February 8, 2021
I thought now would be a good time to provide an update. During the past few weeks, the number of new daily COVID-19 cases has begun to drop. The decrease will lead to a less hospitalizations, ICU bed utilizations, and mortality. This will help decrease the burden on our front line workers and healthcare facilities. Depending on where you get your information the reason for this good news can be from many things. Regardless, it is still good news.
Vaccine rollout has been slow at best. Dental healthcare workers were listed as eligible in Phase 1a Tier 3. We have all been trying to get appointments when they are available. The county’s vaccine appointment system has been frustrating for all of us. I volunteered at the Cal State Northridge Mega POD several weeks ago. I found it to be well organized and run very efficiently. I must say that it was a pleasant surprise. My job that day was to observe people in their cars for an allergic reaction to the vaccine. Generally, most people had to wait 15 minutes for observation before they could leave. A few had to wait longer due to their medical history. The site issued 2400 vaccinations that day and there were very few minor reactions and no severe reactions to the vaccine. I have had many patients talk about severe allergic reactions, but I did not observe any severe reactions during my 10 hours at the CSUN Mega POD. In fact, the most recent CDC information lists severe reactions for the Pfizer vaccine at 6.1/1,000,000 and the Moderna at 2.1/1,000,000. Those are odds I will gladly accept. The most common reported reactions are mild injection site soreness and mild flu like symptoms. My feeling is that the benefits far outweigh the risks of not getting vaccinated.
As the number of those vaccinated increases, I do not foresee any of the changes that we implemented at the dental office being removed any time soon. I feel that many of the changes will be permanent. We will continue to social distance within the office, wear our face shields, N95 masks and gowns, maintain and disinfect all surfaces, atomize the office with hypochloric acid as well as all other procedures that are required by the CDC and the American Dental Association. It does look a little less casual and more intimidating than before, but safety first. I was in dental school from 1980 – 1984 and started my career not wearing gloves for almost all dental procedures. When universal precautions were put in place by the CDC in the mid-eighties to reduce the transmission of blood borne pathogens in the dental office it was a significant and welcomed change. Looking back, it seems silly that we were not wearing gloves and more protective gear. I am sure that when we look back at these enhancements, we will feel the same way.
With that I will close for now. Wishing you all continued good health and hope that you have the opportunity to receive the vaccine as soon as you would like.
Raymond Ricci, DDS