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VDA and VDHA urge Governor Northam to prioritize dentists and team members for COVID-19 vaccine

The Virginia Dental Association and Virginia Dental Hygienists’ Association sent a joint letter to Governor Northam this week urging him to follow the recommendations of the framework released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in considering dentists and dental hygienists essential healthcare workers, prioritized for access to a vaccine. 

“Dentistry is an essential health care service and dentists, and their teams are essential frontline health care workers. We saw in the early days of the pandemic that, by keeping dental offices open for emergency procedures, we were able to limit the number of patients going to hospitals for oral health issues where they could potentially be exposed to the virus. 

This prioritization will add to the enhanced safety protocols that are already being employed to keep dental providers, staff and patients safe. It can also further reassure patients that the dental office is a safe place to go to receive care and encourage them not to postpone treatment for oral health issues that could grow more complicated, expensive and difficult to treat over time, with negative impacts on overall health.”

At a recent press briefing on Virginia’s response to COVID-19, the Governor said that a vaccine could be available by mid- to late-December. State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver said at that briefing that initial deliveries of the vaccine will be aimed at Virginia’s healthcare workforce. 

Read the full letter.