The New York State Dental Association (NYSDA) has always strongly supported vaccines and successfully advocated for dentists to be authorized to administer the COVID-19 vaccine during the public health emergency.
New York State had previously mandated that all health care workers in state-run health care facilities be vaccinated for COVID. Now New York State has mandated that health care workers in all health care facilities, whether state-run or not, be vaccinated for COVID. New York State has never extended this mandate to any private practice settings, be they physician or dentist offices. The New York State Department of Health has primary regulatory jurisdiction over the health care facilities it licenses, but it would require an act of the Legislature to require vaccinations more broadly in other settings.
At this time, except for dentists and physicians who work in health care facility settings, the new vaccination mandate does not apply to any private practice dentist or physician offices. Therefore, the new mandate changes very little for either dentistry or medicine. NYSDA supports the right of dentists to use their professional judgement to decide what is best for their individual practices. In addition, NYSDA strongly encourages the vaccination of all health care personnel.
Dentistry has always been a leader in patient safety and infection control and have enhanced their safety measures more than ever before.
We encourage you to seek legal counsel when creating vaccine mandate policy for your practice.
- EEOC Issues COVID-19 Guidance for Employers on Mandatory Vaccinations and Other Workplace Policies The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance for employers on a wide range of office policies in relation to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including the topic of employers requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employees. The EEOC notes that while mandatory COVID-19 employee vaccination policies are permissible, there are many legal considerations that have to be addressed properly. New York classifies COVID-19 as a disability eligible for disability benefits and the New York State Division of Human Rights has set up a hotline for questions about discrimination issues related to
COVID-19 at: 1-888-392-3644. Any dental employer looking to implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for employees should contact their attorney to help navigate all the legal and liability issues involved. You can read the EEOC announcement and summary of its COVID-19 guidance for employers below.
- EEOC COVID-19 Guidance. The EEOC updated "What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws." This technical assistance question and answer document provides guidance regarding COVID-19 and disability employment laws. Topics addressed include medical exams and information, reasonable accommodations, and vaccinations.
"What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws"