Updated January 6, 2021
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency use authorizations (EUA) for the first COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020. Vaccines authorized for emergency use by the agency are those that, based on large clinical trials, have met standards of efficacy and safety established for emergency use. Additional vaccines are in various stages of investigation.
FAQ: Vaccination against COVID-19
Vaccine access for veterinary personnel
The AVMA has advocated actively and successfully at the federal level for veterinary personnel to be considered a priority group for vaccination. Based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations (issued in September 2020, with updated recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in December 2020) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce (updated in December 2020), it appears that many veterinary personnel could be accommodated in Phase 1-b of the CDC’s recommended three-phase plan. Given the large number of individuals identified as “essential critical infrastructure workers” by the CISA and limited vaccine availability, it’s possible that some jurisdictions may decide that veterinarians will be accommodated in Phase 1-c or Phase 2. Final decisions about access and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines are being made at the state and territorial level, so vaccine availability for veterinary personnel will vary based on location.
AVMA has been working diligently with state and local veterinary groups to monitor vaccine rollout plans and continue advocating for veterinary teams’ access. Several states have indicated they plan to include veterinary personnel in phase 1-b of their rollouts, but these plans remain in flux as more is learned about the quantity of vaccines available.
Other factors play a role in access
Veterinary professionals may qualify for even earlier vaccination if their personal situation puts them at higher risk. For example, people 75 or older and individuals with certain comorbidities associated with increased COVID-19 risk may be identified as earlier recipients than members of veterinary teams in some states or localities. When seeking vaccination, consult with your healthcare provider regarding your potential risk for contracting COVID-19 and any special considerations (e.g., allergies to vaccine components, pregnancy, lactation) regarding your receipt of the vaccine.