FDI: Ensure dentists be given full, fair consideration in COVID-19 vaccination programs

Nearly two-thirds of countries have not granted permission to dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines, according to a global survey conducted of member countries by the FDI, leading the dental organization to release a statement. This statement is meant to be used by national dental associations and others working to ensure dentists are given full and fair consideration in national vaccination programs.

The survey revealed the relatively small number of countries permitting the administration of vaccines by oral health professionals. Fifty-seven member national dental associations from across the globe responded to the survey, reporting that nearly two-thirds had not been granted permission for dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines as part of national rollouts.

“Oral health is a fundamental component of overall health and well-being, and oral health care is an essential public service,” according to the statement. “Vaccination of dentists, their team members and other oral health professionals is important to contribute to continued access to care. Dentists are also highly trained professionals that have regular interactions with people about their health, and are therefore well positioned to support national vaccination [programs].”

The FDI asserted the following key principles related to dentistry and COVID-19 vaccination:
• “Dentists, other oral health professionals and support staff are front-line providers of an essential health care service and should therefore be included in priority vaccination groups.”
• “Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations is needed for the health of people globally, including vulnerable populations and health care workers.”
• “Efforts should be made to enable dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines when possible within national legislation and regulations, and with minimal disruption to oral health care services.
• “Dentists are well positioned to provide evidence-based information about vaccination and may receive questions from their patients about COVID-19 vaccines. Health authorities and national dental associations should ensure dentists, their team members, other oral health providers and dental students have access to accurate, up to date information on the vaccines available in their country or locality and the specificities of the vaccination [program] in place.”
• “Given the expected large number of vaccine approvals and high population uptake in the near future, there may be a higher number of suspected adverse drug reactions than in normal times. Dentists can play an important role in pharmacovigilance [programs]. Health authorities and national dental associations should ensure dentists are well informed of national pharmacovigilance systems and methods for reporting suspected adverse events.”

For more information, visit fdiworlddental.org/vaccines.