The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination
The AANMC represents the accredited and recognized programs leading to a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine in the United States and Canada.
AANMC member institutions strongly recommend that all members of their communities, particularly those working or learning in a clinical setting, receive COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it becomes available to them. The emerging evidence on COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments is being closely monitored, and all AANMC members support adhering to federal/state/provincial/territorial government and public health agency guidelines for healthcare providers and academic institutions.
The AANMC member institutions will continue to emphasize following public health and safety practices, and stress the need to continue these practices until there is eradication of this disease, or new information to curb its spread emerges, including:
- Physical distancing
- Mask wearing
- Hygienic practices – hand washing and sanitation procedures
- Increased ventilation
- Physical isolation at the first sign of illness or with suspected exposure
COVID-19 is a novel disease that has rapidly spread around the world and has altered the very fabric of our daily lives. Several vaccines and therapeutics are now being distributed to combat the worldwide pandemic, and we expect these to continue to produce encouraging results. A COVID-19 vaccine may not be a panacea for this disease, and while data from thousands of vaccine recipients indicates that very few people become sick from COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine, it is not yet known whether a vaccinated person can still become infected (without exhibiting symptoms) and then spread the virus to others. The duration of immunity is also still being ascertained.
AANMC schools have developed their position on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination in fighting the pandemic based upon the following evidence:
As of mid-December 2020 in the US, there have been 323,000 reported deaths from the pandemic and 18,300,000 reported cases. In the same timeframe, Canada has had 522,000 cases and 14,424 deaths. Longer-term symptoms continue past active infection for a significant percentage of those who have recovered from the virus. Worldwide, there have been at least 1,700,000 reported deaths from the pandemic.
In the US, experts estimate that at least 70-75% of the population will need to either contract COVID-19 and recover or receive a COVID-19 vaccine in order to achieve herd immunity. That means a minimum of 230,000,000 people in the country must either contract COVID and develop immunity or be immunized, which is 13 times the number of reported cases. Without a vaccine, not only would the inevitable death toll be staggering and over-represent vulnerable groups (like the elderly, Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), socioeconomically disadvantaged, and people living with disabilities) but the long-term disease and the impacts to our economy, front-line healthcare workforce and society would be dire.
COVID-19 vaccine administration is still relatively new, however in the groups for which these vaccines are authorized, it is believed that any possible or theoretical risk of these vaccines is far less than the very real risk of COVID-19 to healthy people and those in their circles. While there are a few reported instances of adverse reactions to these vaccines, it is important to remember that thousands of doses of the vaccine have already been administered without incident or harm.
This statement will continue to be updated as new information emerges.
Initial statement December 23, 2020