ACAPT is aware that some clinical partners are beginning to institute requirements for students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to be accepted for clinical education experiences.
The ACAPT Board of Directors would like to make sure that our clinical partners understand that many of our DPT programs may find it impossible to comply with such a requirement in the near future. Here are some factors to consider.
- Ability of DPT programs to vaccinate their students varies widely. Some programs already have most students vaccinated, but others have not been able to vaccinate any DPT students. This variation is caused by differences in:
- state health department guidelines,
- type of academic institution,
- region, and
- other factors beyond the control of the students or the programs.
- Students have not been told that vaccination is mandatory. The vaccine is presently authorized under an emergency use authorization from the FDA. Public communications have consistently emphasized that vaccination is voluntary.
- For historical reasons based on lived experience, people of color and those from underserved rural areas in the United States often experience high levels of vaccine hesitancy. A requirement for vaccination prior to clinical education could be particularly hard on the students from marginalized and under-represented groups that we have tried so hard to include in our profession in recent years.
The practical effect of requiring vaccination prior to clinical education is interference with the clinical education of a substantial proportion of the nation's DPT students. There may be a time when the COVID-19 vaccination is considered just as routine as the flu shot, with well-developed processes for individuals to optout and still stay safe, but we are not there yet. We ask our clinical partners to carefully consider these factors when considering requirements for COVID-19 vaccination.
ACAPT Board of Directors
Mark Reinking, President, ACAPT, Regis University
Michael Sheldon, Vice President, ACAPT, University of New England
Emmanuel John,Secretary, ACAPT, Chapman University
Julia Chevan, Treasurer, ACAPT, Springfield College
Peter Altenburger, Director, ACAPT, Indiana University
Marie Johanson, Director, ACAPT, Emory University
John Buford, Director, ACAPT, The Ohio State University
Scott Davis, Director, ACAPT, Marshall University
Mary Dockter, Director, ACAPT, University of Mary