Doctors group backs vaccine mandates

A member of staff poses with a phial of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination health centre on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the UK's history on December 8, 2020 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. Wales joined the other

The American Medical Association on Tuesday announced support for COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the public and private sectors. In a statement, the physician's group said front-line health care workers are overwhelmed as the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads across the nation, causing hospitalizations to soar. 

The AMA also noted that vaccine mandates have been used to eradicate polio, measles, and other diseases. "And now, we urge similar mandates to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic," the AMA statement said. 

"Physicians and front-line health care workers have taken tremendous risks during this pandemic, and we continue today risking our own safety and well-being --- putting our families at risk --- to treat mostly unvaccinated people afflicted with COVID-19. Help us win this fight, follow science, and end this pandemic by requiring vaccination." 

The AMA position is to approve a COVID-19 vaccine mandate only if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given full approval to a vaccine and people have had "meaningful opportunity" to voluntarily get shots. 

Also, the AMA position only recommends COVID-19 vaccines be mandated if the requirement minimizes "the potential to exacerbate inequities or adversely affect already marginalized or minoritized populations." 

The Food and Drug Administration gave final approval Monday to the Pfizer vaccine. CVS Health announced Monday that it will require all nurses and care managers to be vaccinated by Oct. 31. 

Pharmacists working in CVS retail stores will be required to be vaccinated by Nov. 30. New employees in any of those positions will be required to have their first vaccinations by Sept. 15, according to the company, which owns retail pharmacies, Aetna insurance company, and the pharmacy-benefits manager Caremark. 

President Joe Biden’s administration announced last week that it will require nursing homes that want to participate in the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs to vaccinate staff.

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