COVID-19 vaccine update for dental offices

Next week, local health departments in Ohio that registered as vaccine providers are expected to begin receiving vaccines. Today, Governor DeWine outlined guidance on individuals who should be prioritized by health departments during Phase 1A.

Local health departments should coordinate the vaccinations of congregate care residents and staff, such as those at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, who are not enrolled in the federal long-term care pharmacy programs or are not registered as providers themselves. This includes people with developmental disabilities and those with mental health disorders, including substance use disorders, who live in group homes, residential facilities, or centers, as well as staff.

In addition, local health departments should prioritize vaccinating other healthcare providers who are not being vaccinated by hospitals and health systems and are not enrolled as providers themselves. These providers could include:

  • Home health workers
  • Hospice workers
  • Emergency medical services responders
  • Primary care practitioners
  • Free-standing emergency department, urgent care, pharmacy, and dialysis center providers not vaccinated by hospitals or healthcare systems
  • Dental providers
  • Public health employees who are at risk of exposure or transmission, such as vaccinators
  • Mobile unit practitioners
  • Federally-qualified health center providers
  • High-risk ancillary health care staff members

ODA President Dr. David Kimberly, an oral surgeon from Akron, issued the following statement:

“The ODA is pleased to see that Gov. DeWine is recommending to local health departments in Ohio to give vaccine priority to dentists and their staff. This is consistent with the recent recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

These recommendations recognize that dentistry is essential health care and that dentists and their staff are essential health care workers. We have consistently educated Ohio policymakers that by keeping the dental workforce healthy, Ohioans will continue to secure treatment for oral pain and infection in dental offices, thereby keeping them out of hospital emergency rooms.

We have also stressed that oral health is essential to overall health because we know that undiagnosed and untreated dental disease has been associated with a number of systemic health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, stroke and pregnancy complications. By ensuring Ohio has a healthy dental care delivery workforce, we will ensure Ohioans maintain strong oral health and overall health.”

The ODA encourages its members and local dental societies to work with their local health departments to coordinate receiving the COVID-19 vaccines.

We will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available.