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Students Assist America Salutes White House Recognition of Student Vaccinators

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Students Assist America Salutes White House Recognition of Student Vaccinators

Health professions students to help speed COVID-19 vaccine delivery across U.S.

Hailing it as a critical step forward in the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy, Students Assist America (SAA) thanks the Biden Administration for adopting its proposal to amend the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act COVID-19 Declaration. The change opens the door for almost one million skilled medical, nursing, pharmacy, dental, veterinary, PA, optometry and other health professions students to administer COVID-19 vaccines with supervision.

SAA members have advocated for months for the deployment of qualified students to alleviate the burdens on an overwhelmed healthcare workforce. Members of SAA reiterated the immense value of engaging health professions students just last week on a call with key staff from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Even before COVID-19 vaccines were authorized for use, SAA worked with states and the federal government to raise awareness of the untapped potential of student vaccinators and encouraged leaders to include students in their vaccination strategies. After discussions with SAA, several states adopted measures to allow student participation, but a consistent, national model was still lacking. To drive awareness at the federal level, SAA provided comments to both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, sent a broad letter of recommendations to the Biden-Harris COVID- 19 Task Force, and finally, sent a letter specifically recommending this approach to HHS in January.

ASCO’s Executive Vice President Dawn Mancuso serves as optometric education’s representative on the SAA steering committee.

“President Biden said it exactly right – we are at war with this virus,” said Robert A Cain, DO, President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. “And the fastest way to win a war is with all hands contributing what they can. The skills and commitment these students bring offers much-needed help. It was time to let them join the fight.”


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