Newswise — CHICAGO – With the first round of COVID-19 vaccines being deployed to states across the country, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) advises that anesthesia professionals, and other frontline health care workers, be prioritized to receive early access to the COVID-19 vaccination given their high risk of exposure to the virus in operating rooms, labor and delivery suites, procedural areas, emergency rooms and critical care units.

“Physician anesthesiologists and members of the anesthesia care team routinely perform aerosol-generating airway procedures and provide direct beside care to patients throughout the hospital – placing them at increased risk,” said ASA President Beverly K. Philip, M.D., FACA, FASA. “After those who are at greatest risk of serious illness are vaccinated, it is essential that early access to vaccination be given to anesthesia professionals and other frontline health care workers so that patients continue to receive the care they need, when they need it.”

A statement released by ASA states the society advocates for early access to vaccination for frontline health care professionals who regularly provide direct bedside care for all patients, especially those patients who are known or are suspected to be infected with COVID-19. These health care professionals are essential to keep health care resources and personnel available to address all forms of acute illnesses, the statement reads.

“We applaud the work that has been done in this short period of time to get a vaccine to people around the globe and here in the U.S.,” said Dr. Philip.  “We must now make sure that early access to vaccination is prioritized in a way that best maintains patients’ access to care.  Physician anesthesiologists, and the other health care professionals with whom they work, should be offered early access to vaccination, concurrent with other health care professionals at comparable exposure risk.  Additionally, priority should be given to all involved health care professionals in geographic regions at heightened risk of outbreaks.”

Read the full statement:

THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 54,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Like ASA on Facebook and follow ASALifeline on Twitter.


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