SILVER SPRING, MD - The American Nurses Association (ANA), representing the interests of the 4.2 million registered nurses in the United States, joins the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the global health community in calling for the urgent prioritization of COVID-19 vaccines to all nurses and health care professionals globally.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 135 million health care professionals around the world remain unvaccinated. Many of these individuals are nurses on the frontlines of this persistent pandemic, providing care to communities in low- and middle-income countries that lack a steady and sustainable supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
“It is deeply concerning that at this point in the pandemic, many nurses abroad do not have access to the recommended dose regimen of COVID-19 vaccines,” said ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “ANA fully backs the CDC’s recommendation to prioritize the vaccination of nurses and other frontline health care workers,” said Dr. Grant. “Immediate action to broaden public health strategies that will increase the global supply and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is critical. This is key to protect the health of nurses, health care teams, patients, and communities.”
ANA’s guiding principles for COVID-19 vaccines state that “it is critical to establish and sustain an infrastructure to support global equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.” ANA supports United States President Joe Biden and his administration’s strategy to allocate resources to help increase the global production and sharing of COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the current recommendations of WHO for immunization, all nurses should get vaccinated against COVID-19, unless contraindicated at the advice of a provider. In June of 2021, the ANA Board of Directors unanimously approved adding to the association’s longstanding position on immunizations the three COVID-19 vaccines being administered under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization. Ongoing clinical trials, research, and evidence demonstrate that authorized COVID-19 vaccines are stable and effective in preventing the spread of the virus and mitigating the impact of variants that account for new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations daily. ICN estimates that more than 2,000 nurses across 59 countries have died from COVID-19. Sadly, however, this number is likely much higher as tracking among health workers is inconsistent.
“When a nurse contracts COVID-19 or tragically dies from the virus, health care systems lose an invaluable health care professional to care for COVID-19 patients and all other patients battling various diseases and aliments. We also lose a colleague, friend, and loved one,” said Dr. Grant. “Imagine risking your life everyday while watching the rest of the world enjoy re-openings of society and some sense of normalcy. We can and we must do better. Global mass vaccination of all health care professionals is a moral imperative.”
ANA continues to strongly advocate for all nurses and health care professionals to have the highest level of protection, which includes access to COVID-19 vaccines.
About the American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4.2 million registered nurses. ANA advances the 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