CHICAGO — In a new amicus brief filed today, the American Medical Association (AMA) urged the United States Supreme Court to reject recent challenges and preserve the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) emergency temporary standard for COVID-19 vaccination and testing for large businesses.
The AMA-led brief was joined by 15 leading medical organizations that promote widespread vaccination as the best evidence-based strategy to protect public health and defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Backed by science and rigorous clinical testing, the use of COVID-19 vaccines has proven to be the safest, most effective way to prevent viral spread in high transmission areas such as the workplace. To help create a safer environment, vaccination and testing requirements are essential for protecting workers from COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death — particularly those who are immunocompromised or cannot get vaccinated due to a medical condition.
According to the brief, halting enforcement of the emergency temporary standard requiring vaccination and testing for large employers would “cause severe and irreparable harm to the public interest.” Other mitigation measures, such as mask-wearing and social distancing remain important, but they “do not…rise to the level of protection that widespread uptake of vaccinations would provide.” Citing workplace transmission as a major factor in the spread of COVID-19, the amici feel strongly that OSHA’s emergency temporary standard is a critical, necessary tool to safeguard millions of Americans in the workplace, bolster vaccination rates, and help bring the pandemic to an end.
“The more workers who get vaccinated, the closer we are to slowing the spread of the virus and creating a safer environment,” the amici write. “The statistics on COVID-19 vaccine efficacy speak for themselves. No other measure has been shown to reduce the risk of infection, hospitalization, and death to the degree that vaccination does. The science is clear: no arguments against the need for vaccination are medically valid, other than to accommodate a medical contraindication.”
As part of its mission to promote the betterment of public health, the AMA has also filed several friend-of-the-court briefs in courts across the country in support of federal vaccination and testing efforts to ensure the health and safety of our nation’s workforces, families, and communities.
The 15 organizations joining the AMA on the brief are: the American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Correctional Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Geriatrics Society, American Medical Women’s Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Hematology, American Thoracic Society, Association of Academic Physiatrists, and American Lung Association.
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The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.