December 9, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate: Statement from Texas Workforce Commission
On Wednesday, December 8, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) issued a letter to all Texas employers addressing COVID-19 vaccine mandates and current Texas law. The letter reiterates that current Texas executive order (GA-40) states, “no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including recovery of COVID-19.”
The full letter from the TWC is available HERE
The Texas Dental Association will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates to members as new information becomes available.
COVID Vaccine Laws: What You Need to Know
The TDA team includes experts in legal and regulatory issues whose knowledge helps Texas dentists. TDA’s legal counsel recently analyzed Senate Bill 968—the state’s COVID-19 vaccine bill—so you don’t have to.
TDA’s legal and regulatory support saves you time and money.
SB 968, effective as of June 16, 2021, does not prevent you from asking your team members about their COVID-19 vaccine status, or requiring all of your team members to be vaccinated.
Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) recently updated COVID-19 guidance
states that asking for proof of a team member’s vaccination status is not a disability-related inquiry
and is permitted under federal disability discrimination law. However, the EEOC cautions that asking an employee about the reasons for declining vaccination could require the employee to reveal information about a disability. The employer dentist will need to show that such questions were "job-related and consistent with business necessity."
Dentist employers should warn employees not to provide any medical information as part of the proof of vaccination.
Regarding patients, you are prevented from asking patients about their vaccine status as part of your COVID-19 patient screening process. You can ask patients whether they have been vaccinated when completing and updating the patient’s required medical history and limited physical evaluation.
If you’re a TDA member and you have questions about complying with regulations in your practice, you can call or email us. Individualized regulatory help is a benefit we offer our members. Visit https://www.tda.org/member-center/personalized-insurance-regulatory-help
for more info.
State of Texas Issues Statement on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
On April 13, 2021, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)
asked vaccine providers to pause administering the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine following a recommendation
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. Concerns exist about blood clots in six individuals 6 to 13 days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Although these adverse events are rare, they are being investigated to ensure vaccine safety. According the DSHS announcement, “People who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.” So far, none of the reported blood clot cases occurred in Texas, where more than 500,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered. DSHS will provide updates as they become available.
March 23, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccine Soon Available to All Texans
On March 29th all adult Texans are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will soon launch a new website allowing people to register for shots through certain public health providers. Texans can enroll in the Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler to learn about upcoming vaccine clinics hosted by DSHS, or a participating local health department, as well as being notified when new clinics and appointments become available. For more information, visit DSHS Vaccine Information webpage at dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine
. Although the vaccine will be available to all adults, DSHS expects vaccine providers to continue prioritizing people 80 years old or order and those at the most risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
Governor Abbott Authorizes Texas Dentists and Dental Students to Administer the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) just announced today (March 22) that Governor Greg Abbott approved dentists and dental students to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act’s (PREP) recently amended emergency declaration. To qualify, a dentist must be actively licensed in Texas or held an active license within the last 5 years that is currently inactive, retired, expired, or lapsed, as long as the license was in good standing prior to the date of inactivity and was not revoked by the TSBDE, or surrendered to the TSBDE while under suspension, discipline, or investigation, or arrest. A dentist also cannot be on the Exclusion List maintained by the Office of the Inspector General. Dental students must have training in appropriate vaccine administration as determined by their dental school and be supervised by a health care professional experienced in administering intramuscular injections. Other requirements also apply. The TSBDE is informing the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) that dentists can now administer the COVID-19 vaccine so that DSHS will let dentists register as COVID-19 vaccine providers.
Want to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in your dental office?
- Register through EnrollTexasIZ.dshs.texas.gov. Only registered dentists can receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines in Texas.
- Complete the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID 19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement and list the healthcare providers at that location that would be responsible for vaccination.
- Remember: You must be able to maintain vaccine safety and inventory and agree to report all COVID-19 dosages you administer and other data in the required time frame using DSHS required reporting format.
- Remember: You must administer the COVID-19 to patients for free regardless of the recipient’s ability to pay.
- Remember: You cannot seek reimbursement for COVID-19 vaccine or reimbursement for any ancillary supplies provided to you for free by the federal government.
- For more information go to DSHS’s “Vaccination Provider Enrollment” Webpage.
- Questions? Call the DSHS COVID 19 Vaccine Provider hotline at (877) 835-7750, 8AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday or email COVID19VacEnroll@dshs.texas.gov.
Want to volunteer your services?
- You only need to be authorized by the event or program’s licensed signing clinician.
It is exciting that dentists can now join the state’s vaccination efforts. Dentists have the knowledge and skills necessary to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, and TDA is eager to be a part of the state’s plan to get the vaccine to every Texan who wants to be vaccinated.
We know that these are frustrating and anxiety inducing times. Dentistry is safe, because dentists are infection control experts, who are practicing under enhanced safety protocols. Dentistry is also a well-respected profession in which you have always put the needs of your patients first and foremost. That’s what must continue now by supporting Texas’ vaccine guidelines in which Governor Abbott and state officials have made it clear that vaccine availability will be prioritized for those populations that, if not vaccinated could overwhelm the state’s critical health care infrastructure.