In light of the continuing severe impact of Covid-19 on global health, society and economies, and the essential role of vaccines in fighting the pandemic, the FDI has issued a statement reiterating the vital role of dental healthcare professionals, both in providing essential healthcare, and as potential vaccinators. The FDI statement carries five key principles related to dentistry and Covid-19 vaccination:
- Dentists, other oral health professionals and support staff are frontline providers of an essential healthcare service. Including them in priority vaccination groups is therefore important for avoiding oral health workforce dropout and jeopardising access to care.
- Equitable access to Covid-19 vaccinations is needed for the health of people globally, including vulnerable populations and healthcare workers. To this end, FDI Council fully supports initiatives to improve access to vaccines in underserved localities, such as the COVAX facility being co-led by GAVI, WHO and CEPI.
- Efforts should be made to enable dentists to administer Covid-19 vaccines when possible within national legislation and regulations, and with minimal disruption to oral healthcare services. Several countries have already confirmed that dentists will be permitted to administer Covid-19 vaccinations, including in countries where dentists have not previously been permitted to give vaccines.
- Dentists are well positioned to provide evidence-based information about vaccination and may receive questions from their patients about Covid-19 vaccines. Health authorities and national dental associations should ensure that dentists, their team members, other oral health providers and dental students have access to accurate, up-to-date information on the vaccines available in their country or locality, and the specificities of the vaccination programme in place.
- Given the expected large number of vaccine approvals and high population uptake in the near future, there may be a higher number of suspected adverse drug reactions than in normal times. Dentists can play an important role in pharmacovigilance programmes. Health authorities and national dental associations should ensure that dentists are well informed of national pharmacovigilance systems and methods for reporting suspected adverse events.
The FDI Council expressed its sincere thanks to all oral health professionals, national dental associations and other members of the global oral health community for their dedication in responding to the ongoing crisis.
For access to practical resources and more information on the outbreak, go to the FDI Covid-19 Resource Library – https://www.fdiworlddental.org/covid-19-outbreak-guidance-for-oral-