AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, issued the following statement recommending AAMC members require vaccinations for employees:
“In light of the alarming resurgence in COVID-19 infections, the AAMC urges its member institutions to require vaccinations for their employees with the goal of protecting our patients and health care personnel nationwide.
Across the country, we are seeing increasing evidence that those currently unvaccinated continue to be at high risk of acquiring COVID-19 and are the overwhelming majority of new hospitalizations. This, along with the continued resurgence of COVID-19 cases related to lack of vaccination and exacerbated by novel viral variants, such as the Delta variant, has emphasized the critical need to continue to get individuals vaccinated and mitigate the spread of the virus.
Nowhere is this more important than in hospitals, where health care personnel — who have been heroic during this pandemic — are caring for patients with a wide variety of health challenges under the assumption that the health care professionals treating them are not at risk of acquiring or transmitting COVID-19. Yet, we have tragically lost some health care personnel to the coronavirus, while others have taken the infection home to their families. Vaccinating health care personnel at our member institutions saves lives.
We did not come to this recommendation lightly, but instead considered the large and convincing body of evidence on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines that led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant emergency use authorizations (EUAs). The strength of this data collected prior to the EUAs, along with confirmation of the vaccines’ effectiveness in the real-world in countries around the world, supports this recommendation. Additionally, while their development may seem unusually quick, these vaccines are the products of over two decades of fundamental research and an unprecedented public-private effort that resulted in the creation of several SARS-CoV-2 vaccines at a breathtaking pace.
We are not alone in our thinking. Several academic medical centers have recently begun to mandate vaccinations for employees, while others contemplate doing so when the FDA grants full approval of the vaccines. We are aware of the sensitive nature of this recommendation and understand that it must be made on an institution-by-institution basis, subject to legally required exceptions and consistent with state law. However, for the safety of our patients, communities, health care personnel, faculty, and students, we encourage our members to require vaccinations for employees while working with local public health officials as appropriate.”