• Family Physicians Support White House Actions to Combat COVID-19 During Winter Months

    Thursday, December 2, 2021

    Statement attributable to:
    Sterling Ransone, Jr., MD
    American Academy of Family Physicians

    “The American Academy of Family Physicians supports actions announced today by the White House to combat COVID-19. The Delta and Omicron variants pose a significant threat to the nation’s health, and now is the time to take additional steps to prevent infection and prepare for surges during the winter months when viruses spread more rapidly.

    “Vaccines are our best line of defense against COVID-19; however, many patients and families remain hesitant to get vaccinated. People may have outstanding questions about the COVID-19 vaccines which can require several conversations with their trusted physician to make the best decision for them and their families. The AAFP is pleased that the administration will require Medicaid to pay clinicians for standalone COVID-19 vaccine counseling for children. We urge the administration to expand this requirement to adult vaccine counseling and direct Medicare and commercial insurers to pay for standalone counseling to ensure physicians can have these important conversations with patients of all ages.

    Family physicians are a trusted source for vaccine education and have played an important role in the progress made to date. As winter approaches, we urge all eligible people, starting at age 5, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. In addition, we support the recommendation that all adults get a recommended booster dose for extra protection against the virus.

    The AAFP is encouraged that the administration is taking additional steps to improve the affordability and accessibility of at-home rapid COVID-19 tests. Rapid testing used in conjunction with PCR testing, masking, contact tracing, and other public health measures, is an extremely useful strategy for tracking and containing the spread of COVID-19. Additional action is needed to ensure every American can easily access this tool when they have symptoms or are concerned about possible exposure. It is also imperative that physician offices continue to have access to both rapid and PCR testing to diagnose and treat their patients.

    “In addition to getting vaccinated, we all must remain vigilant about wearing masks in public, washing hands and practicing physical distancing. The AAFP calls on government leaders and employers at the federal, state, and local level to encourage all individuals age 2 and older to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The science is clear that proper masking significantly reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission. These simple measures will help us win the battle against COVID-19 this season.”


    Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Ransone, contact Janelle Davis, (913) 912-0377, or jdavis@aafp.org.

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    About American Academy of Family Physicians
    Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 127,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. To learn more about the specialty of family medicine and the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, visit www.aafp.org. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.