(Bethesda, MD, Friday, November 13, 2020) – The healthcare system in the United States is back in crisis mode due to the continued spread of COVID-19. Mass vaccination is widely regarded as a critical element to getting our lives back to normal. But we are not prepared for it.

We are already experiencing a significant healthcare workforce shortage when it comes to getting enough people vaccinated – we see this right now with flu season, especially in rural areas. To meet the critical health needs of our communities when a COVID vaccine is available, our country faces an all hands-on deck situation.

Students Assist America, an initiative spearheaded by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, is calling on the CDC and federal and state governments to give tens of thousands of students across the health professions the opportunity to answer that call and help administer COVID vaccines, as they have done for years with flu shots.

Medical students and students from a variety of other health professions are trained to vaccinate and need to be deployed.

This is a cost-effective solution that is not part of The White House’s Operation Warp Speed or the state plans submitted to the CDC for COVID vaccine distribution. We still have time to get this right.

Political leaders need to streamline the deployment of future healthcare professionals who are trained to safely administer vaccines.

A quarter of all current U.S. medical students are trained in an osteopathic medical school. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) leads and advocates for the full continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the public. Students Assist America is a collaborative of 11 associations whose members are educating future doctors, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, dental professionals, psychologists, social workers, public health experts, veterinarians and optometrists.

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