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Internists Say Vaccine Requirements Critical to Combating COVID-19 Pandemic

Statement attributable to:
George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, MACP, FIDSA
President, American College of Physicians

WASHINGTON, D.C. January 14, 2022 –The American College of Physicians (ACP) is relieved that yesterday’s announcement from the Supreme Court allows COVID-19 vaccination requirements to go into effect for health care workers, but extremely disappointed that it does not do the same for requirements of other employers.

ACP feels strongly that requiring COVID-19 vaccinations is an appropriate public health measure given the threat the pandemic poses to human health and to our health care system. ACP believes that employers, including health care employers, and schools can require proof of recommended immunizations for highly transmissible diseases that pose a substantial risk of transmission resulting in severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths that could be prevented or reduced by requiring safe and effective vaccinations.  The situation we are facing with the COVID-19 pandemic involves a highly transmissible disease that poses a substantial threat to public health. Increasing the vaccination rate for COVID-19 is foundational to bringing infection rates down and keeping them under control. These vaccines have been found to be safe and effective. Because the use of the vaccines is so vital to our ability to mitigate COVID-19 and the threat it poses to public health, we need to employ as many different means of encouraging individuals to get vaccinated as possible.

We are pleased to see the requirements for health care workers will be allowed to go into effect. 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 to that protection.  The majority opinion in yesterday’s decision cited an amicus brief that ACP joined along with other physician groups, noting the overwhelming support for the rule by medical and public health groups. The members of these groups know the dire conditions that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing in our health care system.

ACP believes that it is important and appropriate to have heightened workplace safety standards to protect the public’s health and well-being. We will continue to advocate for measures to increase vaccination rates and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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.

Contact: Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org