SILVER SPRING, MD – The American Nurses Association (ANA) hails the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization of the first COVID-19 vaccine and commends the innovative public-partnership and scientific rigor that produced swift results. The approval, dissemination and administration of this vaccine and others expected to soon follow, marks a turning point in our nation’s fight to protect people from this devastating virus and enable a return to daily activities that are key to an open, robust society.
As the voice of the nation’s nurses, ANA established key principles to guide nurses and other health care professionals’ consideration for COVID-19 vaccines. These principles provide recommendations for access, transparency, equity, efficacy, and safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, who participated in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, emphasized the many ways that nurses can build the public’s confidence. “Nurses are everywhere that health care is provided and have a strong understanding of science and the role of vaccines in public health, as well as the skills to educate consumers and address their questions and concerns,” said Grant.
“Given nurses’ experience on the frontlines of the pandemic, they can communicate how vaccination can blunt the terrible suffering that can result from COVID-19 disease,” he said. “Importantly, by getting vaccinated themselves nurses can role model the behavior that will set us on a path to attain widespread vaccination and achieve herd immunity that is needed to return to normal activities.”
Numbering more than 4.2 million strong, nurses are the largest group of health care professionals and practice in all settings, from acute care hospitals to long-term care settings, primary care practices, clinics, schools, and other community settings. Additionally, nurses have a long history of educating consumers on the importance of vaccines to prevent illness. The public holds nurses in high regard, having ranked nursing for the past 18 years as the most ethical and honest profession according to an annual Gallup poll.
To be effective patient educators and vaccine administrators, ANA calls for nurses to have access to resources and early involvement in the mass vaccination process. ANA will continue to develop core education for the nation’s nurses as a vital first step in building their understanding and confidence in newly approved vaccines. ANA has and continues to strongly advocate that the public follow public health measures including mask wearing, physical distancing and hand hygiene.
ANA supports the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s recommendations that guide the tiered prioritization of populations to receive vaccines, that align with its principles. This includes prioritizing vaccination of nurses and other frontline health care workers. ANA has also consistently advocated that the federal government provide state and local public health agencies and jurisdictions sufficient resources and funding to support mass distribution and administration when COVID-19 vaccines are approved and available.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4.2 million registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org.