15 Mar Veterinarians as COVID-19 vaccinators: What you need to know
Greetings, colleagues –
The message below was disseminated by AVMA to its members late on Friday, and is provided here for your reference and as a follow-up to my listserv post on Friday afternoon on the topic of veterinarians as vaccinators. Thanks go to Dr. Ashley Morgan, AVMA’s director of the state advocacy division, for sharing this clear and helpful information – and additional thanks to AVMA for the successful effort to be afforded liability protection under the PREP Act. Important details below.
The AVMA has been actively advocating at the federal level on behalf of veterinarians as the COVID crisis has evolved. Last night, in his address to the nation on the next phase of the National Strategy for the COVID pandemic response, President Biden focused on the effort to accelerate vaccination, stating that the plans to expand the pool of qualified personnel eligible to administer vaccines will include veterinarians and veterinary students.
AVMA is here to help you understand what this means for you and your teams and to continue to advocate on your behalf.
Enabling veterinarians to assist with vaccination efforts
As the conversation about utilizing veterinarians for administering COVID vaccines to people has accelerated over the past several months, the AVMA has been in direct and ongoing conversation with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This has included direct discussion with the HHS, CDC and FEMA teams responsible for coordinating the vaccine response. On February 17, AVMA submitted a formal request to HHS asking that veterinary professionals be listed as a “qualified person” in connection with COVID declarations under the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act), which authorizes the HHS secretary to issue emergency public health declarations and provides limited immunity from liability to those covered under the act.
AVMA’s message has been consistent: If veterinarians are to be asked to help administer COVID vaccines to people, veterinarians need to be clearly authorized to do so, and they must be explicitly included among those covered by the liability immunity.
We’re pleased to tell you that AVMA’s efforts on your behalf have been successful. The acting HHS secretary today issued an amendment to the PREP Act declarations that specifically addresses veterinarians and veterinary students.
Important information you should know about today’s action:
AVMA is working to develop additional resources to assist those who choose to volunteer in this effort, such as guidance on CPR certification and other requirements. We will continue to advocate on your behalf and provide you with breaking updates as the vaccination program expands. Please check in regularly at avma.org/Coronavirus for developing information.
The following federal government resources also provide additional information:
AVMA advocacy continues
As we have throughout the pandemic, AVMA continues to represent veterinarians’ needs and interests in ongoing advocacy with policymakers. This includes continuing to work directly with officials at HHS, CDC, FEMA, as well as representing veterinary concerns in Congress. We’re here for you, and we thank you for your continued support.