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A recent survey of practicing dentists in California shows that 94% of surveyed dentists are vaccinated against COVID-19, due in part to trustworthy COVID-19 vaccine resources published by CDA.
The online survey, conducted jointly by the California Dental Association and the California Department of Public Health May 26-June 8, indicates that confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines is much higher among practicing dentists in California than it is among adults nationwide. For example, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey conducted in late May showed 62% of adults in the U.S. were at least partially vaccinated.
Of the nearly 700 dentists who participated in the joint CDA-CDPH survey, 92% said they “got the vaccine as soon as they were able.” Eighty-one percent said they plan to get the booster shot every time it’s recommended.
Protecting one’s own health, the health of one’s family and friends and the health of patients were dentists’ top three motivating reasons for getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As essential health care workers, dentists were among the first in California to be vaccinated against COVID-19, behind front-line workers,” said CDA President Judee Tippett-Whyte, DDS. “The great majority of dentists across all demographics in the state think the vaccines are safe and effective or believe the benefits outweigh the potential risks of side effects. Their high vaccination rate – 94% ― plus the stringent infection-control protocols that dental offices follow should give patients confidence that they can safely go to the dentist and resume their routine oral health care.”
The CDA-CDPH survey also showed that eight in 10 dental team members are fully vaccinated. CDA and California State Dental Director Jayanth Kumar, DDS, are hopeful that the high rate of COVID-19 vaccination among California dentists will assist public health efforts to increase vaccination among the general population.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines vaccine confidence as “the trust that patients, their families and providers have in recommended vaccines” as well as trust in the providers who administer the vaccines and the process of vaccine development, authorization and manufacturing.
As trusted health professionals, dentists are positioned daily to discuss COVID-19 vaccination with their staff, patients and the public, instill confidence about the COVID-19 vaccines and ultimately influence their patients’ decision-making about the vaccine.
Although COVID-19 vaccine confidence is high among dentists, with 89% of surveyed dentists saying their office “encouraged or recommended” their staff be vaccinated and another 91% reporting they were “comfortable addressing patient concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine,” just one-third of surveyed dentists said they were aware of CDA resources to help them promote vaccination awareness and confidence among staff, conduct training and have conversations about the vaccine with their patients.
All the resources dentists and dental teams need are available in CDA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Toolkit. CDA first released the toolkit in January 2021, and the association’s regulatory compliance experts regularly review and update it with new and revised resources that reflect CDC, Cal/OSHA and CDPH requirements and guidance.
The toolkit is grouped into four main categories of information: An overview of the COVID-19 vaccine development and approval processes; vaccine confidence; vaccine distribution; and vaccine administration.
A vaccine discussion guide, customizable patient email template, vaccine promotion posters, a vaccine confidence FAQ and confidential health history forms are among the toolkit’s recent additions.
CDA is continuing education and outreach on vaccine safety to dentists, dental staff and patients. CDA is continuing to survey all dental team members and intends to release additional survey details this fall.
Dentists and dental teams can access CDA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Toolkit now.