Dentists, hygienists, dental students and other dental professionals are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency’s advisory committee on immunization practices made the recommendation to prioritize the dental sector. Per the CDC’s recommendation, federal, state and local entities should follow the guidance, which was issued at the end of December.

Access to vaccines early allows dental professionals to carry out their essential services of providing dental care to their patients. The decision protects about 21 million people working in the industry and the countless patients and families in their care.

In early December, the committee recommended that the first vaccinations go to health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. In a follow-up letter issued by the California Dental Association and other health organizations, there was concern that an earlier definition for health care personnel might unintentionally leave out dental practitioners and their staff from the initial vaccination phase.

Dental advocacy groups worried that the recommendations were based off CDC guidelines from 2019 that do not explicitly include dentistry and other health-related sectors in the definition of health care personnel.

While the groups agreed that they did not believe that it was a deliberate exclusion, they were concerned about implementation of the recommendation at local levels.

Dental care and services are essential. Any restriction to access to dental care jeopardizes the health, well-being of dental patients and can pose serious health risks to individuals of all ages.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column]

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