Masking requirement continues in California health care settings.
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CDA is encouraging practice owners to maintain best practices this fall and winter to protect themselves, their patients and their staff against the flu virus. The annual flu vaccination is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu and the best way to prevent or reduce the severity of the illness.
Getting vaccinated is even more important this year to help reduce the strain on health care systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both COVID-19 and flu share similar symptoms and can cause severe illness — especially for high-risk groups such as older adults, people with underlying medical conditions and young children.
A 2018 CDC study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that children are most likely to get sick from the flu. The flu shot is recommended for children six months and older as the vaccination can reduce a child’s risk of flu-related intensive care hospitalization by 74%, according to another CDC study published in 2014.
Practice owners should educate staff and patients on the importance of taking necessary precautions to protect against respiratory viruses and encourage dental team members to remain vigilant with best safety practices.
CDA has developed safety resources to assist members in their efforts to maintain a safe environment for patients and staff, including:
Dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants are subject to a flu vaccination mandate in some counties. As of Dec. 2020, 11 counties have a flu vaccination order for 2020-21 that includes dental practices: Contra Costa, Fresno, Kern, Madera, Placer, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Diego, Sonoma, Tehama and Yolo counties.
Some counties require that health care workers receive their vaccination on or before a specific date each year. The CDC recommends people get vaccinated by the end of October.
Counties without a mandatory vaccination order for health care workers can issue a new or revised order at any time.
Visit vaccinefinder.org to find nearby flu shot locations.