AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, and American Hospital Association (AHA) President and CEO Rick Pollack, issued the following statement on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report, A Framework for Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus:
“The AAMC and the AHA join together to support the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report, A Framework for Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus. This plan is a sensible, well-considered, and, most importantly, an equitable way to distribute a vaccine to all Americans.
We commend NASEM on a thoughtful, thorough, and evidence-based report that recognizes that the implementation of the allocation strategy – as well as the ethical principles that support it – are as important as the framework itself. Given the significant health, social, and economic injustices laid bare by the pandemic, we are particularly pleased to see the emphasis on mitigating inequities in vaccine access and the related foundational principles of fairness, equity, and transparency.
As the report’s review of other vaccine programs makes clear, a mass vaccination program “will fail if there is widespread public mistrust.” Therefore, the AHA and AAMC strongly urge federal, state, and local government agencies, along with doctors, nurses, and hospitals and health systems, to deploy resources now to engage communities, build trust, create partnerships, and develop the bidirectional communication channels necessary to orient the vaccination effort toward success.
Additionally, the report notes that the “fidelity of the allocation process” requires “comprehensive, consistent, real time data collection that includes the variables needed to assess the program’s success in mitigating health inequities such as race/ethnicity, age, sex, and social status.” It is well-documented that roughly half of the United States’ COVID-19 case data lack race/ethnicity information. We encourage the Academies to enumerate which data elements are needed and which existing data sets can be leveraged to help states and communities develop a standardized data collection and reporting strategy to achieve the desired fidelity.
The equitable distribution of a vaccine is crucial to ensuring all communities can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and we look forward to working together with all other stakeholders to help achieve this goal.”
The American Hospital Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA advocates on behalf of our nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, our clinician partners – including more than 270,000 affiliated physicians, 2 million nurses and other caregivers – and the 43,000 health care leaders who belong to our professional membership groups. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides insight and education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.