The association is calling for dentists, as essential health care workers, to be given early access to a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine when it becomes available.
Given that dentists are essential health care workers, the American Dental Association (ADA) is asking that they be given early access to a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine when one becomes available.
The statement came from ADA Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin at a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine panel on September 2, 2020. The panel, at the request of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is developing a plan for equitable distribution of the vaccine.
“There is little doubt that there will be a high demand for a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine once one becomes available—and doses of the vaccine will likely have to be rationed until production can meet the demand,” O’Loughlin stated. “We are therefore pleased that the National Academies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health are looking ahead to ensure the most vulnerable at-risk groups—including dentists and other essential health care workers, high-risk Latino and Black communities, and the medically compromised elderly—are allowed early access to the vaccine.”
Noting that 15% of the American public did not feel comfortable visiting the dentist without a vaccine or treatment, according to a poll, she added, “Early access to a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will reassure this group of patients that it is safe to resume dental appointments and will furthermore reassure dental health care practitioners who have reservations about delivery of dental care. It will [thus] reduce the risk that patients with a preventable or treatable oral disease will allow it to progress to an irreversible state.”
O’Loughlin and ADA President Chad P. Gehani followed up her remarks with a September 4 letter to the National Academies affirming that dentists should be included among those who have early access to a vaccine when available.
“We applaud your thoughtful consideration of how to allocate the early supply of a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine,” Gehani and O’Loughlin wrote. “Counting dentists and their teams among the essential health care workers who should receive Tier-1 access will reduce the occurrence of serious life-changing oral diseases, and possibly even save lives.”