Surgeons can play an important role in boosting vaccination rates, particularly in at-risk communities
CHICAGO (August 4, 2021): As the rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths rise once again, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) is urging surgeons everywhere to play an active role in getting their patients vaccinated. To achieve this goal, the ACS is launching a “Talk It Up” campaign to help surgeons address patient concerns and help them understand the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have been many, the latest of which is the rise of the Delta variant. Hospitals around the country are adapting to new demands posed by the pandemic, and surgeons are frequently among those on the front lines of care. ACS believes that getting more people vaccinated is essential to overcoming this pandemic.
Surgeons are used to having difficult conversations with their patients. By addressing concerns patients may have about the COVID-19 vaccines, surgeons can play an important role in increasing vaccination rates. Because surgeons are located in geographically diverse communities, including at-risk areas in both urban and rural settings, these conversations can be particularly effective in boosting vaccination rates.
The “Talk It Up” campaign includes a series of videos from ACS leaders about the importance of vaccination and the power of these surgeon-patient conversations, along with a question-and-answer resource for surgeons to reference when discussing vaccines with their patients. This resource addresses common questions patients may have, including the following:
- Do I need a COVID test before an elective procedure?
- How soon before surgery should I get vaccinated?
- I’m healthy and in good shape. Since I rarely get sick, why do I need to get vaccinated?
“Surgeons are well-positioned to have conversations with their patients to help raise awareness about the importance, safety, and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines,” said ACS Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS. “The more we ‘Talk It Up’ with our patients about the evidence and protection offered by the vaccines, the closer we will get to ending this pandemic.”
In addition to talking up COVID-19 vaccination, the ACS endorses updated evidence-based mask recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Surgeons understand the importance of masks in keeping patients safe and stopping the spread of infection. In alignment with the latest CDC recommendations, the ACS urges surgeons to discuss the importance of masks with patients, particularly as the Delta variant continues to spread across the U.S.
By focusing on the evidence to discuss COVID-19 vaccination and latest mask recommendations in an open and non-judgmental way, surgeons can help keep their patients and communities safe and stop the further spread of COVID-19.
The ACS recently joined more than 55 health care professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Association of American Medical Colleges, and National Association for Home Care and Hospice, in calling for vaccine mandates for all health workers.