AACOM Applauds House Bill to Permanently Authorize Student Vaccinators

Published October 22, 2021


Legislation pairs with Senate bill to permit DO and other health professions students to administer vaccines during future public health emergencies


(Bethesda, MD) – Applauding the effort to better prepare our country for future pandemics, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) today commended U.S. Representatives Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), David McKinley (R-WV), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH) for introducing the House companion to the Student Assisted Vaccination Effort (SAVE) Act—bipartisan legislation that extends existing emergency provisions and makes permanent the ability of health professions students to vaccinate during federally declared public health emergencies.  

“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, AACOM has been working with our sister health professions education associations to find ways for our students to continue their education while also affording opportunities to assist in the battle against this deadly virus,” said AACOM President and CEO Robert A. Cain, DO. “Tapping into the skills and commitment of the one million health professions students has already helped to relieve some of the stress on our healthcare workers and helped ease the logistical challenges of vaccinating millions of Americans. Permanently allowing these students to assist as proposed by the SAVE Act will keep our nation better prepared for future pandemics. We thank Representatives O’Halleran, McKinley, Roybal-Allard and Joyce for sponsoring this important legislation.”

The SAVE Act builds off the AACOM-supported amendment to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP) COVID-19 Declaration announced by the White House on March 12, and permanently authorizes more than one million skilled medical, nursing, pharmacy, dental, veterinary, PA, optometry and other health professions students to administer COVID-19 vaccines with supervision. Senators Mike Kelly (D-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are leading the bipartisan effort in the Senate.

AACOM has advocated for more than a year to allow students to help alleviate burdens on overtaxed health professionals, spearheading the creation of Students Assist America (SAA), an interprofessional initiative of 12 associations. The PREP Act amendment laid the groundwork for congressional action to make the health students’ vaccination authorization a permanent part of future federal responses. This approach also eliminates confusion experienced at the state level during this pandemic about what options exist for a more robust vaccination workforce, saving time and resources during future emergencies.


The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) leads and advocates for the full continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the public. Founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, AACOM represents all 37 colleges of osteopathic medicine—educating nearly 34,000 future physicians, 25 percent of all US medical students—at 58 teaching locations in 33 US states, as well as osteopathic graduate medical education professionals and trainees at US medical centers, hospitals, clinics and health systems.


Joseph Shapiro
AACOM Director of Media Relations
(240) 938-0746

Christine DeCarlo
AACOM Media and Public Affairs Manager
(202) 603-1026