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January 05, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

 

ADA News reports that the CDC has confirmed that dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants are among the healthcare professionals listed in it’s initial recommendation of who should receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Garvin writes “The CDC highlighted the recommendation on its website on Dec. 28 following a report from the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent panel of medical and public health experts. The committee has said that federal, state and local jurisdictions should use this guidance for COVID-19 vaccination program planning and implementation.”

On December, 1st the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that COVID-19 vaccines be offered first to health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. In a letter dated December, 16th 28 health care organizations, including the ADA, expressed concern that the panel’s definition of health care personnel may lead states to inadvertently overlook dental workers.

Part of the letter read, “ACIP’s definition of ‘health care personnel’ appears to be based, in part, on the term health care personnel in CDC’s 2019 Guideline for Infection Control in Healthcare Personnel”. Garvin explains, “The coalition noted that the 2019 document did not expressly apply to dentistry because CDC had developed separate and distinct infection control guidance for dental settings.”

“We are convinced that ACIP did not intend to exclude any health care workers from its recommendation,” the letter goes on, “However, we would hate for jurisdictions to overlook dental, autopsy, and laboratory personnel because of a minor footnote in guidance that was developed for an entirely different purpose (i.e., infection control).”

Read the full article here.