September 2, 2021 – Today, the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) was one of 12 oral health care organizations issuing a statement calling on governmental executive, regulatory, and legislative entities to mandate that all oral health care workers, including oral health care students and residents, be vaccinated against COVID-19. The statement recognizes that a small minority of oral health care workers may not be able to be vaccinated due to medical contraindications.
To further clarify, the AADOCR considers any employee of an oral health care facility, such as a dental office, clinic, or academic dental institution, to be a health care worker and recommends COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment for their own health and to protect the health of their families, colleagues, and patients seeking oral health care in the facility. AADOCR also strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination for non-employees of such facilities, including, but not limited to, students, residents, volunteers, part-time clinical faculty, and independent contractors. This position is consistent with a recent consensus statement developed by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.1
The Federal and several State governments are also moving in this direction. The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) will require more than 25,000 members of its health care workforce to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an emergency regulation requiring staff COVID-19 vaccinations within CMS-participating nursing homes. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) report several states and the District of Columbia have announced COVID-19 vaccine requirements for health care workers and/or for all state employees.
The August 23, 2021 announcement from the Food and Drug Administration granting full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 and older adds the highest level of support for the safety and efficacy of this vaccine. Full approval of the two other vaccines currently available under emergency use authorization is expected in the coming weeks. President Biden remarked at the time that business leaders and non-profit leaders should require their employees to be vaccinated or to face strict requirements.
“As leaders in health care and research, we must advocate for policies supported by the best available scientific evidence,” said AADOCR President Jacques Nör, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. “In this case, the COVID-19 vaccine is clearly necessary for the health and safety of oral health care workers and for the health and safety of the patients we serve.”
1 Weber DJ, et al. (2021). Multisociety statement on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination as a condition of employment for healthcare personnel. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.
The American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) is the leading professional community for multidisciplinary scientists who advance dental, oral, and craniofacial research. Previously the American Association for Dental Research, the 3,000-member organization connects the scientific community of professionals who champion research that contributes to overall health and well-being. Learn more at www.aadocr.org.