In a September 2 presentation to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine panel, ADA Executive Director Kathleen O'Loughlin, DMD, emphasized that dentistry is vital care. The panel is developing a plan to provide equitable distribution of the vaccine at the behest of the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The vital role that dentists play in maintaining overall health and screening for systemic disease is critical to the health of the public," Dr. O'Loughlin said.
Dr. O'Loughlin noted that a recent poll found that 15% of the U.S. public did not feel comfortable visiting the dentist without a medical breakthrough.
"Early access to a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will reassure this group of patients that it is safe to resume dental appointments and will furthermore reassure dental healthcare practitioners who have reservations about delivery of dental care," she said. "It will [thus] reduce the risk that patients with a preventable or treatable oral disease will allow it to progress to an irreversible state."
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