COVID-19 Updates, Resources and Return to Work

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Health Care Workers in Oregon

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has adopted a temporary rule that requires all health care workers in Oregon to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

The OHA adopted this temporary rule to help to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19, and has stated that “it is vital to this state that health care providers and health care staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to protect themselves, their patients and statewide hospital capacity.”

This temporary rule will be administered and enforced by the OHA. For additional details about the vaccination requirements and exemptions, please review the full text of the OHA rule, OAR 333-019-1010, and OHA’s Letter to Interested Parties. Questions should be directed to the OHA at [email protected].

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) advocates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) guidelines for preventing the transmission of infectious diseases. The CDC recommends that all healthcare personnel receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The ODHA understands that this has been a very challenging time to be a dental hygienist. Many of you faced long periods of unemployment due to dental offices being closed. Those of you who returned to work needed to adjust to new, more stringent infection control protocols. And now you are required to have a vaccine to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19.

The ODHA believes that most dental hygienists have already been vaccinated for COVID-19. However, we do know that vaccine requirements for health care workers may create a conflict between their individual right to autonomy & privacy, and their professional responsibility to protect their patients from the spread of infectious diseases.

As a constituent of the ADHA, the ODHA supports the OHA temporary rule because it is based on the CDC guidelines for protecting our patients, providers & staff members from disease transmission.

ODHA Member Messages about the COVID-19 Vaccine

February 1, 2021 

Dental Provider Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine

The ODHA is aware that there are dental hygienists in Oregon who are having difficulty obtaining their own COVID-19 vaccine. It appears that healthcare workers who are affiliated with a hospital are obtaining their vaccines sooner than “unaffiliated” healthcare providers like dental providers. This makes sense because it is much easier to vaccinate healthcare providers in a hospital setting than it is to vaccinate healthcare providers who are scattered at multiple locations throughout the state.

The ODHA has partnered with the Oregon Dental Association (ODA) & other stakeholders to send a letter to Governor Kate Brown urging her to increase access to the COVID-19 vaccine for dental providers. And we understand that the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) now has a staff member whose time is dedicated to increasing access to the COVID-19 vaccine for “unaffiliated” healthcare providers. Visit the OHA COVID-19 website at OHA COVID-19 for the latest updates, testing sites and vaccine information, or find information for healthcare partners. 

Dental Hygienists Administering the COVID-19 Vaccine

The ODHA has received questions about allowing dental hygienists in Oregon to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. We are aware that this has been authorized in other states to address the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019 House Bill 2220 amended the Oregon Dental Practice Act (law) to authorize trained and certified dentists to prescribe and administer vaccines. Several dental hygienists have contacted the Oregon Board of Dentistry to request that the Board allow dental hygienists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. At their December 18, 2020 meeting, the Board was advised by legal counsel that they do not have the legal authority to allow dental hygienists to administer this vaccine because the Oregon Dental Practice Act (law) specifically allows dentists to administer vaccines but it does not indicate that dental hygienists may administer vaccines.

The Oregon Governor could issue an emergency executive order to allow dental hygienists (and other healthcare workers) to administer this vaccine if she determines this to be necessary, but this would likely be for the COVID-19 vaccine only and probably for a limited time. The ADHA has launched an Advocacy Alert asking dental hygienists to contact their state governors and urge them to grant dental hygienists the authority to administer the COVID-10 vaccines. The ODHA President has sent an email to Governor Kate Brown to urge her to grant dental hygienists the authority to administer the COVID-10 vaccines. We encourage all dental hygienists to use this link  Take Action Now to email Governor Brown.

ODA’s website also has resources at for information they are providing dental teams.

On this page:

ODHA and Our Advocacy and Partnerships

The Oregon Dental Hygienists’ Association is working in partnership and collaboration with the professional dental community to ensure that dental hygienists are returning to work with access to resources and tools that promote safety and collegial communication.

We continue to engage in meetings and conversations with organizations who are committed to the same interests as the ODHA – providing a safe and healthy environment for practitioners and patients and supporting access to long-term opportunities for the dental hygiene workforce. We are committed to the transparent conversations and work with our aligned communities.

  • The Oregon Health Authority continues to provide updated guidance to both the governor’s office and the Oregon Board of Dentistry.
  • We are partnering with the Oregon Board of Dentistry to ensure our patients and professionals are safe as we return to the clinic environment.
  • We are in frequent communication and partnering with the Oregon Dental Association, who also wants to protect us, patients, and their members.
  • The ADHA ensures our voices are heard on the national level and works to activate our members locally.


Here are a few links and resources to navigate the new professional challenges around COVID-19.

