California dental staff must prove COVID-19 vaccination; unvaccinated workers must get tested weekly

All California healthcare workers, including dental office employees, must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or get tested regularly if unvaccinated, according to a July 26 state public health order.

Taking effect Aug. 9, the statewide policy requires full compliance by Aug. 23. The order aims to slow the spread of the delta variant and protect access to essential healthcare services.

Dentist employers must verify that workers are fully vaccinated. Staff who aren't fully vaccinated or cannot show proof of vaccination are subject to weekly COVID-19 testing and will be required to wear surgical masks.

The California Dental Association is working with officials to clarify how testing will be conducted and paid for.

"This new order is strong public health policy that appropriately encourages California health care workers, who are community lifelines to essential care, to get vaccinated," said Judee Tippett-Whyte, DDS, CDA president, in response to the new policy. "The evidence is indisputably clear that vaccines are safe and effective against serious COVID-19 illness. While the majority of the state's dental team members are already vaccinated, it is my hope that this new order will be the final push many individuals still on the fence need to get fully vaccinated."

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