The organization’s call comes after the committee of medical and public health experts advising the CDC voted to recommend health care workers be in the first wave. 

The DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement is urging state leaders to ensure that oral health providers are among the first wave of coronavirus vaccine recipients following a vote on December 1 by a committee of medical and public health experts advising the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that health care workers—including dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants—and long-term care facility staff and residents be the first to receive vaccinations once approved by the Federal Drug Administration. The vote is reportedly a signal to state officials who are developing vaccine distribution plans in advance of official CDC guidance.

Dr Myechia Minter-Jordan, president and CEO for the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement, released the following statement in support of the recommendations adopted yesterday by the CDC’s ACIP.

“This recommendation reaffirms what we already know—oral health is essential health care for all. We expect the CDC to approve the recommendation and urge states to adopt this guidance and include dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants in the first wave of vaccine recipients. Many dental professionals—particularly those in public health settings like Federally-Qualified Health Centers—stand ready to administer COVID-19 vaccines and should be included in state distribution strategies.”

In a press release, the DentaQuest Partnership goes on to point out that oral health care is essential to overall health and the pandemic has illustrated that in a very real way. 

The DentaQuest Partnership recently released a report that found a link between better preventive oral health and a reduced risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). VAP is a leading cause of death among critically ill patients and has posed a serious problem for those afflicted with COVID-19 who require mechanical ventilation.