WASHINGTON, DC September 15, 2021 –The American College of Physicians (ACP) issued new policies today supporting the promotion of vaccines in the interest of public safety and health; saying that the government may appropriately require employers, schools, public agencies, and organizations receiving federal funding to require employees or students show proof of vaccination with recommended immunizations against highly transmissible diseases during a public health emergency.
ACP states that employers and schools may appropriately require proof of vaccination for recommended immunizations for highly transmissible diseases, this would include COVID-19 vaccines while we are dealing with public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ACP further says that the requirements imposed by employers and schools should be complemented by offering support through education, outreach, and paid time off for vaccinations and to deal with short term side-effects. This support is particularly important to offer to historically marginalized populations who are subject to racism and discrimination. ACP further states that while those who have clear medical contraindications should be exempt from requirements, that allowing exemptions based on non-medical reasons poses a risk to public health.
“Vaccines are safe and effective, they help prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death. Increasing the vaccination rate for COVID-19 is foundational in helping to bring infection rates under control and to keep them under control,” said George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, president, ACP. “We need to ensure that as many members of our society are vaccinated as possible to protect the most vulnerable among us.”
ACP also recommends that all health care workers should be immunized, as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the safety of patients and the public unless there is a clear medical contraindication or other exemption under applicable law. ACP supports employers who require that all health care workers to be vaccinated against highly transmissible diseases as a condition of employment. ACP has previously supported requirements for COVID-19 vaccines for health care workers.
The organization reiterates its commitment to health equity and recognizes the historical and continued mistrust of health care institutions by individuals, including marginalized populations subject to discrimination and racism, many of whom work in health care. ACP recommends that employers and health care professional societies and organizations commit to ongoing engagement, outreach, education, and provision of resources to all including historically marginalized groups to support informed vaccination decision making.
“Health care workers have an obligation to protect the health and well-being of their patients, getting recommended immunizations, including the COVID-19 vaccine, is key that protection. Throughout the pandemic, physicians and other health care workers have repeatedly demonstrated their dedication to caring for the patients who need them, vaccination is a critical part of caring for patients, their families and loved ones,” continued Dr. Abraham. “Immunizations are essential in our fight against COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Because they are so vital to our ability to mitigate diseases that threaten the public health we need to employ as many different means of encouraging individuals to get vaccinated as possible.”
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 161,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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