UPDATE: Dentists Clarified as Healthcare Workers to Receive COVID-19 Vaccines

UPDATE: Two days before we originally published this article on December 18, then entitled “Dentists Not Included as First Tier Healthcare Workers to Receive COVID-19 Vaccines,” the American Dental Association sent a letter to the CDC asking the agency to “make it clear that dental personnel, autopsy personnel and laboratory personnel are included in the agency’s recommendation to give healthcare workers priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine.”

The CDC webpage entitled “The Importance of COVID-19 Vaccination for Healthcare Personnel,” updated December 28, clearly states that dentists, dental hygienists and dental staff are considered “healthcare personnel.”

The directive we originally referenced from Texas Health and Human Services was updated on December 17 and second-tier guidance was updated (change in italics):

1. Staff in outpatient care settings who interact with symptomatic patients. Such as but not limited to:

a. Physicians, nurses, and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.)

b. Clinical staff providing diagnostic, laboratory, and/or rehabilitation services

c. Non 9-1-1 transport for routine care

d. Healthcare workers in corrections and detention facilities.

So while dentists and dental staff are not specifically mentioned in the Texas HHS document, in alignment with the CDC definition of healthcare personnel, clearly such is now clearly covered.

The December 17 HHS guidance is available here.


We received a copy of the following December 4 Texas Health and Human Services directive from the Commissioner of the Department of State Health Services Dr. John Hellerstedt.

The document sets forth the principles on which healthcare professionals will get priority in receiving vaccinations for COVID-19.  Dentists are not included.

It was pointed out to us that community pharmacy staff are in the Second Tier as they “may provide direct services to clients, including vaccination or testing for individuals who may have COVID.”  Yet, dentists and their staff are serving at close quarters many potential asymptomatic and possibly symptomatic patients.  They are at great risk and depend solely on their PPE and protocols for protection from infection.







14 Responses

  • That is a risky guess for TDMR. Org, as the CDC COUNTS DENTISTS, as they should, as TIER 1 , due to the proximity of dentists and staff exposed to the possibly infected CoVid infected patient aerosols and the distance is so short in order to reach a patient’s mouth with a hand piece. Why wouldn’t TDM are just agree with the CDC that Dentists SHOULD have the right to get vaccinated with the first round of vaccinations as DENTISTS ARE MORE AT RISK THAN emergency room doctors and nurses. Good luck to TDMR IF a dentist whose spouse is an attorney. I only say something to protect TDMR BEFORE IT HAPPENS.

  • Dentists NOT among the first recipients of the vaccine! What a stupid decision! Where is the TDA on this? Where are all the dentists contacting your representatives? Do your job State board of dental examiners!

    • It’s really sad for dental hygienists! Do “all” of the other medical personnel create aerosols and droplets within a foot of them for up to an hour or more to take care of the public.
      S.C. has a 20% plus proof positive many days.

  • I hate that we are not in the 1st or 2nd tier to receive the vaccination. Its sad that pharmacist are able to receive the vaccine before the dental field are. The people that work in a pharmacy are behind a glass. We are working on people month and can’t keep 6ft away. I dont see anyone that works at a pharmacy wearing hair net’s and having to change they clothes before they go home due to Aerosol spray from high-speed hand peace.

  • It is ridiculous that dentists aren’t in the tier 1group. Our exposure is as great as any surgical procedures if not more. This is a outright liability for the agency and staff that made this determination.

  • This is an ill conceived notion that pharmacy staff are at a greater risk because they give vaccinations to people that may or may not be infected. Giving a vaccine in the arm does not equate to giving intraoral anesthetic for necessary or emergency care on a routine basis. Not to mention the procedures we perform that can create an infectious plume. These are things that we perform daily and we should therefore be included in Tier 1 or 2 in order to protect our staff and patients. Scientific evidence proves dentistry is the greatest group at risk to be infected. We deserve to hear logical reasoning why TDMR made this decision.

    • Please look at the release. This was NOT a TDMR release! This was Texas Health and Human Services! Your and my state that did this.

  • Are you at all surprised? This is the same agency that can’t employ sound contracting practices or hold contractors to written requirements like the orthodontia fiasco. You really think HHSC is going to fairly evaluate who is first in line to get vaccines. This agency steps and fetches for Legislators and they are the ones most likely making these decisions. Anyone can clearly see dentists should be be in the top tier, as should others who have more personal and close contact with this virus. I would be contacting my local State Rep or Senator because you are wasting time if you complain to HHSC.

  • Now that we are consider healthcare provider by my practice health department county does not have it available for us!
    But I see elementary teacher ( whom not even going to school ) has it …
    sad but true

  • So now that we are now “healthcare providers” does this mean I can now be put on a list to receive the vaccine? I tried getting on the list at a pharmacy and was told no, once I told her I was a dental hygienist. This was Monday the 4th. Is there documentation I could bring to show them we are now included in the first tier?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *