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IDF Mask & Vaccine Statement

September 7, 2021

Mask Statement

The Immune Deficiency Foundation Strongly Urges Universal Masking in Schools

The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) supports universal masking in school settings to protect all students, teachers, and staff, particularly those with primary immunodeficiency and other health conditions, against COVID-19. As schools across the country return to in-person learning amid the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, IDF supports the recommendations of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics that teachers, staff, children, and visitors at K-12 schools wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated.

Additionally, IDF opposes laws or regulations that prevent local school districts from implementing appropriate safety precautions they deem necessary to protect their communities. We urge states to provide all K-12 schools with the flexibility to protect students and staff during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As an organization representing individuals with primary immunodeficiencies, we have always advocated for accommodations to protect children who are uniquely susceptible to infections. While all districts should have remote learning alternatives available during the 2021-2022 academic year, in-person learning is important for children's academic and social development and emotional well-being, in-person learning should be accompanied by universal masking to protect all children, particularly those who are immunocompromised or have other health risks.

Until COVID-19 is no longer a serious threat, precautions like masking, social distancing, and vaccines for those who qualify to receive them remain critical tools for reducing infection and the spread of the viruses. Schools should have the authority to utilize these safety measures as we continue to battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccine Statement

The Immune Deficiency Foundation supports vaccine mandates (with medical exceptions) for in-person colleges, universities, and employers.

The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) has long supported the importance of vaccination and herd immunity to protect individuals with primary immunodeficiencies (PI).

As with all vaccines, many people with PI and other immunocompromising conditions may not be able to mount sufficient antibody response to the vaccine. As such, they rely on those with healthy immune systems to be vaccinated for communities to reach herd immunity and help protect those who are immunocompromised. In addition, those who have a lesser response may need to have an additional "booster" shot to receive the vaccines' full benefit.

Because of the serious health risks posed to our community, IDF supports institutions that make the decision to require vaccines for in-person learning or business and opposes any government action prohibiting businesses or institutions from imposing vaccine mandates for in-person activities.

In 2014, the IDF Medical Advisory Committee published an article in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in which it addressed the growing neglect of societal adherence to routine vaccinations and recommended "education about the critical need for maintenance of herd immunity in the population at large." Since that article was published, IDF has engaged in coalition advocacy at the state level to remove non-medical exemptions from vaccines required for children to enroll in school and has provided educational testimony on herd immunity before the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pension Committee (HELP). The position stated in this article and the purpose of IDF's vaccine advocacy apply equally to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Safe and effective vaccines to help protect individuals from serious illness and/or death related to COVID-19 have been developed at record speed, and here in the United States, we are fortunate to have full access to these vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended all individuals over the age of 12 receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine received final approval for individuals over the age of 16, and the equally safe and effective Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines maintain their emergency FDA approval status for those over 18 years old. It is unfortunate that vaccine hesitancy has continued to grow despite the strong scientific evidence of efficacy and safety.

IDF strongly urges everyone who is able to be vaccinated to do so. In addition, we urge anyone who is moderately or severely immunocompromised to consult with their doctor regarding getting an additional vaccine shot as recommended by the CDC.