National CareQuest Institute survey shows dental practitioners are offering (or willing) to provide COVID-19 vaccines.
According to a report released by CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, oral health providers across the country are ready to provide an access point of distribution for any additional “booster” shot that may be required to ensure continued immunity against COVID-19. The report comes as studies are underway in the United States and abroad to examine the efficacy of a booster shot that strengthens protection against the virus.
In a press release, CareQuest points out that as COVID-19 variants continue to spread, key Biden administration officials and the chief executive of Pfizer have indicated it is likely that booster shots will be required to protect against the coronavirus. According to its survey of nearly 400 oral health providers across the country, 49% indicated they either already administer the COVID-19 vaccine or are interested in doing so.
Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, president, and chief executive officer of CareQuest Institute commented: “If we want to ensure equitable and comprehensive distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and potential booster shots, oral health professionals must be part of the solution.” She added, “Dental professionals and hygienists have the trust of their patients and the training and capability to administer vaccines safely. According to our survey, dental professionals stand ready and willing to help, and we encourage states to include them as an essential part of their ongoing vaccination programs.”
Annually, more than 19 million people visit their dental provider but not a primary care physician or other medical professional. Many dental professionals, especially those operating in community health care settings such as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), are well positioned to serve as an important public health access point for COVID-19 vaccinations. The report also indicates, dental providers in public health settings, like FQHCs, are 10 times more likely to be offering COVID-19 vaccines than providers in private practice. As racial and ethnic disparities persist in vaccination rates among Black and Latino communities, increasing access points to the vaccine in public health settings is one critical way to reduce existing gaps.