Washington, D.C.—Facing a worrisome climb in COVID-19 cases across the country, the nation’s emergency physicians are increasing their calls for everyone eligible to get vaccinated and to practice safety measures to lessen the transmission of the virus.
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has been closely monitoring the ever-changing dynamics at a national and regional level and given the growing threat of the Delta variant the organization has signed onto a joint statement among medical organizations that calls on all workers in health and long-term care to get vaccinated against the virus.
“ACEP has consistently encouraged vaccination for everyone who is eligible but given the new evidence around the dangers and trends of the Delta variant, we are joining those in the medical community to say all healthcare workers and those in long-term care facilities need to be vaccinated in order to protect those in our communities,” said Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA, FACEP, president of ACEP. “While one statement alone may not shift the needle, we need to come together and focus on system-wide solutions if we’re to beat this pandemic.”
ACEP also supports the updated guidance which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released yesterday that recommends that vaccinated individuals in areas with high rates of the variant and those that are in close contact with people who are immunocompromised or unvaccinated—including children under the age of 12—wear masks while indoors in public. The guidance for people who are unvaccinated remains the same: continue wear a mask until you are fully vaccinated.
These heightened efforts come after recent scientific evidence shows that the Delta variant behaves differently from other strains of the virus. And our emergency departments are seeing the devastating impacts of unvaccinated individuals who contract COVID-19. Data shows that getting vaccinated reduces the risk of symptomatic infection seven-fold and reduces the risk of hospitalization 20-fold.
Added Dr. Rosenberg, “We are incredibly concerned for our patients and our colleagues. Emergency departments around the country are once again seeing a surge in severely ill patients, many of them young or unvaccinated. I don’t want to have to lose another patient to this terrible disease—especially when it could have been prevented.”