The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants should be included in the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
The CDC noted that dental professionals are among the healthcare personnel who are risk of exposure to the coronavirus by providing critical care to those who are or who might be infected with it. When healthcare personnel get sick with COVID-19, the CDC continued, they are unable to provide key services for patients.
Also, the CDC said, healthcare personnel who get COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus to the people they are caring for as well as to other healthcare personnel. These people may have underlying health conditions that put them at severe risk for COVID-19, the CDC said.
The CDC further noted the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, which have been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. It also said that it will continue to closely monitor vaccine safety, along with the Food and Drug Administration.
In November, ADA president Daniel J. Klemmedson, DDS, MD, and executive director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin urged ACIP to include dentists and their teams in any priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
“There is nothing routine about dental care,” the ADA officers’ letter to ACIP said. “Delaying treatment for months, weeks, or even days can make the difference between dying early, having a life-changing abnormality, and living a normal, healthy life.”
In December, the ADA joined 27 other healthcare organizations in expressing their concern that ACIP’s preliminary definition of healthcare personnel could lead states and localities to overlook dental office workers, excluding them from early access to the vaccine.