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HICPAC Meeting Talking Points

The primarily goal of our participation in this week’s HICPAC meeting is to respond to their proposed health- and life-threatening policy with both expert and public commentary. Their proposed policy seeks to weaken patient and provider protections in healthcare including by advocating surgical masks for diseases that require N95 respirators and disregarding other science-based precautions.

Key talking points for the HICPAC meeting include:

  • Guidelines should recognize that adopting effective prevention measures has important implications for the health of patients and healthcare workers. There is no room for compromise on safety, any more than laxity in providing any medical care is tolerated. 
  •  Guidelines should be based on the precautionary principle, which emphasizes the need for policy makers to prioritize risk reduction. Unlike individual decision-making, policy decisions have wide-ranging impacts on society, necessitating a greater emphasis on minimizing potential risks for many people. 
  •  Development of infection control guidelines should include experts across disciplines studying airborne transmission.
  • Development of infection control guidelines should involve those who are most at risk including patients and healthcare workers and their representative organizations.
  • Guidelines should fully adopt established science of airborne transmission and its prevention. This includes using effective masking including N95 respirators, elastomeric respirators, and PAPRs. There is no justification for adopting non-airborne precautions for airborne pathogens. 
  • Guidelines should include comprehensive measures including ventilation and HEPA air purification, masking, testing, and minimizing unnecessary sharing of air of those who might be infected with those who are susceptible.
  •  It is appropriate to communicate personal experiences in engaging with the healthcare system and the risk of infection to point to the need for high levels of safety and that those who are at risk should be participating in the policy making process.
  • NNU has put together some important talking points
  • The comments that were made at the June HICPAC meeting also carry some important messages and illustrate the process that is likely to occur. Note that the August 22 meeting is fully on zoom: 
Last reviewed on August 21, 2023

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