ACPM supports the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the CDC for use of COVID-19 vaccines under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization, which at the time of this statement include the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. The ACPM also acknowledges that the vaccines are a tool that synergize with previous public health guidance and do not serve as a substitute for continued adherence to public health guidance including physical distancing, wearing a mask, and hand hygiene.
While the ACPM acknowledges the need for all health care professionals and patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19, we also recommend planning at the population level that prioritizes and implements vaccination plans through the lens of historical injustices and inequities associated with the coronavirus. This risk stratification should be informed by the evaluation of high-quality scientific evidence identifying those at highest risk of increased morbidity or mortality, and those inequitably impacted, especially communities of color and tribal nations. A strategic and effective operational framework that is science- and equity- based and effectively engages the health systems, primary care, local public health, and communities in a thoughtful and proactive way is critical.
Effective real-time data monitoring should inform appropriate process and outcome measurement to further refine the identification of gaps, barriers, and opportunities to enhance vaccine uptake in all communities (e.g., transportation, cost, mistrust, vaccine hesitancy, insurance status). Partnering with non-health care sectors and engaging with community leaders will be critical to ensuring that the vaccine is made accessible and acceptable to communities across the country. Our duty as clinicians and public health professionals is to recognize that the solution to addressing mistrust and other contributing factors to poor uptake is not simply to wait for individuals to meet us halfway; we should proactively engage vulnerable populations with positively stated communications campaigns and provide relevant information to inform decision-making that translate into increased uptake in communities that need these tools most. To maximize success, our operational strategies must involve partnership with health systems, primary care, public health, and communities.