One-third of countries allow dentists to give COVID-19 vaccines

By Melissa Busch, associate editor

February 26, 2021 -- One-third of countries around the globe have granted dentists permission to administer COVID-19 vaccines as part of national rollouts, according to results from a survey released on February 24 from the FDI World Dental Federation's COVID-19 Task Team.

FDI is now calling on more countries to give dentists the greenlight to give COVID-19 vaccines.

"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," Dr. Gerhard Konrad Seeberger, FDI's president, said in a press release.

The survey was completed by 57 national dental associations from around the world.

Approximately two-thirds of countries have not authorized dentists to administer vaccines. Dentists in the European countries of Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Slovakia, and Russia can give vaccines. The National Order of Dental Surgeons in France has called on the government to allow dentists to give COVID-19 vaccines, but permission has not been granted. Discussions continue in other places such as Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Australia, Kenya, Hong Kong, and Germany.

Meanwhile, about 20 states in the U.S. have authorized dentists to give vaccines, and the following countries have also given permission:

  • Cambodia
  • Colombia
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Lebanon
  • Nigeria
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • U.K.

Nevertheless, about 53% of the countries that participated in the survey agreed to include dentists in their priority vaccination groups. Cambodia, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Thailand (12% of responding countries) will not prioritize dentists for vaccines. Associations from the rest of the countries reported that vaccine programs and priority groups were still in the works.

FDI also plans to release new information that identifies COVID-19 infection rates among dentists worldwide ahead of World Oral Health Day on March 20.

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