As veterinary professionals watch the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and work to build support for appropriate vaccine access for the veterinary community, the AVMA has published a suite of resources to help veterinary teams prepare for and participate in the vaccine rollout.
AVMA's COVID-19 resource center now includes these resources at avma.org/COVIDvaccine:
- Information about the COVID-19 vaccines and the phased rollout
- Downloadable clinic poster to support vaccine adoption
- FAQs answering some of the most commonly asked questions the AVMA has received about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination
This information will help veterinarians and our practices prepare for the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Building support for vaccine access by veterinarians and teams
The AVMA has advocated actively and successfully at the federal level for veterinary personnel to be considered a priority group for vaccination and continues to do so. Written with input from the AVMA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s recommendations – a key resource in guiding state and local decision-makers in planning their vaccine rollouts – are consistent with veterinarians and veterinary team members being included in one of the early stages of distribution. Veterinary personnel also have consistently been included in federal documents describing essential work sectors during the pandemic.
Tactical decisions about how to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, though, are in the hands of state, territorial, and local officials. With this in mind, AVMA is supporting state and local veterinary groups as they monitor vaccine rollout plans and advocate for veterinary teams’ appropriate access.
Several states have indicated they plan to include veterinary personnel in phases 1a, b, or c of their rollouts. However, it's not yet clear where veterinarians fall in the distribution framework in many states. To learn more about vaccine priorities in your area, connect with your state or local veterinary association.
Veterinarians as vaccinators
There is an emerging discussion around the potential for veterinarians to assist in vaccinating people against COVID-19. While this possibility is not actively being considered in most states at this time, some states have contemplated it as a way to expand the personnel pool and help expedite administration (assuming sufficient vaccine is available), making specific mention in executive orders and/or asking potential veterinarian volunteers to identify themselves.
As veterinarians consider serving in this role, one important thing we must keep in mind is potential legal risk. While we have a natural desire to help and serve others, this is a necessary consideration in our litigious society. The AVMA’s vaccination FAQ addresses this question in detail, including a range of factors to consider.