Dental Tribune America

ADA not backing compulsory COVID-19 jabs

By Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International
August 05, 2021

CHICAGO, U.S.: The American Dental Association (ADA) says that dentists should be vaccinated against COVID-19 but has stopped short of backing compulsory inoculation within the oral care workforce. As the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 continued to spread in the U.S., the association broke ranks with other health and medical groups by advocating for voluntary vaccination in order to show leadership and help to build nationwide vaccine confidence.

In late July, dozens of U.S. health associations and groups jointly called for COVID-19 vaccine mandates for all health care workers. In a statement, the more than 50 signatories wrote: “Due to the recent COVID-19 surge and the availability of safe and effective vaccines, our health care organizations and societies advocate that all health care and long-term care employers require their workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is the logical fulfilment of the ethical commitment of all health care workers to put patients as well as residents of long-term care facilities first and take all steps necessary to ensure their health and well-being.”

The parties added: “While we recognize some workers cannot be vaccinated because of identified medical reasons and should be exempted from a mandate, they constitute a small minority of all workers.”

The statement, which said that the number of experts and institutions that supported universal vaccination of health care workers was growing, was signed by influential health bodies including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association.

“Let’s do our part to move public health forward” – Dr. Daniel J. Klemmedson, ADA

In an email to ADA members, ADA President Dr. Daniel J. Klemmedson called on dentists to be vaccinated but said that the association was following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which currently does not recommend universal vaccination for health care workers.

As we continue to hear about rising infection rates due to the Delta variant, I want to repeat to you what I noted in my December 2020 message: Dentists are essential health care providers whose leadership, counsel, and example will go a long way in building vaccine confidence in our nation,” Klemmedson wrote. “Let’s do our part to move public health forward. If you haven’t already been vaccinated, please get vaccinated and encourage your team members and patients to do the same.”

No compulsory COVID-19 vaccination without full FDA clearance?

CDC has not recommended mandates for inoculation for COVID-19 for health care workers and, according to former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, the agency is unlikely to do so until the vaccines have been fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “We can’t have mass mandates, we won’t—you’re hearing this from the military and from other businesses—until you have full licensure of these vaccines,” Adams told broadcasting network CBS on July 25.

ADA health policy data shows that, in the U.S., close to 90% of dentists are fully vaccinated and that 93.4% have had at least one vaccine dose.

Clearly, dental professionals are doing their part to limit the spread of the virus, but we must keep at it,” Klemmedson wrote.

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