Ian Brack, Chief Executive and Registrar of the General Dental Council (GDC)
On 31 January 2022 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced the Government’s intention to withdraw the requirement for those working in patient-facing roles in England to be vaccinated, with a public consultation on the matter following this week.
Subject to the outcome of the consultation, and Parliamentary approval, what this means for dental professionals is that they would no longer be legally required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of deployment.
This does not change our COVID-19 vaccination guidance for dental professionals, in which we continue to encourage everyone in all settings in all four nations of the UK who can be vaccinated to be vaccinated. This is in keeping with our standards, designed to protect dental professionals, their patients, and everyone in the dental team. Our primary purpose is to protect patient safety and maintain public confidence in dental services, and our vaccination guidance is in support of this.
COVID-19 vaccines are recognised around the world as being safe and effective. This position is supported by the UK’s medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Healthcare professionals play a leading role in promoting public health. Engaging with the information available to encourage vaccine confidence, inform their own decisions and those of the dental team is part and parcel of fulfilling that leadership role.