Compared with nurses, dentists can administer the
COVID-19 vaccines with similar safety outcomes, resulting in comparable rates of complications, a recent study has found.
Researchers conducted an observational cohort analysis of 537 patients who received their second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine dose. All shots were administered as intramuscular injections to the upper arm and were given by either nurses (n=84) or dentists (n=41) at a designated study site.
The outcome of interest was safety of administration, as measured by complications associated with injection technique, including numbness of the hand or arm at the time of injection, related shoulder injuries, prolonged numbness, or vasovagal reflexes.
The overall incidence rate of complications was 2.4 percent in the dentist group, as opposed to 8.3 percent in the nurse arm. The difference was not statistically significant (p=0.3).
Only one patient in the dentist group developed an injection-related complication, which was described as numbness in the hand or arm. Four patients in the nurse group experienced this side effect. Moreover, two other patients in the nurse group had vasovagal reflexes, while one developed a shoulder injury related to vaccination.
Pain at the time of injection, as measured by a numerical rating scale, was also comparable between the nurse and dentist groups (3.2 vs 2.9; p=0.5).
“The limitations of the present study include its observational, single-centre, and non-randomized study design and small sample size. Hence, a prospective, randomized, large-scale, multicentre study is necessary to validate the results of this study,” the researchers said.