Veterinarians as COVID-19 Vaccinators

Submitted by the American Veterinary Medical Association

The AVMA has been working hard for the past few months, as veterinarians have been increasingly discussed as needing to be among those able to assist in efforts to vaccinate people against COVID, to have veterinarians specifically included in the declarations under the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act), which authorizes the HHS Secretary to issue emergency public health declarations and provides limited immunity from liability to those covered under the act.

As of March 12, 2021, veterinarians and veterinary students are included in the PREP Act:

· It allows veterinarians who are licensed to practice under the law of any state to administer COVID vaccines in any jurisdiction in association with a COVID vaccination effort by a state, local, tribal, or territorial authority or by an institution in which the COVID vaccine is administered.

·        This also applies to veterinarians who have held an active license or certification under the law of any state within the last five years which is inactive, expired or lapsed, as well as veterinary students with appropriate training in administering vaccines. The intent is to include recently retired veterinarians who may want to help.

·        Today’s amendment preempts any state law that would otherwise prohibit veterinarians or veterinary students who are a “qualified person” under the PREP Act from prescribing, dispensing, or administering COVID vaccines or other covered COVID countermeasures.

·        Veterinarians and veterinary students will be afforded liability protections in accordance with the PREP Act and the terms of the amendment. However, specific conditions must be met in order for the authorization to administer the vaccines and the liability protections to apply. These liability protections apply from March 11, 2021, through October 1, 2024.

·        In order for the authorization and liability protections to apply, veterinarians and veterinary students must be participating in association with a COVID vaccination effort by a state, local, tribal, or territorial authority, or by an institution in which the COVID vaccine is administered. Additional specific requirements also must be met, such as having basic certification in CPR, completing the CDC COVID vaccination modules, an observation period, etc. There is a separate section of the declaration that applies to those in the uniformed services and for federal employees, contractors and volunteers when authorized to administer COVID vaccine.

·        While the liability outlined in the PREP Act is broad, it does not apply to willful misconduct, and the federal government does not provide a legal defense in the event that you are sued. Your state may have separate liability protections, along with separate requirements to qualify, and may or may not provide a legal defense. Veterinary malpractice will not likely respond to claims arising from a veterinarian intentionally vaccinating people against COVID.

More information on vaccination volunteer requirements

Sign up for Hawaii’s volunteer Medical Reserve Corps here

PREP Fact Sheet that Includes Veterinarians as Qualified Health Professionals

Conservation Medicine Spotlight: Avian Translocations with Pacific Rim Conservation

by Adrien Pesque, DVM

Pacific Rim Conservation, a nonprofit organization, has the mission of maintaining and restoring native bird diversity, populations, and ecosystems in Hawaii and the Pacific Region. In an effort to combat the threats to seabird populations including climate change and non-native predators (feral cats, pigs, rats, etc), chicks are translocated to predator proof fenced refuges on the main Hawaiian islands where they will fledge and return to breed. On Oahu, black-footed albatross, Bonin petrel, and Tristram’s storm-petrel chicks were translocated from Midway and Tern Island to James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge. On Kauai, endangered Hawaiian petrels and Newell’s shearwater face similar threats of habitat degradation and non-native predators, but also collisions with power lines and structures exacerbated by light attraction. Individuals of these two species were translocated from the Kauai mountaintops to a predator proof fenced area within the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. These new breeding colonies will provide a safe haven for new generations to come. 

Dr. Adrien Pesqué, the staff wildlife veterinarian, joined the team this year and created a mobile veterinary clinic to oversee the health of the chicks. Clinical cases included avian pox lesions, osteomyelitis of the beak, a non-healing corneal ulcer, and aspiration pneumonia secondary to gastric foreign bodies. Plastics and fishing material in the GI tract were present in our chicks and continue to cause life threatening problems for ocean wildlife. 

Dr. Suzanne Pluskat, the staff wildlife veterinarian stationed on Midway Atoll, worked with partners to ensure the safety of the endangered Laysan duck for the anticipated rodent eradication on the island. Laysan duck cases involved pododermatitis, complicated corneal ulcers, femoral fracture repair and physical therapy. During the “construction season” (July-September when there are no albatross), many white tern chicks and the first ever black noddy chick were salvaged and fledged successfully.  

Pacific Rim Conservation partners with multiple government and non-profit groups to make this work possible. To learn more about these translocations and other research projects, please visit www.pacificrimconservation.org

What to do when marine wildlife need help?

