A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association gauged the public’s receptivity to receiving vaccinations from their dentist.
More than 28 million people in the United States visited their dentists but not a physician in 2018, making dental clinics a compelling avenue for administering certain regular vaccinations. Yet, only a few states allow dentists to administer vaccines to patients, and those vaccines are limited to influenza, COVID-19, and human papillomavirus.
To assess the receptiveness of adult dental patients and caregivers of pediatric dental patients to receive necessary vaccines during their dental appointment, a survey was distributed to patients attending a dental visit at a rural federally qualified health center.
The JADA study, Patient Receptivity To Receiving Vaccinations in the Dental Clinic at a Rural Federally Qualified Health Center, surveyed responses from 643 adult patients and 625 pediatric caregivers. Around half of respondents (54.2% and 49.9%, respectively) reported being receptive to receiving vaccines in the dental clinic, with 28.5% and 21.8% not being receptive to vaccines, respectively.
Primary language, age group, number of children, and primary care center all were associated significantly with reported likelihood of receiving vaccines. The most reported concern about receiving vaccines at a dental clinic was a preference for their primary care physician to provide all vaccinations, according to 22.2% of adult patients and 39.8% of pediatric caregivers.
Despite these concerns, the study’s findings support efforts to administer vaccines during dental visits to improve immunization rates among adults and children, according to the study authors. Ongoing communication with primary care physicians regarding administration of vaccines in the dental clinic could reduce concerns by adult patients and pediatric caregivers.
The study could be used to inform strategies and policies that establish protocols to ensure the safe and effective administration of vaccines in dental visits that should be implemented and supported, according to researchers.