Washington, D.C.—With COVID-19 cases climbing up across the country, emergency physicians are lending their voice to an assembly of healthcare leaders in support of the Occupational, Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, a policy that requires workers be vaccinated or tested. In an open letter, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) joins more than 60 other prominent healthcare associations in their support for a new policy that will require companies with over 100 employees to have workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear masks and get tested.
Emergency physicians have been on the frontlines fighting against the pandemic since its inception, and ACEP has been vocal supporter of vaccination and previously signed onto a joint statement among medical organizations that calls on all workers in health and long-term care to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“While emergency physicians encourage everyone eligible to get vaccinated, we also understand that people make individual health choices for their own reasons,” Gillian R. Schmitz, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP, “ACEP appreciates the practicality of the policy and supports the pathway for those who choose to be tested. Our desire is that these employees not be marginalized or unduly burdened financially based on their decision.”
The groups hope the new requirements result in another 80 million more people getting vaccinated. As the letter points out, “to overcome COVID and the highly transmissible Delta variant, and return to ‘normal,’ we need to substantially increase the vaccination rate from its current level of under 60 percent.”
“The science is clear: the vaccines are safe and effective in protecting us against some of the most devastating impacts of the virus. By strongly encouraging vaccination, we hope we can keep our nation’s workforce safe and resume our usual way of life,” said Dr. Schmitz.