DENVER (KDVR)-When 11-year-old Prince Budathoki went to his biannual dental appointment at Denver Health Family Health Center in Montbello, he was also given his second dose of HPV vaccine while he was sitting in the dental chair.
Dentists and hygienists cannot provide vaccines, but that center offers combined care with medical and dental services. So, a medical assistant can go to the dental office and give the shot.
It started as a pilot program during a pandemic when vaccination rates declined. Hoping to improve vaccination rates, Denver Health providers began offering vaccines at dental visits and provided 122 additional vaccines over a six -month period.
The program used a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. The pilot was such a success at the Montbello location that Denver Health is now expanding it to other dental offices soon.
“It’s great that real Denver Health is now, in most of their clinics, starting to do this project as a standard work,” said Drs. Jessica Jack, a doctor at Denver Health and one of the leaders of the project.
He added that after the age of 9, some children see their dentist more than their doctor.
“So, every six months they see their dentist, as long as they only see their doctor annually. So, it’s a good opportunity to find out kids who are already overdue for vaccines at that time, and take them to the clinic, and get vaccinated, instead of needing more appointments, ”he said. .
With integrated systems, the computer flags when a young patient needs for their HPV vaccine, and staff can offer the family vaccine.
“The HPV vaccine is the one to start the process, and if the patient agrees, we will offer all the vaccines that are appropriate for the patient at the same time,” Jack said.