ADA President Among First to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
Monday, December 21, 2020 - 4:44pm by Dental Power
In an online message, ADA President Dr. Klemmedson talks about his experience receiving the vaccine, as well as ADA efforts to help dentists get vaccinated and navigate being able to administer the vaccine.
Within the past week, thousands of health care professionals around the country have been given the highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine. American Dental Association President Dr. Klemmedson was one of them, and received a vaccination on Dec. 18 at a Tucson, Arizona hospital where he regularly performs oral surgery. In an online message to ADA members and nonmembers, Dr. Klemmedson shared his experience, and addressed what the ADA is doing for dentistry in regards to the vaccine.
"I am proud that the United States is embarking on one of the biggest vaccination campaigns in its history." Dr. Klemmedson wrote. "And we, as health care professionals, will have an important place in this history as recipients (and, in some cases, administrators) of the COVID-19 vaccine."
A handful of U.S. states currently allow dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccinations; the ADA, together with other major voices within dentistry, are urging more states to follow suit. Dental care providers have previously been involved in administering vaccines during significant flu outbreaks and other health emergencies. States like Minnesota and Illinois already allow dentists to give flu shots. Oregon passed a law in 2019 permitting dentists to administer vaccines more broadly, and the Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners approved a major change last month to allow dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines.
Dr. Klemmedson said that his own COVID-19 vaccination experience was no different than other shots he's received before, but stressed that "the emotional relief of being immunized against the novel coronavirus is second to none." - particularly at a time when the U.S. is seeing a staggering resurgence of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
"The ADA has advocated for dentists and dental team members to be prioritized within the first phase of vaccinations;" Dr. Klemmedson emphasized, adding that final authority rests with the individual states to prioritize populations to be offered the vaccine.
He encouraged dentists and their teams to visit the ADA's COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Map, which is designed to help dental care providers determine their prioritization to be vaccinated, as well as provide information about whether they can administer COVID-19 vaccinations in their state.
For more information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, check out the ADA's new COVID-19 vaccination fact sheet.