Dr. Renee Commarato’s letter to the editor in the December ADA News asking the ADA to “be a voice against COVID health mandates,” is an irrational appeal that deserves a much stronger response than the editor’s note that accompanied it.
Is she really that unaware or unconcerned that wearing masks and getting the vaccine is not only for personal health but also public health? Is she oblivious to the risk she poses to any immunocompromised kids whom she may treat as a pediatric dentist or to her community as a potential COVID vector or to her coworkers?
Is she clueless that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and countless other international agencies have scientifically backed the safety and efficacy of masking and vaccines in curtailing COVID-19 spread and protecting the vulnerable from this deadly disease? When Dr. Commarato accuses the ADA of, “setting standards based on politicized information,” it seems she is not merely expressing a healthy skepticism but deliberately showing a general mistrust of facts in order to advance her agenda. Yes, Dr. Commarato, no vaccine is risk free, but requiring vaccination to allow participation in public activities, such as rendering patient care or flying in an airplane, is not the same as mandating vaccination for all citizens, regardless.
Dr. Commarato neglects to consider that there are limits on personal liberty that one must accept to live in a civil society. When she warns the ADA against “encouraging government interference in our profession through mandates,” she fails to consider the responsibilities we each assume in exchange for society (i.e., the government) granting to us the privilege of being a licensed health care provider. Also, she overlooks our ethical obligation for those of us who are employers to ensure safe work places.
As reassuring as it was to see the editor’s note endorsing CDC vaccination recommendations and citing the need to protect dental teams and their patients, I would very much like the ADA to fully support mandating hospital vaccination guidelines for all dental team members, barring any medical, but not philosophical or religious, exemptions that may apply.
Frank A. Cornella, D.D.S., M.D.