ADA pushes for early COVID-19 vaccine access for dentists

The American Dental Association is advocating for dental professionals to receive early access to a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available.

The ADA's executive director, Kathleen O’Loughlin, DMD, on Sept. 2 told a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine panel, which is working to develop a plan for the equitable distribution of the vaccine, that dentists are essential healthcare workers who should get early access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. O’Loughlin also told the panel that many Americans do not feel comfortable visiting dental practices without a medical breakthrough.

“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,” Dr. O’Loughlin said. “It will [thus] reduce the risk that patients with a preventable or treatable oral disease will allow it to progress to an irreversible state.”

ADA President Chad Gehani echoed Dr. O'Loughlin's remarks in a Sept. 4 letter to the National Academies. Their efforts reflect the ADA's recently developed interim policy asserting that dentistry is essential healthcare, which will be considered as a resolution during the ADA's house of delegates meeting in October.

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