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Article: Volume 48 Number 10 Page 881 - November 2021

  Dental Update 494: 881-886  Read article

COVID-19:  Current COVID-19 vaccine epidemiology and dentistry

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Abstract: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine story is continuously unfolding. Since our previous COVID-19 commentaries, much new information has transpired on the subject, and here we revisit this topic, which has practical implications for all stakeholders in dentistry, as well as the public. This article, on current vaccine epidemiology, provides an account of why vaccines fail in general, and the particular concerns in relation to the new Delta variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and related ‘variants of concern’. Issues related to vaccine failure are fundamentally dichotomous in nature, appertaining either to the vaccine strain (type) per se, and/or the numerous endogenous factors of the vaccine recipient/vaccinee. Societal factors such as vaccine hesitancy and its impact on herd immunity appear to overarch the long-term goal of total or partial global suppression of SARS-CoV-2, and its eventual endemicity.

Clinical relevance: To describe the reasons for the failure of currently administered COVID-19 vaccines, particularly in relation to the advent of the SARS-CoV-2 ‘variants of concern’, and discuss implications for clinical dental practice.

Author notes: Lakshman Samaranayake, DDS (Glas), DSc(h.c.), FRCPath, FRACDS, FDS RCS (Edin), FDS RCPS, Professor Emeritus and Immediate Past Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. email:

Objective: To further raise awareness of the importance of vaccination against COVID-19 and discuss implications for clinical dental practice.