(Bethesda, MD)- In light of the FDA’s recommendation for the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) President and CEO Robert Cain, DO, FACOI, FAODME issued this statement:
“The FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is a long-awaited ray of hope in the battle against this pandemic. AACOM joins in saluting everyone around the globe who played a role in developing, testing and approving this vaccine. It took an all-hands-on-deck commitment to get to this point, and now it will take the same kind of comprehensive effort to distribute and administer the vaccine effectively.
To that end, earlier this year AACOM spearheaded Students Assist America (SAA), a collaboration of 11 health education organizations that collectively represents 1 million students across the health professions. SAA is advocating for a solution to the challenge of how to get Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible: Recruit students as part of the vaccination workforce. Many states already tap students in pharmacy, nursing, medicine, and PA programs to give flu shots with supervision. Now is the time to allow them to help in the COVID vaccination effort and engage other students for the all-important communications, documentation and tracking needs. Our existing healthcare workforce is at its breaking point and simply cannot do this alone.
This is a proven, cost effective model. Yet, students are mentioned in only a handful of state plans for COVID vaccination. SAA has sent policy proposals offering help to the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Task Force, the CDC, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee and governors and will continue to reach out to state governments and work with them to engage our students. With this first vaccine approved we have momentum, but without a literal all-hands-on-deck effort in this next phase, we will lose time and lives. One million health professions students are ready to help their communities and their country beat this pandemic. Let them.”
Director of Media Relations