Dentists are not prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine, some wondering why not

Updated: Dec. 28, 2020 at 6:58 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - As the first phases of COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed, some healthcare workers are not prioritized: dentists.

Dentist Brian Herring says dentistry is essential work and the nature of oral care can put dentists at risk of contracting COVID-19.

“One were are very close to people. The nature of our work is in your face for lack of a better word,” Herring said. “Covid is in the respiratory tract so it is in the mouth. Just the spray and the backlash can be dangerous.”

The apparent risk has dentists hoping to receive the vaccine- after those who directly deal with COVID-19 patients. In the meantime, dentists have worked with Governor Gregg Abott to stay open safely.

“We feel that dentistry is very essential and that goes for the vaccine, but we also feel that we are providing safe and effective services right now so please visit your dentist. Don’t worry about that,” Herring said. “We’re wearing n-95 masks unlike these masks normally, better face protection to keep splash out of our face, and better jackets.”

The Texas Dental Association said in a press release that they spoke to the Texas Expert Vaccination Allocation Panel about their need for the vaccine. In response, state officials said they would make the vaccine available to dentists once doses become more abundant.

“TDA has made sure that state officials recognize dentists and their team members as an integral part of Texas’ overall health care infrastructure—and as essential health care professionals, who are in line to receive access to the vaccine alongside our colleagues as soon as doses become more abundant,” stated the TDA press release.

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