Around 9% of dental staff are not fully vaccinated against COVID as the profession fears mandatory vaccine measures will lead to recruitment problems.
Less than two thirds believe all dentists operating in their practices are fully vaccinated. And less than half say the same for dental nurses.
This is according to new data released by the British Dental Association (BDA).
Under new measures staff risk losing their job if they are not double vaccinated by next April. The mandate covers all CQC-registered health professionals, including dentists and their teams across both NHS and private settings.
The research reveals that more than 30% also believe dental nurses in their practices will leave due to the mandate. Almost 15% of dentists saying they will leave the profession themselves.
BDA chair Eddie Crouch said: ‘Mandatory vaccination risks dropping a bomb on a service already stretched to breaking point.
‘We now face a grim new year where thousands of dental team members will walk out as a result of regulations railroaded through parliament, leaving thousands of vacancies that will never be filled.
‘Dentists have supported the vaccine rollout, with many downing drills to play their part. But ministers must think again about compulsion.
‘Dental services are already operating to a rigorous standard on safety. This mandate is a blunt instrument, which will have devastating consequences for millions of patients across this country.’
Risk of backfiring
Some in the profession have voiced ethical concerns with the COVID vaccine mandate including Neel Kothari, a dentist based in Cambridgeshire.
He said: ‘Whilst I am fully vaccinated myself, I worry that forcing this issue on an already largely compliant group of individuals has a significant risk of backfiring and could lead to countless health related deaths through a lack of available care.’
Additionally he said the ‘cover all’ approach ‘fails to recognise the differences in risk levels between dental practices and busy NHS hospitals’.
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