The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today launched a nationwide education and awareness campaign to encourage veterinary teams, their clients and the general public to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
"We want our veterinary staff, animal owners and our communities to be safe and healthy, and that's why we join our colleagues in human medicine and science in actively promoting the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine," said Dr. José Arce, President of the AVMA.
The effort was encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the agency recognized the key role veterinarians play in society and public health. "Veterinary medicine has a clear public health mission," Dr. Arce noted. "In fact, when we take our Oath, we specifically commit to the 'promotion of public health.' Encouraging preventive health care, including vaccination, is part of that commitment. Especially with flu season underway and the approach of winter, we strongly encourage vaccination to protect overall public well-being."
Based on survey findings, it is estimated that approximately 90% of AVMA members are already vaccinated, which demonstrates the value that veterinarians place on preventive care and their confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
The campaign, scheduled to run through late December, will include a wide range of printed and digital materials available for AVMA members, such as a social media toolkit, brochures and posters for veterinary lobbies and offices, that encourage staff, animal owners and the public to get the COVID-19 vaccine. These resources can be accessed at www.avma.org/VaccinationTools.
"Veterinarians are healthcare providers trusted not only by their clients but by the public at large, we understand the power of vaccines, and we have been enlisted as COVID vaccination providers in some areas," said Dr. Arce, a practicing veterinarian in San Juan, Puerto Rico. "We recognize that vaccination is a choice and that not everyone may be able to receive one. But we are uniquely qualified to share the importance of preventing and controlling disease in both animals and people. Protecting public health is part of a veterinarian's responsibility and appropriate preventive care, including vaccinations, goes a long way towards protecting public health."
AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 97,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine.