The pandemic continues, and although we are far from free of Covid-19, it does feel like a certain amount of normality has returned. Shops and restaurants are effectively back to standard operation, people are heading back to the office and the number of people wearing masks is dwindling, all results, you would hope, of people receiving the vaccination.
At the time of writing, it’s estimated that as many as 47 million individuals in the UK have received at least one jab of a Covid vaccine.[i] This number is only going to increase as the vaccination effort continues to roll out and more age groups become eligible for receiving the jabs. So, you can imagine my shock when I stumbled across an article detailing how among dental students, hesitancy to receive the vaccine is at a high level.
This article, which took into account dental students from across the world, revealed that 22.5% of dental students were unsure about getting the vaccine, while a further 13.9% did not want to receive the vaccine at all.[ii] Interestingly, the socio-economic status of the countries came into play, with higher rates of vaccine doubt appearing in countries with less income. Regardless of the UK’s income, this report does cause considerable worry.
What surprises me most about this information is that dental students are, by definition, educated healthcare professionals. While it’s perhaps understandable for people outside of healthcare industries to be easily swayed by misinformation, it always astounds me when people who have had training in these settings, who understand infection control and disease transmission and who are generally scientifically minded are still able to have significant enough doubts to reject something that has ben engineered specifically to keep us safe.
Of course, the doubts are likely to stem from how fast the various vaccines were created and the lack of any data supporting any long-term effects. However, what we can see from the data is that the vaccines are definitely working. Not only are they reducing rate of hospitalisation of those developing the disease, but they are also helping to reduce the death rates.[iii]
While the initial report about hesitancy among dental students doesn’t indicate how many hailed from the UK, this is still a good opportunity for us qualified professionals to get involved and correct any misinformation we see on Facebook groups or other sources that could be impacting how younger people feel about vaccines. As with many things in life, information is power. So by allaying any doubts and presenting people with the facts, we can hopefully encourage them to get the vaccine as soon as possible, helping return us to a pre-Covid normality and ensuring that the dental profession is full of educated, responsible individuals.
For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999
Or visit www.endocare.co.uk
[ii] Dental Tribune. Worrisome Level of Vaccine Hesitancy Found Among Dental Students. Link: https://coronavirus.dental-tribune.com/news/worrisome-level-of-vaccine-hesitancy-found-among-dental-students/ [Last accessed August 21].
[iii] Sky News. Data Shows that Vaccinations Reduce Risk of Hospitalisation and Death – But You Need To Read It With A Clear Head. Link: https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-data-shows-vaccines-reduce-risk-of-hospitalisation-and-death-but-you-need-to-read-it-with-a-clear-head-12365728 [Last accessed August 21].