The American Medical Association (AMA) on Tuesday urged the public and private sectors to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations, saying the move is key to getting control of the pandemic.
The call comes one day after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved the Pfizer vaccine, a step that is expected to lead more companies to pull the trigger on mandating vaccination for their employees.
The AMA, the country’s leading doctors group, is seeking to speed that process along.
“The simple fact is unless a significant percentage of our population is vaccinated against COVID-19 – we could be stuck fighting this virus for many more months or even years to come,” AMA President Gerald Harmon said in a statement. “Now is the time for the public and private sectors to come together, listen to the science, and mandate vaccination.”
The statement joins stepped-up calls from President Biden, who spoke after the FDA’s approval on Monday and called for employers to mandate vaccines for their workers as well.
“Today I’m calling on more companies in the private sector to step up the vaccine requirements that’ll reach millions more people,” Biden said. “If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that.”
The AMA argued that other steps to simply incentivize vaccination, rather than mandates, have not resulted in the high vaccination rates needed to tame the highly transmissible delta variant.
“These incentives have not gotten us where we need to be,” Harmon said. “With the highly transmissible and more virulent delta variant wreaking havoc and emergency departments once again overwhelmed, physicians and all front-line health care workers need help.”
He added that health care workers “continue today risking our own safety and well-being-putting our families at risk-to treat mostly unvaccinated people afflicted with COVID-19.”
“Help us win this fight, follow science, and end this pandemic by requiring vaccination,” he said.