On August 25, the Arkansas Medical Society Board of Trustees adopted a health policy statement encouraging physicians and health care workers to be champions of the vaccine in their communities. Since then, the following organizations have added their names to the list of supporters encouraging that all health care workers get the COVID-19 vaccine:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics, Arkansas Chapter
- The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (Arkansas)
- The American College of Cardiology, Arkansas Chapter
- The American College of Physicians, Arkansas Chapter
- The American College of Surgeons, Arkansas Chapter
- The Arkansas Academy of Family Physicians
- The Arkansas Dermatological Society
- The Arkansas Radiological Society
- The Arkansas Ophthalmological Society
- The Arkansas Orthopaedic Society
- The Arkansas Osteopathic Medical Association
- The Arkansas Society of Anesthesiologists
- The Arkansas Trauma Society
- The Arkansas Urologic Society
The statement says, “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.
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.
For these reasons, the Arkansas Medical Society supports requirements for physicians and all other health care workers to become vaccinated against COVID-19.
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.
As physicians, we also recognize our responsibility to educate our patients and our communities on scientifically valid treatment protocols for patients testing positive for COVID-19 and provide factual and substantiated information on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of this deadly virus. As part of that effort, it is imperative that health care workers lead by example and get the vaccine. In doing so, not only do we preserve our long-term ability to be there for our patients, but we also set an example to the citizens of our great State of Arkansas that the vaccine is not only safe but – lifesaving.”