After careful consideration, the AAFS Board of Directors (BOD) has decided not to require proof of a negative PCR test or vaccination for attendance at the 2023 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. The Board considered a variety of factors in making its decision, including (but not limited to): the stage of the pandemic (close to endemic), the less severe nature of most COVID infections at this point in the pandemic, the widespread availability of effective treatments for COVID (e.g., Paxlovid), the state and local rules/regulations at the venue hosting this Annual Meeting, and the impact a test and/or vaccination mandate may have on attendance, staff time commitment, and Academy resources. Additionally, the Board considered the fact that it cannot guarantee that hotel and conference facility staff servicing the event will be vaccinated or tested, which would lessen the positive impact of mandating vaccination or testing for attendees.
With regard to testing, the Board additionally looked to federal guidelines that have recently relaxed testing requirements for re-entry to the United States and that have never required testing to fly domestically.
Notwithstanding the Board's decision, according to the vast majority of medical experts, vaccination and subsequent boosters remain one of the best ways to protect against severe infections with COVID. Therefore, vaccination and boosters are strongly encouraged by the AAFS BOD for meeting attendees.
The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.