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    Dentists should immediately begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine

    Dentists Provide Essential Health Services During Pandemic and Beyond
     

    Contact: Kristin LaRoche at 857-275-5038 or Kristin.LaRoche@improvingoralhealth.com

    Boston, MA, [January 14, 2021] – Delta Dental of Massachusetts (DDMA), the largest provider of dental benefits in the state, is urging the Department of Public Health to immediately begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine to dentists and members of the dental teams providing care in dental offices. DDMA did so in a letter sent by President and CEO Dennis Leonard to Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders.
     
    Yesterday, Massachusetts began vaccinating first responders as part of the next group of professionals eligible during Phase One of the vaccination roll out. While dentists are included in the first phase of the vaccination rollout, many continue to report that they are unable to access the vaccine and have not received communication about when they will be able to do so. The delay places dental providers at significant risk as they continue to deliver dental care that requires prolonged exposure to maskless patients.
     

    The following is a statement from Delta Dental of Massachusetts CEO and President Dennis Leonard:

     
    “Dentists are an essential part of our health care community and have continued to provide vital oral health care throughout the pandemic – putting themselves and their staff at a high-risk of exposure to the virus. We understand that there are many considerations that the Department of Public Health must consider as part of its vaccine distribution plan. We urge state leaders to provide more clarity and ensure that dental providers begin receiving the vaccine immediately. Dentists are unique in that their job requires them to work in patients’ mouths making it impossible to follow social distancing and mask recommendations during patient care. Despite the risks, dentists have returned to work to provide critical oral health care that keeps people healthy and has been shown to reduce some of the most significant risks associated with the treatment of COVID-19. Many dentists also stand ready to help administer the vaccine as soon as possible. Ensuring that dentists are vaccinated now will increase the number of health care professionals who can safely help vaccinate millions of people throughout the Commonwealth when the time comes.”
     
    The dental community has been hit hard by COVID-19. That is why, to date, DDMA has provided more than $40 million in relief to dentists, employers and subscribers throughout the course of the pandemic, including:
    multiple insurance premiums credits for fully insured businesses and individual members;
    relief for DDMA network providers in the form of direct payments and a $2 million contribution to fully fund the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund; and
    charitable contributions to community organizations, regional COVID-19 funds and food banks.
     
    About Delta Dental of Massachusetts
    Delta Dental of Massachusetts (www.deltadentalma.com), the largest provider of dental benefits in the state, is a leader in innovative programs that improve the overall health of members, prevent oral disease and reduce health care costs for employers, groups and individuals. Headquartered in Charlestown, Mass., Delta Dental of Massachusetts, a member of the Delta Dental Plans Association (www.deltadental.com), covers more than 2 million people. Follow us on Twitter (@DeltaDentalofMA), Facebook (www.facebook.com/DeltaDentalMA), and Instagram (@deltadentalofma) and check out the monthly oral health calendar at www.keepahealthysmile.com.