WADA launches vaccination strategy for immigrants
Members of the American Medical Association (AMA) weighed the risks and benefits of the United States’ implementation of a vaccination mandate for immigrants and reviewed policy recommendations regarding short-term medical travel at the annual meeting of the House of Delegates.
Sarah Mae Smith, an alternate delegate from California who spoke on behalf of WADA’s medical student section, said requiring vaccination to immigrate to the United States would be “unreasonable.”
Michael Greene, MD, a delegate from Georgia, disagreed and suggested that vaccines, especially COVID vaccines, should be offered and required upon entry for any immigrant. He presented an amended policy resolution to this effect.
“If you’re not ready to get the shot, you don’t go in,” he said emphatically.
As for American citizens returning to the country, Greene was unsure of what the protocol should be. “[T]This is something that needs to be investigated, ”he noted.
Corliss Varnum, MD, a delegate from New York speaking on his own behalf, said that while he did not want to deny anyone entry into the United States, the idea of allowing someone who is ill to enter in the United States worried him.
“If we look at what India has gone through and what Brazil has gone through… Everything goes through this border, and we have lowered… our defenses… we are only preparing for another major disaster,” he said. he adds.
Varnum suggested that the House send the proposed policy recommendation back to the board to help determine a “logical and meaningful” solution.
Douglas Myers, MD, speaking on behalf of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, also supported the referral to examine the cost of such a policy and how it would be paid for, as well as whether different protocols should be implemented for immigrants versus repatriation of citizens.
“There are a lot of issues here that I think we’re just hovering over,” he said.
Laura Faye Gephart, MD, delegate of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and obstetrician working on the southern border of the United States, speaking on her own behalf, opposed the “odious” amendment making compulsory the vaccination for immigrants, claiming it “grossly misrepresents” people crossing the southern border who, for the most part, have better vaccination rates than most US residents – with the exception of Honduras.
However, she called for the vaccination to be offered to immigrants entering the country and urged her colleagues to adopt the initial policy recommendation.
“[W]Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have a middle line that says we support people? ”she asked.
Smith, likewise, has asked the House not to return the decision, given the timeliness of the issue – structures around vaccine credentials and mandates are being developed, he said. she declared.
An amendment recommending that vaccine credentials not be used to prevent immigration and that vaccination mandates be implemented consistently “regardless of citizenship”, as part of a broader report on vaccine references, was ultimately sent back to the board for decision by the House in a 245-202 vote.
Short-term medical travel review
A political report focusing on short-term medical travel was referred to the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, after several delegates pointed out its shortcomings.
Samantha Rosman, MD, who spoke on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics, called for the policy to be dismissed because she said the report made no mention of promoting “true two-way relationships” and did not address the history of colonialism in the United States. and its influence on global health work.
The report also fails to mention the importance of proper supervision for program participants.
Rosman, who has worked in Rwanda and Lesotho, recalled that a medical student in Lesotho was allowed to see patients on his own. “[L]the local staff said, ‘great, someone from the US is here,’ and they’re gone, ‘she said.
“The harm this does to patients and families, and communities in general, is truly incredible,” she added.
Anna Yap, MD, delegate from the American Association of Public Health Physicians, speaking on behalf of the Pacific West Conference, stressed the importance of addressing “power imbalances” that exist in partner relationships. global health organizations and the need to address the scope of practice issues, “so we don’t practice on people of color in other countries, things we wouldn’t do to our own children or our own patients. “.
What Yap called “voluntary tourism” normalizes the power differences between volunteers and partners in developing countries and “further reinforces the idea that, unfortunately, foreigners are somehow more crucial in helping non- Whites who … cannot help themselves “.
The House referred the policy report back to the Board of Directors for study, with 66% of delegates supporting the referral.