Far too many deaths could have been prevented by a COVID-19 vaccine.
As COVID-19 variants cause more sickness and death among those who are not vaccinated across the United States, the American Cancer Society is speaking out in support of vaccination mandates to protect health care providers and cancer patients and their families. Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, issued the following statement on July 28:
“We support mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all health care workers. This is urgent. The evidence clearly demonstrates that cancer patients are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and suffering from more severe symptoms and complications, including death.
“Mandatory vaccines for those in health care settings are both appropriate and necessary given the severity of the ongoing crisis and the increasing need for additional action. We are facing a sustained public health crisis that once again is causing COVID-19 and its variants to spread quickly and broadly. The virus is infecting larger and larger numbers of people and leading to far too many deaths that could be prevented with one of the many vaccines widely available nationwide.
“As a public health organization dedicated to improving the lives of cancer patients and their families, we are particularly concerned about the impact on cancer patients, who are at increased risk of complications from COVID-19. ACS is requiring vaccines for its staff and volunteers who interact with cancer patients and their caregivers at its Hope Lodge residential facilities and in its Road To Recovery patient transportation program. We encourage health systems and other public health organizations to implement similar guidelines as well.
“We also continue to encourage vaccination among everyone who is eligible, including cancer patients and caregivers in consultation with their health care providers. We must address vaccination confidence among those who are unvaccinated. We especially must ensure all people have equitable access to vaccinations and care by health care workers who have been vaccinated.”