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England: Priority access to Covid-19 vaccine for dentists

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  Posted by: The Probe      7th January 2021

Following last week’s authorisation of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine and updated guidance around increased spacing of second vaccine doses, we are beginning to see an acceleration in the vaccination programme across the UK.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has repeatedly sought reassurance about prioritisation for dentistry, from NHS England, the Office of the CDO and separately across the devolved nations. NHS England’s initial priority, in line with JCVI advice, is for those aged 80 and over, together with care home staff and residents. Frontline health and social care staff are included in the next priority group. NHS England has confirmed that dentists and their teams, both in the NHS and in the private sector, are included in that group of frontline staff and therefore sit in the JCVI’s priority group two.

On Wednesday, having been contacted by some of our members, Craig Whittaker MP challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson on priority access to the Covid-19 vaccine for dentists and their teams. Mr Whittaker echoed the BDA calls for confirmation that dentists are in vaccination priority group 2 together with all other healthcare workers. The Prime Minister confirmed that all dentists in patient facing roles and members of their teams are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. The BDA will continue to push for clear guidance and clarity on timings of the vaccination for all dental teams.

The BDA is aware that some dentists have been approaching their GPs to highlight their status as frontline staff. There are reports of variable responses from GP practices and others involved in vaccination programmes to these approaches from dentists and teams. The BDA has continued to raise that concern with NHS England and understand that clarification will be forthcoming, confirming the position of dentists and teams to those organising vaccination programmes.

Timeframes for vaccination of the primary care workforce will still inevitably, to some extent, depend on local operational arrangements, logistics and availability of vaccine stocks. The BDA anticipates NHS contractors being contacted directly and that up-to-date CQC registration details will be important for private practices.


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