Healthcare workers represented by three unions are hesitant to administer or receive a COVID-19 vaccine without validation from independent third-party experts, the unions announced in an Oct. 20 news release.
The statement came from Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, and the American Federation of Teachers, which together represent about 2 million U.S. healthcare workers.
Union officials said their members know the consequences of COVID-19 all too well as they have witnessed numerous deaths and continue to care for severely ill patients, while focusing on protecting themselves and their loved ones.
Workers are ready to take and administer a safe, effective vaccine once it is available, but they want a “transparent, evidence-based federal vaccine strategy based on principles of equity, safety and priority, as well as robust efforts to address a high degree of skepticism about safety of an authorized vaccine,” the officials said.
They specifically seek additional assurance from third-party independent experts about the vaccine approval process and that it is free from politicization.
Once third-party independent experts recommend a vaccine or vaccines, the unions said the healthcare workers they represent will be pleased to get involved in accurately educating the public and promoting a vaccination program for distributing the vaccine.
The announcement from the unions comes more than one month after the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a report that prioritizes giving the vaccine to healthcare workers in high-risk settings, first responders, people at higher risk for severe COVID-19 infection and older long-term care facility residents. It also comes as an FDA panel of outside experts is slated to publicly discuss the vaccine approval process on Oct. 22.
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