VANCOUVER -- As dentists in B.C. advocate to be included in a priority group for the COVID-19 vaccine, they are also offering to help administer immunizations to residents.

Alastair Nicoll, chair of the BC Dental Association’s Return to Work Task Force, told CTV News Vancouver that dentists are excited that vaccines are coming and they’d like to help the province administer the shots.

“Dentists, through the offices of the BC Dental Association, have offered their services to the government of B.C. to assist with the rollout, just as dentists are doing in some of the other Canadian provinces to actually provide vaccinations as part of that, but I don’t know if they’ll take us up on that,” Nicoll said.

The association is upset that dentists aren’t being included in Phase 2 of B.C.’s vaccine schedule. On Saturday, the association’s president Dr. Anthony Nadolski penned a letter to Premier John Horgan saying dentists are disappointed to not be included along with “our medical colleagues.”

The letter also includes an offer of front-line support for the vaccine rollout.

“We welcome the province’s immunization program and have expressed to Ministry of Health staff that dentists are trained and willing to be part of the province’s COVID-19 immunization roll out,” reads Nadolski’s letter.

In speaking with CTV News, Nicoll pointed out that dentists in Ontario are being included in Phase 2 and explained that the specifics of dentistry make dentists frontline health-care providers. 

“We’re unable to work remotely,” he said.

“We are often providing care with a level of urgency that shouldn't be deferred or delayed and we are unable to socially distance while providing care,” Nicoll added.

Furthermore, dentists, he said, “are providing health care for acute and chronic diseases to persons in the community, including vulnerable patients.”

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim