As of August 2, 2021, AACN calls for all healthcare and long-term care employers to require every member of the healthcare team—employees and all credentialed and contracted providers—to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
AACN has previously held that vaccination decisions are best left up to the individual. This new position, which calls for mandatory vaccination except when medically contraindicated, is a necessary response to the grave threat of COVID-19 and the dramatic rise in cases among unvaccinated individuals. In this unique case, we believe mandated vaccination is the best path to support the physical safety of patients, nurses, their colleagues, and their families and a means to prevent further trauma and moral injury imposed by the pandemic on our health care workforce.
To be effective, the COVID-19 vaccine must be received by a large percentage of the population. Health care team members who are vaccinated serve as role models and help to shorten the duration of the pandemic. Ultimately, widespread vaccination will reduce the massive burden of this disease on acute and critical-care units and our communities.
This call for mandatory vaccination aligns with more than 55 major healthcare organizations, including the American Nurses Association and the American Medical Association who recently called for similar action.
It is reasonable for healthcare workers to have questions about new vaccines and requirements. AACN calls on healthcare leaders to recognize and honor the difficult and even traumatic conditions under which many employees have worked during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial to ensure that employees and providers have opportunities to ask questions, express concerns and receive scientific information regarding vaccines and the organization’s rationale for requiring them.
FDA approval of the currently available vaccines is moving forward, and the widely administered vaccines have been safe and effective. AACN will share information from reliable sources as we advance our understanding on this topic. Nurses, the most trusted profession, must scrutinize all sources of information, decline to accept misinformation and disseminate only accurate information from credible scientific sources.
- National Council of State Boards Of Nursing Policy Statement: Dissemination of Non-scientific and Misleading COVID-19 Information by Nurses
- NIH Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL): addressing COVID 19 disparities
- AACN blog "Vaccine Mandates: My Evolving View on an Evolving Situation"
- ANA webpage: COVID Vaccine Facts for Nurses
- AACN blog: "COVID-19 Vaccine Myth Busters"
- Video Interview: My Decision to Get Vaccinated
- Fact Sheet: Effectiveness of J&J COVID-19 Vaccine
- Video Interview: COVID-19 Vaccination: Ethical Considerations
- AACN's position statement: "Science Must Drive Clinical Practice and Public Health Policy"
- AACN's blog on how to sort through online information: "Going Viral: COVID-19 and the Internet"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: COVID-19 Vaccines
- Summary infographic of vaccine types from CHEST
- ANA webpage on COVID-19 Vaccines
- ANA webinar and video on COVID-19 Vaccines
About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world with more than 120,000 members. AACN represents the interests of more than half a million acute and critical care nurses and includes more than 200 chapters in the United States.