The American Medical Association is calling for the public and private sectors to impose COVID-19 vaccination mandates.
"With the highly transmissible and more virulent Delta variant wreaking havoc and emergency departments once again overwhelmed, physicians and all frontline health care workers need help. The way to regain the upper hand in this fight is requiring vaccinations—specifically vaccine mandates," AMA President Gerald E. Harmon M.D. said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
"The simple fact is unless a significant percentage of our population is vaccinated against COVID-19—we could be stuck fighting this virus for many more months or even years to come. Now is the time for the public and private sectors to come together, listen to the science, and mandate vaccination," Harmon said.
On Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it had approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people ages 16 and older. It is the first COVID-19 vaccine to secure full approval from the agency.
"The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals," the FDA noted.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60.4% of the U.S. population ages 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, while 71.2% of that group has received at least one dose.
"The data we will publish today and next week demonstrate the vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection is waning," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing last week. "And even though our vaccines are currently working well to prevent hospitalizations we are seeing concerning evidence of waning vaccine effectiveness over time and against the Delta variant. Additionally, reports from our international colleagues, including Israel, suggest increased risk of severe disease amongst those vaccinated early.
"Given this body of evidence, we are concerned that the current strong protection against severe infection, hospitalization and death could decrease in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or who were vaccinated earlier during the phases of our vaccination rollout. In the context of these concerns, we are planning for ... Americans to receive booster shots starting next month to maximize vaccine-induced protection," Walensky said.
08/18/21: Press Briefing by White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials www.youtube.com