Medical students write letter to VCU Health regarding vaccine plan

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Updated: Jan. 5, 2021 at 5:43 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Commonwealth University medical students wrote a letter to the CEO of VCU Health after they say they learned there are no plans to vaccinate them for COVID-19 for at least 60-90 days.

In the letter, the students said they learned they were being pulled out of clinical duties for 60-90 days.

“At first, this was explained as a public health precaution in expectation of the third wave of COVID. However as the meeting continued it was revealed VCU Health System (VCUHS) is experiencing a recent rapid increase in employee COVID+ cases. We were also informed that there is no clear timeline for our vaccination,” the letter said.

While the CDC has classified medical students as essential personnel, the students said in the letter that " it appears that VCUHS disagrees, valuing employees who can telework and have no patient contact, over clinical students who are promised and expect patient interaction for their training.”

The students said they are concerned about their education and how that will impact their future patients.

“We, students at VCU School of Medicine (VCU SOM), chose to become physicians because we deeply care about the health of our community. Though students pay the cost of this decision initially, we know that ultimately those hurt most will be our future patients, and we cannot accept that,” the letter said.

A spokesperson for VCU health said they are aware of the students’ concerns and welcome their feedback regarding their education.

VCU Health released the following statement in response saying in part:

“We, too, want our students to return to the clinical environment for their training as soon as possible.

“We hope to get sufficient vaccines soon to include students who are on clinical training now, or able and willing to help in VCU Health System’s current and planned COVID response. In the interim, we are offering alternative learning experiences. Safety has been a guiding principle for decisions throughout this unprecedented pandemic.”

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