Coronavirus: ACP pushes ethical allocation of vaccines

In a statement, ACP President Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, says vaccine prioritization should be based on medical need.

The American College of the Physicians (ACP) is calling for COVID-19 coronavirus vaccines should be allocated ethically and those with medical need should be given priority.

In a statement from ACP President Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, the organization shared its concerns with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and sought to emphasize the urgent need for these vaccines to reach the appropriate populations as recent daily death rates due to the disease rise above 4,000 and the arrival of highly-infectious variants.

“We are troubled about reports that COVID-19 vaccines are being administered preferentially or ahead of patients and others in need,” Fincher says in the statement. “ACP is also concerned about reports indicating that some states may delay vaccinating incarcerated persons for COVID-19, despite their congregate living circumstances, and about denial of vaccines based on immigration status.”

The prioritization of preventive services, like vaccines, should maximize benefit by prioritizing those most likely to become severely sick or die. Allocation and administration should be ethical and patient-centered, the statement says.

The ACP has previously released a framework and recommendations for the ethical, equitable and phased allocation of vaccines.

“As states are moving on to expanded phases of vaccination, ACP strongly believes that vaccine implementation must be equitable and non-discriminatory, since the elderly and members of minority racial and ethnic groups are disproportionately represented among COVID-19–associated deaths, according to the CDC and others,” Fincher says. “Those entrusted to distribute vaccines should not use allocations for their own (non-frontline health care) employees and individuals who ‘jump the line’ ahead of those in greater need, including at independent physician practices and smaller hospitals”

The ACP also says that strategies to reduce transmission, such as hand washing and social distancing, will remain necessary until the vaccines have been widely administered.