ANA Supports Mandatory Vaccination of Health Care Workers
The American Nurses Association (ANA), representing the interests of the nation’s 4.2 million registered nurses, supports health care employers mandating nurses and all health care personnel to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in alignment with current recommendations for immunization by public health officials.
Increasing circulation of new variants, lagging COVID-19 vaccination rates, and continued public skepticism calls for nurses to uphold their professional and ethical obligations to model the same prevention measures as their patients. For our nation to maintain the momentum of recovery efforts from this persistent pandemic, enough individuals and communities must get vaccinated to reduce the risk of further infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.
“The scientific rigor to swiftly develop effective COVID-19 vaccines and the monumental efforts to ensure all Americans get vaccinated is nothing short of amazing. Vaccination is both a significant public health victory and a scientifically proven strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the loss of more American lives,” said ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “As the largest group of health care professionals, nurses are critical to all facets of COVID-19 response efforts and must strive to remain physically and psychologically safe to function optimally to care for themselves, their patients and their communities. Nurses must get vaccinated.”
ANA’s decision to support COVID-19 vaccine mandates for nurses aligns with its longstanding position on immunizations, which emphasizes that effective protection of the public health mandates that all individuals receive immunizations against vaccine-preventable diseases. ANA also believes that the safety profile of authorized COVID-19 vaccines is stable and has included the three COVID-19 vaccines being administered under the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization. ANA maintains its stance to not support philosophical or religious exemptions as reasons not to get vaccinated.
“A significant number of nurses working in a variety of health care settings across the nation have diligently fulfilled their ethical duty to protect themselves, their colleagues, patients and loved ones by getting a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Grant. “We would absolutely be remiss to not acknowledge these nurses and applaud them for leading the charge and setting an example for their patients.”
In a survey of over 22,000 nurses conducted by the American Nurses Foundation between January 19 and February 16, 70% of nurses said they had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine. Most recently, in a survey of over 4,500 nurses conducted by the COVID-19 Facts For Nurses Campaign between April 12 and May 4, 83% of nurses reported that they had received the recommended dose regimen of two COVID-19 vaccine shots.
Nurses might desire more understanding about the safety profile of COVID-19 vaccines as they decide whether to get vaccinated and there are legitimate reasons that a nurse might decide not to take the COVID-19 vaccine, such as severe allergies, compromised immune systems, and other serious health conditions. ANA will continue to provide all nurses education and resources to guide their understanding and consideration of COVID-19 vaccines.