The Association des chirugiens dentistes du Québec (ACDQ) demands that the government vaccinate dentists and dental clinic staff. Given the growing presence of SARS-CoV-2 variants across Québec, the ACDQ said, all healthcare professionals urgently need to be vaccinated.
“Although there have not been any cases of COVID-19 being transmitted from asymptomatic patients to dental clinic staff members since dental clinics reopened in June, dentists and their teams (assistants and hygienists) are concerned about the influx of new variants, which are much more contagious according to public health authorities,” said ACDQ president Dr. Carl Tremblay.
The government should bear in mind that dentists and their teams work in close proximity to their patients’ respiratory tracts, and patients do not wear masks during their treatments, which can last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, the ACDQ said. Dentists are therefore justified in demanding that the necessary precautions be taken to keep them and their patients safe, the ACDQ said.
Tremblay believes the government is not giving due consideration to the healthcare professionals who work at private clinics.
“When it comes to healthcare professionals, the government seems to be vaccinating not on the basis of risk, but rather on the basis of necessity. It vaccinates the hospital staff that it needs, while at the same time neglecting the staff working at private clinics,” Tremblay said.
Tremblay has had several conversations with Daniel Pare, Québec’s vaccination campaign head, and the office of the Minister of Health and Social Services in recent months to make them aware of the importance of vaccinating dentists.
According to the initial order of priority, dentists and other healthcare professionals in the private sector were supposed to be given priority in the vaccination efforts as part of the second priority group. The ACDQ is therefore demanding that the government follow this order and send clear directives to CIUSSS and CISSS institutions that they should begin vaccinating dentists and other healthcare professionals.
“Right now, dentists are more likely to be vaccinated based on their age group than their status as healthcare professionals,” Tremblay said.