E-Alert – June 15th, 2021

Recently the Government of Manitoba has begun offering digital and/or physical cards for those Manitobans who are fully immunized. It was also announced that mobile applications would be made available to allow individuals to scan the cards to verify identity and vaccination status.  After 14 months of the pandemic, there is understandable excitement by these types of developments; however, it is essential for Manitoba dentists to wait for more information on the proper and intended use of these cards. 
It is important to keep in mind that not all Manitobans have had equitable access to vaccines and that some people cannot be vaccinated.   It is one thing to restrict access to things like concerts, restaurants, etc., but quite another to interfere with the individual’s need for oral health care based on their vaccination status. In addition, requirements for proof of vaccination could potentially discriminate on the basis of disability, religious belief, social disadvantage, and age which could subject dentists to complaints at the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.    Dentists should also note that early information released on the cards clearly indicates that at this time they are not intended to restrict people from access to public services, which would include dentistry.  
Most importantly dentists must remember that, regardless of vaccination status, any patient may have and transmit the COVID-19 virus, and therefore dentists must continue to follow the MDA Pathway and Interim IPC Guidance for Patient Care During the Covid-19 Response – Effective November 16, 2020 for all patients.  
Dr. Arun Misra LLB, DMD
MDA Registrar