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Seasonal Influenza/COVID-19/RSV Circulating in the US

The United States is experiencing levels of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), seasonal influenza (flu), and rhinovirus/enterovirus (RV/EV) that are higher than usual for this time of year, especially among children. COVID-19 also continues to circulate across the United States. To help combat these infections, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly requests all healthcare personnel (HCP) to make a strong recommendation for their patients to get a seasonal flu shot and COVID-19 bivalent booster. Currently, there is no vaccine against RSV. The CDC has a FAQ webpage about the current flu season as well as resources for HCP. Additionally, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) strongly encourages all eligible US workers, especially HCP, to get vaccinated to protect themselves, families, coworkers, and other members of the community.

Vaccination Requirements – California

While flu and COVID-19 shots are not required, they are strongly recommended for all HCP. There are currently no federal or state requirements that compel HCP to accept any vaccines. Employers may still choose to require employees to obtain vaccination for influenza and COVID-19, unless they have a medical contraindication, qualifying disability or religious belief. However, some California local health jurisdictions have mandated that HCP working in facilities in their jurisdictions receive the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, barring any exemptions. Refer to your local public health department for specific information on local vaccine mandates.

Other Infection Control and Prevention Procedures

Standard precautions for preventing infection transmission in the dental office, as detailed in CDC’s recommendations for dental infection prevention and control, should always be followed. For example, good hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, proper protective equipment, surface disinfection, and staying home when sick are essential components of infection prevention. At a minimum, dental offices in California must always comply with the Dental Board of California’s (DBC’s) Infection Control Standard.

Keep in mind that HCP and patients alike, regardless of COVID-19 or flu vaccination status, must continue to wear facemasks in healthcare settings in compliance with California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requirements.

For our OSHA Review subscribers… the May/June 2021 Training Document, in Section VIII of the OSHA Review binder, covers the DBC’s mandatory Infection Control Training.

Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.


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