Given the anticipated increase in COVID-19 and influenza cases this fall and winter, America’s healthcare professional organizations are coming together to remind the public of the importance of vaccinations and early treatment. A strong recommendation from a trusted clinician is one of the most effective strategies to increase vaccine uptake. We encourage our members to use every interaction with patients as an opportunity to make strong vaccine recommendations, educate and answer questions about prevention and treatment options, encourage vaccination, and where feasible provide vaccination.
We strongly recommend that everyone who is eligible, especially those at higher risk, urgently receive their updated COVID-19 booster (or COVID-19 primary series if not yet vaccinated) and influenza vaccine. We expect that the updated COVID-19 vaccine will help reduce severe illness, hospitalizations and death for our most vulnerable patients, including older adults, those who are pregnant and recently pregnant, and those from historically minoritized communities. We urgently ask all clinicians to be vigilant and prioritize vaccination in the coming months. To maximize uptake of vaccines after counseling, our organizations will continue to advocate for access to vaccines and evidence-based treatments for everyone.
Given the higher morbidity and mortality among older people, those who are pregnant and recently pregnant, and immunocompromised people, we strongly recommend that healthcare professionals increase their timely use of effective treatments. While newer variants may not respond to some existing treatments, healthcare professionals must be ready and able to prescribe life-saving oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19 and influenza, to those at highest risk. It is critical that everyone, especially those at risk for serious illness, understand the importance of testing and early communication with their clinicians to seek treatment as soon as they test positive.
We commit to continue working with federal partners to provide usable and consistent information and emerging evidence-based tools that we can rapidly push to our members. The time to act is now, and the nation’s organizations of healthcare professionals are ready and willing to do all we can to encourage vaccination and use of evidence-based treatments in the critical months ahead.