Sask. dental students hope to be part of COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan

The Saskatchewan Dental Students Society (SDSS) says it is "relieved" to finally be a part of the province’s vaccine rollout for frontline workers.

SDSS says they reached out to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CDSS) on April 14 in hopes to have dental students, dentists, dental assistants and hygienists be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines.

The SHA has not confirmed to CTV News that the students will be included as of publication. But the students feel confident - while they're not official dentists, they spend half their time in clinics and doing surgeries.

SDSS President Bilawal Hussain says it’s taken a long time to get to this point.

“Dentistry was not talked about in vaccination plans in Saskatchewan, compared to other provinces where dental students have been vaccinated across, and dentists as well."

Hussain says they’re the only profession that works on patients without masks on, making them more at risk of contracting COVID-19.

“Say a spread was to happen, it could spread really fast. We’re seeing two, three patients a day,” Hussain told CTV News.

He says if dental students were able to get the vaccine, they would feel safer giving dental treatments.

Right now dental students wear N95 masks, a hair net, multiple gowns, and use scrubs from the school instead of their own.

Hussain says the CDSS forwarded his request to the premier and hoped for the best.

The province says once it has reached the over-40 age group, it will prioritize remaining frontline workers such as teachers, police officers, correctional staff and dentists.

According to the government, it's expected to open vaccinations to those 40 years of age and older on April 28.

Hussain says once he receives his COVID-19 vaccine, he’ll feel relieved since it’s been a long time coming.

He thinks every dental student is going to "run out there" and get vaccinated as soon as it’s available.