Dentists are among health care providers slated to get the COVID-19 vaccine during Phase 1 in Massachusetts, but they are low on the list.
The state's biggest dental insurance provider, Delta Dental of Massachusetts, sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker saying that needs to change.
"We felt compelled to argue that dentists really should … and dental professionals, by the way," said Delta Dental CEO Dennis Leonard. "Not just dentists, but the hygienist and the assistants are in patient's mouths eight to 10 hours a day putting themselves at risk."
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Dentists are also approved to administer the vaccine, and Dr. Greg Kosmidis says it only makes sense to vaccinate the vaccinators.
"Any chance we have to vaccinate anybody would be beneficial but in environments like this, where patients are so proximal to us for longer than 15 minutes with droplets and stuff like that," Kosmidis said. "It's very difficult to control environments like that."
That steady flow of patients is one reason why Dr. Khara Gresham thinks practices like hers are perfect vaccination locations.
"We see our patients twice a year anyway. People are used to coming in and receiving shots. We have all the personal protective equipment and have found ways to treat our patients safely during this whole pandemic, and so we're uniquely positioned to do so," she said.
There is the question of vaccine storage to deal with. The Pfizer vaccine is stored at 96 degrees below zero. Kosmidis is confident that any logistical issue can be worked out.