Arkansas Medical Society leaders endorse vaccine requirements for health care workers

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 692 views 

The Arkansas Medical Society board of trustees adopted a policy Monday (Aug. 30) calling for the required vaccination of health care workers.

In a statement released broadly, the AMS said the Arkansas Osteopathic Medical Association had endorsed the position and “more medical organizations are expected to do the same.” The AMS is the largest and most influential physician lobbying group in Arkansas.

“The physicians of Arkansas are deeply concerned about their patients and the citizens of our state as we continue to wage a battle with the COVID-19 virus and its highly contagious variants. Our ethical obligations, as well as the ethical obligations of most health care workers, teach us to always put patients first. To live up to that moral and ethical standard, it is imperative that we lead by example and take a stand in support of required vaccination for health care workers,” the AMS statement said.

On Monday, there were 882 new COVID-19 cases in Arkansas bringing the total number of active cases to 22,427. Another 33 deaths pushed the COVID-19 death total to 6,912. To date, there have been 2,683,076 vaccine doses given in Arkansas. 1,211,121 Arkansans are fully immunized – roughly 40%.

“That ethical commitment demands that we take appropriate precautions to ensure that our fellow physicians and other health care workers are protected from the virus. In doing so, this will allow us to continue performing our patient care responsibilities while also protecting our families, our patients, and our communities. More critical, is the need to protect the more vulnerable citizens of our state, including unvaccinated children, hospital patients, residents of long-term care facilities and those who are immunocompromised,” the AMS said.

“For these reasons, the Arkansas Medical Society supports requirements for physicians and all other health care workers to become vaccinated against COVID-19.”

While vaccine hesitancy has kept Arkansas’ rates among the lowest in the country, the AMS said the evidence of safety and effectiveness of the COVID vaccines is “unmistakable and mounting.”

“By August 2021, over 1 million Arkansans were fully vaccinated (over 163 million Americans), with minimal side effects. Even more striking is the fact that, according to the Arkansas Department of Health, 98% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in our state between January and July were among people who had not been vaccinated,” the AMS said.