qualified persons authorized to prescribe, dispense, and administer COVID-19 vaccines.

The amendment authorizes any healthcare provider licensed or certified in a state to prescribe, dispense, and/or administer COVID-19 vaccines to do so in any other state or U.S. territory. However, the amendment does not explicitly authorize licensed dentists to prescribe, dispense, and/or administer COVID-19 vaccines in all 50 states, as that authorization is granted at the state level.

Under the PREP Act, a qualified person is a covered person that is immune from suit and liability under federal and state law concerning all claims for loss resulting from administering a covered countermeasure if a declaration under the PREP Act has been issued for the countermeasure. Certain limitations may still apply.

The amendment’s publication came shortly after AGD sent a letter to HHS Secretary-designate Xavier Becerra and the White House COVID-19 Response Team’s Vaccination Coordinator, Dr. Bechara Choucair. In the letter, AGD communicated support for the Administration’s plan to amend the PREP Act declaration to permit certain qualified professionals not licensed under state law to administer vaccines to be able to do so. 

Impact on General Dentistry: AGD is pleased to see the Administration making additional efforts to amend the PREP Act to facilitate vaccinations. AGD will continue to urge policymakers at the state and federal levels to permit licensed and qualified general dentists to order and administer COVID-19 vaccines if they wish to do so. AGD believes general dentists have the experience and expertise to help the nation’s pandemic response efforts as vaccinators.