Published on January 31st, 2021 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
American Academy of Nursing Applauds President Biden’s Recent Executive Orders
With a Focus on Health Equity, Academy Adds Vaccine Promotion as a Priority Among Pandemic Efforts
(Washington, DC) – The American Academy of Nursing (Academy) applauds the Biden Administration for the actions taken to improve the country’s COVID-19 response. In particular, efforts to accelerate the vaccine rollout, personal protective equipment (PPE) production, elevating face mask requirements, rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO), and a renewed focus on health equity align with the Academy’s vision: healthy lives for all people.
The Academy’s Fellows are experts who serve as the nation’s nurse leaders in government at all levels, hospital and health systems, and policy; academic provosts, deans, and professors in the most prominent education institutions in this country; as well as nurse scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health. The Administration’s actions align with the Academy’s COVID-19 policy priorities that have been extended in 2021 to further address the nation’s public health demands, including: to protect our most vulnerable populations; support nurses and healthcare providers; accelerate access to and education of COVID-19 vaccines; and increase access, speed, and accuracy of testing.
Promotion of Vaccination, Vaccine Education and Safety
Now, more than ever, it is a critical time to regain the public’s trust and support the science to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses have a professional and ethical duty to provide evidence-based information to the public regarding the importance and safety of vaccines. The Academy continues to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations to reduce the spread and severity of disease, especially among the nation’s most vulnerable populations. For years, vaccines have prevented millions of deaths annually and the coronavirus vaccine will be no different. The Academy will continue to urge its Fellows and all nurses to engage in respectful, educational, and science-based dialogues with their patients, families, and community members regarding the evidence supporting the safety of vaccines as well as reinforce the importance of vaccination.
The safety and efficacy of immunizations are vigorously studied and well-established. All vaccines used in the United States are required to go through extensive safety testing before they are licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) work with healthcare professionals to monitor the safety of vaccines, including any adverse events, and especially rare events not identified in pre-licensure study trials. We must amplify our efforts as a profession, a trusted source of healthcare information, to inform the public as well as healthcare providers, including nurses, to be vaccinated.
With urgency and action being paramount, the Academy supports the Administration’s Executive Order 14001 to create a sustainable public health supply chain and Executive Order 13987 to create the position of Coordinator of the COVID–19 Response and Counselor to manage all elements of the production and distribution of the vaccine and medical equipment.
Mask Requirements and PPE Production
The Academy has consistently advocated for the appropriate PPE to be made readily available. Since the beginning of the pandemic, ensuring appropriate access to PPE for our nation’s health professionals and most vulnerable populations has been a priority of the organization. Through statements and social media, we have urged the public to wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and get tested. The Academy supports the Biden Administration’s efforts to reinforce these evidence-based recommendations for slowing the spread of COVID-19 through its Executive Order 13991, which coincided with the launch of the “100 Days Masking Challenge,” and required masks as well as physical distancing within federal buildings and on federal lands, and Executive Order 13998, which implements CDC guidelines on public modes of transportation and ports of entry.
Membership in the WHO
The Academy has firmly advocated for the United States to remain a member of the WHO, which is vital to global health diplomacy and improved health for all communities. It is through international coordination and collaboration that the world will be able to eradicate this pandemic. The Academy fully supports the Biden Administration’s decision to reverse the nation’s withdrawal and applauds the appointment of Dr. Anthony Fauci, a 2020 Honorary Fellow of the Academy, as the head of the WHO delegation.
Addressing Health Equity
The Academy stands to champion health equity and dismantle racism within our health systems as the nation’s Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Latino communities continue to be hit proportionally hardest by the pandemic. We are committed to taking a stand against all forms of racism, discrimination, and bias by providing care, innovating, and conducting research that protects vulnerable individuals. The Academy strongly supports Executive Order 13995 to identify and eliminate the health and social inequities that have resulted in higher rates of exposure, illness, and death in these communities.
The Academy looks forward to working with President Biden and Vice President Harris to implement equitable policies that will end the pandemic and improve public health. The organization’s Expert Panels, focused on 24 aspects of care, populations, and systems, are recognized leaders who are working within their communities to combat the spread of COVID-19. These Fellows are using their expertise to provide evidence-based recommendations that support the Academy’s and Administration’s goals, such as the position statement on immunizations. For more information on the Academy’s work to combat the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Resource page.
About the American Academy of Nursing
The American Academy of Nursing serves the public by advancing health policy through the generation, synthesis, and dissemination of nursing knowledge. Academy Fellows are inducted into the organization for their extraordinary contributions to improve health locally and globally. With more than 2,900 Fellows, the Academy represents nursing’s most accomplished leaders in policy, research, administration, practice, and academia.