A new bill would give dentists in Illinois the ability to provide certain immunizations—and doctors aren’t pleased with that idea. Under the proposal, dentists would be able to vaccinate patients over the age of ten for the flu, shingles, and hepatitis B. The Illinois State Medical Society is one of several medical organizations who oppose the legislation, claiming it wouldn’t increase access to immunizations, and would create confusion about what vaccinations patients have and haven’t taken.
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The society’s president-elect, Dr. William McDade, says their concerns aren’t about losing business. “We don’t make that much money giving immunizations as physicians,” McDade said. “So it’s not a turf battle, it’s not a big problem that we’re trying to preserve our income. It is really is a hundred percent about what is best for patients and patient care.” McDade says dentists should be concerned, as well, since giving immunizations would require them to be more prepared for any allergic reactions that may occur. McDade says such reactions to the local anesthetics used by dentists are rare, so their offices aren’t equipped to deal with those problems.