ADA urges dentists be offered early access for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine

NIH, CDC ask National Academies to draft framework to inform future decisions about allocation     

Washington — Dentists are essential health care workers who should be afforded early access to a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine when one becomes available, ADA Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin told a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine panel Sept. 2.

The panel is developing a plan for equitable distribution of the vaccine, which would offer protection against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“There is little doubt that there will be a high demand for a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine once one becomes available — and doses of the vaccine will likely have to be rationed until production can meet the demand,” Dr. O’Loughlin stated. “We are therefore pleased that the National Academies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health are looking ahead to ensure the most vulnerable at-risk groups — including dentists and other essential health care workers, high-risk Latino and Black communities, and the medically compromised elderly — are allowed early access to the vaccine.”

The NIH and the CDC asked the National Academies, through the Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus, to draft a framework to inform future decisions about how to allocate the initial supply of the vaccine.

Dr. O’Loughlin’s remarks emphasized that dentistry is essential care. The ADA Board of Trustees adopted an ad interim policy stating dentistry is essential health care in July to help guide advocacy for the dental profession during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The vital role that dentists play in maintaining overall health and screening for systemic disease is critical to the health of the public,” Dr. O’Loughlin said.