  • If you need to file a claim for unemployment or have questions, go to the State of Oregon’s Employment Department.
  • If you have questions about your malpractice insurance coverage, please contact your broker or carrier about details.
  • If you are looking to access Personal Protection Equipment, please work with your office’s dental supplier or your county health department.
  • If you have questions about your dental hygiene license or continuing ed requirements, check out the  Oregon Board of Dentistry.

May 29, 2020

May 19, 2020

May 6, 2020

May 1, 2020

April 24, 2020

The Oregon Dental Association (ODA) will be issuing additional resources and guidance to dentists to help them successfully re-open their practices while protecting their staff and the public from COVID-19. The guidance will emphasize the importance of social distancing and compliance with new American Dental Association (ADA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for COVID-19 safety.

We encourage dental hygienists to review the ODA guidance when it becomes available and work together with their dental team to promote safety for both patients and providers.

April 23, 2020

Governor Kate Brown announced plans to resume non-urgent medical and dental procedures, provided they can met new requirements for COVID-19 safety and preparedness. Those offices that meet these requirements will be able to resume non-urgent care on May 1, 2020.
Review the official framework online here.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) previously released guidance outlining the criteria. The Oregon Dental Association (ODA), in cooperation with the OHA and Oregon Board of Dentistry (OBD) will be releasing additional resources and guidance as it becomes available.  

Additional Resources:

Updates from the ODHA

Dear Members,
As the COVID-19 virus outbreak reaches our communities, we want to let you know that the Oregon Dental Hygienists’ Association (ODHA) is monitoring important public health resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) for medical community guidance and public gatherings. We encourage you to do the same as information is changing rapidly.

The ADHA posts updates on its website. You can find this information on their homepage at

By now, you are probably aware that the Oregon Dental Association (ODA) has cancelled the 2020 Oregon Dental Conference (ODC).  The decision to cancel the conference is based on Governor Kate Brown’s recently announced ban on public gatherings of more than 250 people, as well as growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Oregon.

Our partners at the ODA will advise on tuition refunds for registered attendees. For more information, check out their FAQ and Letter to Attendees. If you were a sponsor for the ODHA All Registered Dental Hygienist event at the ODC, we will reach out to you later this week.

Be sure to stay tuned to the ODHA website, upcoming emails and the monthly newsletter for updates about  ODHA’s continuing education in your area. We will notify you of any changes as we work through our event calendar.

In the meantime, please mark your calendar for the Oregon Dental Hygiene Conference on Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24 at the Embassy Suites Washington Square.

We all recognize that uncertainty is stressful and we hope that all our members, their families, loved ones and the people in their lives who you care about stay safe during this pandemic. 

Tiffany Foy

ODHA President’s Message about COVID-19

May 1, 2020

On April 23, 2020 Governor Kate Brown announced that medical and dental offices in Oregon could reopen on May 1, 2020 if they can demonstrate that they meet new requirements for COVID-19 safety. This announcement does not require dental offices to reopen, and many dentists are choosing not to resume routine dental care until they have appropriate infection control protocols in place to protect patients and providers.

The Oregon Dental Hygienists’ Association (ODHA) understands that dental hygienists have concerns about returning to clinical practice at this time. We encourage you to send your concerns directly to ODHA so that we can compile these concerns and advocate on your behalf directly with the Oregon Dental Association (ODA). The ODHA has a strong relationship with the ODA and we know that they are receiving similar concerns from their members.

Over the coming days and weeks, ODHA will try to respond to your concerns and questions through emails and at In return we hope you can help ODHA by promoting its efforts to assemble resources and communicate with the membership and all dental hygienists in Oregon.

In addition to ODHA receiving direct comments and questions, a number of issues are appearing on social media.  Please remember, our patients also see these posts, and we want them to trust that we can provide them with safe care when they return to us for dental hygiene treatment.

We have also seen many questions from dental hygienists about unemployment benefits. The ODHA cannot provide guidance on applying for unemployment benefits because unemployment benefits vary from state to state and everyone’s situation is different.

The ODA and the ODHA do not regulate dental practice in Oregon therefore we cannot enforce infection control protocols. We can advocate for you and share your concerns with state government officials including the Oregon Board of Dentistry.

Please visit the ODHA COVID-19 Resource page. ODA’s website also has resources at for information they are providing dental teams.

We encourage you to work together with your dental team to promote safety for both patients and providers. COVID-19 has changed the way we think about education and healthcare and how we communicate with our patients and colleagues. It will take all of us collaborating on best practices and new opportunities.

We recognize that this is a stressful time, but we will get through this together and become stronger because of the challenges we are facing. ODHA is here to support and advocate for you during this uncertain time. Our hearts go out to those affected by the pandemic. Be well and stay safe.

Tiffany Foy
Oregon Dental Hygienists’ Association