The FDI World Dental Federation is calling on more countries to allow dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines after a survey of its members revealed the small number of countries that currently do so, according to FDI’s COVID-19 Task Team.
Fifty-seven member national dental associations around the globe revealed that nearly two-thirds of countries had not granted permission to dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines as part of national rollouts.
In Europe, countries where dentists are not permitted to administer the vaccine include Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Slovakia, and Russia.
In France, the National Order of Dental Surgeons has called on the government to grant permission to the profession, but no authorization has been given to date. Discussions also are ongoing in Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Australia, Kenya, Hong Kong, and Germany.
“Oral health is a fundamental component of overall health and well-being, and oral healthcare is an essential public service,” said Dr. Gerhard Konrad Seeberger, FDI president.
“Efforts should be made to enable dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines when possible within national legislation and regulations, and with minimal disruption to oral healthcare services,” said Seeberger.
Countries that have authorized dentists to administer vaccines include Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Serbia, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom. In some of these countries, dentists previously weren’t allowed to administer vaccines, or at least administer the influenza vaccine.
In the United States, approximately 20 states currently permit dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines.
The survey also examined the prioritization of dentists in COVID-19 vaccine rollout programs, with 53% of responding countries saying that dentists would be included in priority vaccination groups, 12% saying dentists wouldn’t be included, and 18% saying that vaccination programs and priority groups were still being planned.
Countries that don’t include dentists as a priority group include Cambodia, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Thailand.