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Vaccine roll-out: Dental providers next in line

Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 9:37 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 10:28 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - For the past three weeks, coronavirus vaccination priority in Wisconsin has been focused on health care workers in hospitals and nursing homes but dental providers are also pushing to get the shot.

The Wisconsin Dental Association (WDA) says dentists are at high risk for transmission of the virus given the nature of the care they provide.

Chris Borgerding, WDA Director of Government Services says dental offices across the state have put a lot of work into making things safer for patients. From spacing out appointments to make for extra cleaning time, to an extreme increase in PPE for staff, and even improvements to air filtration.

But even with these added precautions, the WDA says it’s important dental providers have access to get vaccinated with the other priority groups.

“We’ve been working with the department of health services to make sure dental providers are part of that critical phase 1A health care provider population,” said Borgerding.

When vaccine distribution began back in December, several dental groups nationwide sent a letter to the CDC asking the agency clarify that dentists, medical examiners, and lab workers would receive priority access

Many counties say dental providers are next in line. In Juneau County, health officials say they expect to start vaccinating dental providers and other priority workers not directly affiliated with a hospital system as early as next week.

“We are vaccinating front-line health care workers not tied to a health care system so we started with EMS,” said Tara Ennis, Juneau County Public Health Supervisor.

In the meantime, the WDA urges people not to put off their dental check ups and says dental offices are safe.

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