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New federal vaccine mandate's impact on dentistry unclear

Sept. 10, 2021
Late last week, the Biden administration announced plans for vaccine mandates that could impact 80 million workers. What about dental offices? So far, it's not quite clear.

Late last week, it was widely announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), per President Biden, is issuing a new emergency temporary standard that will require all businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for staff, or require unvaccinated workers to show a negative test at least once a week.

Among the 80-plus million workers to be affected include, according to the 11-page “Path out of the Pandemic” memo issued by the White House, those “in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies."

According to ADA statistics, some 43% of dentists in the US accept Medicaid, but it remains unclear whether the new mandate applies to these offices.

While dental offices have not been specified in official briefings, in June, dental offices were exempted from OSHA’s at-the-time new ETS with the agency stating new infection control guidance and very low COVID-19 infection rate for dentists and dental hygienists indicate that dental practices are safe workplaces.

DentistryIQ reached out OSHA for clarification but has not received additional information. Check back for updates on the new mandates as they affect dentistry.