Nearly 80% of dental professionals have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to results from an internal survey of DrBicuspid.com members. More than two-thirds said they've received a complete course of the vaccine.
The survey, which closed on March 2, garnered 194 responses from dentists, hygienists, and other dental professionals. While DrBicuspid members were largely interested in helping COVID-19 vaccination efforts, there was less of a consensus on whether dentists should administer other types of vaccines to patients in the future.
"With the amount of training we have, there is absolutely no reason that dentists cannot and should not be administering vaccines," wrote one anonymous respondent.
"Dentists are needed to address oral diseases that remain too prevalent," another said. "Vaccination would detract from that, and dentist expertise isn't needed for vaccination."
So far, more than 20 states and one-third of countries have allowed dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Many states are also granting dentists and other healthcare professionals protection from liability when administering COVID-19 vaccines. But how many dentists are actually taking advantage of this opportunity?
The survey primarily included responses from dentists (84%) and dental team members (11%), such as assistants and hygienists. Nearly all respondents (97%) said their practices were open and seeing patients.
Many dental professionals, and even entire offices, have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 70% of respondents have received a complete course of the vaccine, and another 10% have received at least one dose.
Additionally, nearly one-third of dental offices are fully vaccinated. In half of practices, at least one team member has received the vaccine.
Furthermore, the majority of dental professionals are interested in assisting with COVID-19 vaccination efforts. A total of 70% of respondents said they're willing to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, but only three dentists (1.5% of all respondents) have actually done so. All three dentists administered the vaccine at community clinics or point-of-distribution events.
A few other respondents said they helped at COVID-19 vaccination clinics but were barred from actually administering the vaccines. One hygienist diluted, mixed, and drew the vaccine, while another respondent monitored high-risk patients for adverse reactions.
Of the 30% of dentists who were not willing to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, many cited issues with liability and vaccine storage. A few expressed concerns about the safety of the vaccines.
Dental professionals were also more divided on whether they'd like to administer non-COVID-19 vaccines to patients. A total of 59% said they'd be open to administering other vaccines, saying vaccine administration is a natural segue for dental skills.
But 41% of respondents said they weren't interested in administering any type of vaccines to patients. Many of these professionals believe dentists should focus on dentistry, especially considering the overwhelming oral healthcare needs in the U.S.
See more survey data in the infographic below.