COVID-19: Update: Vaccination and dentistry

COVID-19: Update: Vaccination and dentistry

The news that a vaccine has been approved has been widely welcomed by most of the country as an escape route from the pandemic, with front-line health workers given some priority. The BDA is now pressing the Government to give dentists clarity on when they can expect their teams to be vaccinated. Arrangements are also in hand for dentists and team members to apply to work as part of the vaccination programme.

The BDA has made it clear to Government that it is vital for dentists and their teams are given priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine alongside other frontline healthcare workers, so they can keep providing an essential service to the patients who need them. They have been seeking assurances that both NHS and private dentists – as well as their teams – will count as health and care staff for the purposes of priority access to the vaccine. The Association is now pressing the Government to give dentists clarity on when they can expect their teams to be vaccinated. We will update you when we have more information.

The BDA has also reported that the Office of the CDO England has messaged practices regarding the COVID-19 vaccination programme. It clarifies the indemnity arrangements for those who participate in the programme. Dentists and team members are free to apply to work as part of the programme. It is the BDA’s understanding that this involvement will be entirely separate from existing clinical commitments and will take place outside of dental practices.

The CDO’s message confirms that if you are working on a volunteer basis, you will need to be covered under the indemnity arrangements of the host organisation. “This cover extends to additional staff being brought in to help with administering vaccines under the national protocol, provided they are engaged by the Trust or practice, for example via a secondment agreement, honorary contract or volunteer agreement. These indemnity arrangements will also apply to the administration of any temporarily authorised COVID-19 vaccines.” Further information about indemnity and the COVID-19 vaccination programme can be found in NHSE/I’s FAQ document.

The BDA also reports that the Scottish Government has announced that Health Boards and Integration Authorities will take the lead role in providing the COVID-19 Immunisation Programme for 2020/21, and dentists may be contacted by their Health Board about possible participation in the programme. It will not be mandatory for NHS dental contractors to participate in the programme and exact arrangements will vary between Boards. A CMO letter will provide the clinical arrangements for the programme. Participating dentists will be located at a vaccination hub to undertake this work and will be expected to explain the vaccine to patients, gain their consent and then administer the vaccination.

Dentists who decide to opt-in to the programme will be advised about local arrangements for the immunisation programme, including provision of appropriate PPE, stock control and distribution of vaccines and appropriate monitoring arrangements. Online training will be organised by NHS Education for Scotland and NHS Boards will arrange an additional half day training session. Dental practitioners will be acting on behalf of the Board and will be indemnified through the Clinical Negligence and Other Risks Indemnity Scheme (CNORIS).

The BDA says it is envisaged that a large proportion of the vaccination programme will be delivered in early 2021. A sessional fee will be offered to contractors participating in the programme which will be set at £230 per contractor. The Scottish Government has agreed this fee with the BDA’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee.

To keep up to date with developments from the BDA, dentists should visit their Coronavirus update page[i], which is available to all whether or not they are members and is continuously revised.

[i] https://bda.org/advice/Coronavirus/Pages/latest-updates.aspx

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