Submitted by Michelle Barbieri, DVM


There are lots of ways that you can help Hawaii’s marine wildlife, both as an individual and if your clinic gets calls or inquiries. It may be completely normal for an animal (such as a green sea turtle or Hawaiian monk seal) to rest on the beach, but those sightings are informative even if the animal is safe and healthy. You can encourage clients to report sightings or concerns by calling the state-wide Marine Animal Stranding and Reporting Hotline at (888) 256-9840. This menu-based hotline will divert calls to the island- and wildlife-specific point of contact, and if the call comes in after hours, it will be checked first thing the next day, so always leave contact information for follow up questions. This is the best go-to contact number to keep at the front desk of your clinic or stored in your phone.

Many species (especially sea turtles and marine mammals) are protected by law. That means that even if you are a licensed, practicing, and well-intentioned veterinarian, conducting medical procedures on them requires specialized permits and expertise, so it should always be done by appropriately trained and permitted stranding response personnel. If your clinic gets a call about a marine animal in need, it is best to refer them directly to the Stranding Hotline for assistance. Please do not attempt to treat an animal yourself.

It is also important to give wildlife a safe distance, avoid approaching, touching, or otherwise disturbing them because rest is important to their biology, and they can be a danger to your safety. You can also help by advising clients to keep pet cats indoors, which will reduce the risk of disease spread, namely toxoplasmosis.

Between Jan-July 2020, 18 monk seal pups were born in the main Hawaiian Islands: 5 on Oʻahu, 11 on Molokaʻi, and 1 each on Kaua‘i and Hawaiʻi Island. Encountering female seals that are nursing their pups is a situation in which it is important to be especially cautious, as these seals in particular can be aggressive.

The Fishing Around Seals and Turtles program provides guidelines on how to fish safely around these animals and what to do if a fisherman accidentally hooks one while fishing. Again, if someone contacts you about an entangled or hooked animal please refer them to the stranding hotline.

If you suspect illegal or suspicious activity, it can be reported to: (a) the Hawaii DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources (DOCARE) hotline at (808) 643-DLNR, or preferably on the DLNRTip App for your mobile device; or (b) NOAA Office of Law Enforcement Hotline (800) 853-1964. The Stranding Hotline links to DOCARE as well.

For additional information contact: RespectWildlife@noaa.gov
For immediate assistance or to report marine wildlife emergencies call: 1-888-256-9840
If you are interested in having electronic materials with this information that you can print and post at your clinic, please contact Dr. Michelle Barbieri.

AVMF Extends Disaster Relief to Hawaii Veterinarians

AVMF Disaster Relief and Reimbursement Grants

 The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) provides two grant programs to help veterinarians and the animals they care for during times of disaster. Grants are available to support victims of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, wildfires or oil spills.

 Disaster Reimbursement Grants for Veterinary Medical Care

Purpose: The AVMF disaster reimbursement grants are for the purpose of ensuring the emergency veterinary medical care of animal victims of disaster.

 Awards: Up to $5,000 may be issued per grantee for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by veterinarians providing emergency veterinary medical care to animal victims of disasters.  AVMF reimburses for the actual cost of medical supplies purchased directly from a vendor. Modest boarding costs may also be covered. 

Disaster Relief Grant for Veterinarians

Purpose: The AVMF disaster relief grants are for the purpose of assisting veterinarians who have experienced an emergency need for basic necessities due to a disaster. The grants would cover items such as clothing, temporary housing, transportation and meals that were needed immediately following a disaster.

 Awards: Up to $2,000 may be issued per grantee for out-of-pocket expenses incurred immediately following a disaster. AVMF reimburses for the actual cost of items purchased directly from a vendor. Modest housing costs may be covered for emergency temporary shelter.

 Application Procedure

The applications are posted on the AVMF website. Applicants should follow the online directions for submitting the application and the expense chart. Limited funds are currently available and approved on a first come, first served basis.

Deadline:  Applications must be received no later than 120 days following the disaster.

 More Information: Please contact Cheri Kowal, Senior Manager, Programs and Operations, 847-285-6691 or CKowal@AVMA.org

Open Nominations 2018

HVMA Board Member Elections 2018

President-Elect
Vice President
Secretary
Treasurer
Hawaii County Representatives (2)
Maui County Representative (1)
Executive Vice-President

More information about board positions may be found in our bylaws. You may also contact the nominating committee or any current board member if you have further questions.

Please submit your nominations to nominating_committee@hawaiivetmed.org by September 1, 2018.

Elections will be held at 1 pm on Saturday November 10, 2018 during our HVMA 65th Annual Meeting at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel.