As discussions progress surrounding the release of a COVID-19 vaccine, NATA is advocating for athletic trainers to be included on the list of health care providers considered for early vaccination.
In November, NATA sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on behalf of members. Comprised of medical and public health experts, ACIP is responsible for developing recommendations on the use of vaccines in the country’s civilian population.
“Athletic trainers have served on the front lines in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC, wrote in the letter to the ACIP. “Athletic trainers face significant physical, emotional and other risks during this time as they provide exceptional service to patients, whether within a traditional health care facility, competitive sports environment or in the broader community setting. In particular, thousands of athletic trainers have stepped up outside of their regular duties to assist in the COVID-19 response. Through a variety of roles, athletic trainers provide support with patient evaluation, screening, testing, transport and documentation, in settings where health care is delivered. This includes repetitive, direct interaction with high-risk populations.”
Because of the AT’s position on the front lines and their direct interaction with high-risk populations, NATA recommended that the ACIP include athletic trainers on its list of health care personnel designated as a priority group for early vaccination. In addition to priority access to vaccines, NATA advocated for adoption of the CDC’s definition of “health care personnel,” which focuses on the functional nature of the individual’s activities in patient care and their risk for exposure and transmission of infectious agents. This not only supports our members on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, but all front-line health care personnel providing patient care.
Adding ATs to the ACIP’s health care personnel priority group will provide ATs with priority access to protect themselves as they continue to care for and provide guidance to their patients and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NATA will update members as more information is made available.