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The American Nurses Association (ANA), representing the interests of the nation’s 4.3 million registered nurses, supports the actions included in President Joe Biden’s multi-pronged COVID-19 Action Plan, “Path out of the Pandemic” released last Thursday, in particular the new requirements and incentives to increase the vaccination rate and protect those who have been vaccinated.

“Nurses working in all roles and care settings are exhausted and frustrated about the impact of the 4th wave of COVID-19 with the burden of new cases, increased hospitalizations and many deaths that could have been prevented by a greater acceptance of vaccines,” said ANA President Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “ANA supports the Biden Administration plan to use every lever to increase the number of people vaccinated as the only way to get out of this crisis.”

In July, ANA called upon all health care workers to be vaccinated. This next step the Administration is taking, encouraging employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations, aligns with our longstanding position on immunizations, which emphasizes that effective protection of the public health mandates that all individuals receive immunizations against vaccine-preventable diseases. ANA fully supports the President’s efforts.

Last week, ANA urged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to declare the current and unsustainable nurse staffing shortage facing our country a national crisis. An increasing body of evidence shows appropriate nurse staffing contributes to improved patient outcomes. ANA continues to call for the Administration to acknowledge and take concrete action to address the current crisis-level nurse staffing shortage that puts nurses’ ability to care for patients in jeopardy. The pandemic has exacerbated underlying, chronic nursing workforce challenges that have persisted for decades. Our nation must have a robust nursing workforce at peak health and wellness to meet the needs of our nation today and in the future. Stressful work environments that often require nurses to care for too many patients coupled with mandatory overtime have contributed to burnout among many nurses even before the pandemic.

“ANA applauds the Biden Administration for using its full authority to increase our nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rate and put the pandemic behind us,” said Dr. Grant. “In addition, we look forward to working with them to address the underlying systemic problems of nurse staffing shortages that with the pandemic have created a national crisis for the nation’s nursing workforce.”

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