The AARC Executive Office has reached out to its State Affiliates’ House of Delegate volunteers to work with their state boards of respiratory care and departments of health to encourage actions that will allow respiratory therapists to administer the COVID-19 vaccines. AARC leadership supports the role of RTs in vaccine administration but recognizes that certain state scopes of practice may not allow it.
Some states have already acted. For example:
- The Commissioner of Health in Colorado recently adopted emergency rules that allows physicians and other qualified healthcare professionals to delegate responsibility to RTs to administer the vaccines provided they have adequate cross-training as determined by the hospital.
- Guidance from the New York State Board for Respiratory Therapy determined it is within the scope of practice of RTs and RTTs to administer certain vaccinations, including COVID-19, pursuant to a valid order, if they are trained and competent to do so. Plans are to have this added to Governor Cuomo’s latest Executive Order for vaccinations.
- The Ohio Medical Board has issued a call to licensed healthcare professionals, including respiratory therapists, to enroll in the Medical Reserve Corps to take part in administering the vaccine.
“We believe adding respiratory therapists to the types of healthcare professionals authorized and trained to administer the COVID-19 vaccines demonstrates an additional value they bring to the healthcare system,” said Anne Marie Hummel, Associate Executive Director for Advocacy and Government Affairs. “Although respiratory therapists are needed on the front line to combat the coronavirus, they can also combat the disease by providing their expertise to ensure sufficient numbers of health care workers are available to vaccinate the millions of Americans who require them to mitigate the continuing rise in infections,” she added.
AARC will be monitoring responses from our House of Delegates as they work to improve access to respiratory therapists determined qualified to administer the COVID-19 vaccines. As we gather additional information, we will make it available to our members.
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