Vaccinations required for Health Journalism ’21; registration opens Thursday

About Andrew Smiley

Andrew Smiley is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, and an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism. Smiley comes to AHCJ from a sports broadcasting background, including nearly a decade at the Golf Channel/NBC Sports and a decade at ESPN, where he won an Emmy.

AHCJ Members,

We have been working hard to put the pieces together for our annual conference Oct. 28-31 in Austin, Texas, and registration for the conference will open July 15.

Our member survey made it clear that many of you are excited to get together in person for the annual conference, and you want to do so as safely as possible. To that end, and with the guidance of the board of directors, AHCJ will require in-person attendees, staff and all speakers to be vaccinated. Proof of vaccination will be required during the registration process.

We realize that some people cannot be vaccinated due to a medical or religious exemption. Members with such an exemption will be required to attest to their exemption during registration. Members with an exemption will also be required to wear a mask when indoors and participating in the conference program.

We also know that some may not yet be ready to travel and join us in person in Austin, so we are also offering a virtual attendance option. While we cannot offer every in-person session to a virtual audience, virtual attendees will be able to stream select sessions live and submit questions in real time to the moderators of those sessions. Virtual attendees will have on-demand access to recordings of select sessions. The virtual platform will also have interactive networking abilities, allowing you to connect with other virtual attendees, and a virtual exhibit area.

Our staff and board have been keeping a close eye on the Delta variant, and we continue to plan the conference with the utmost safety in mind for all attendees. We are working closely with the Austin Hilton on the best way to execute a safe conference, and you can find additional links and information on the conference homepage.

We will update our planning and safety protocols in the weeks and months ahead, utilizing the CDC’s public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people as our guide. Please check the conference page often for the latest conference planning and information. We will also continue to add session, workshop and field trip information to the conference homepage in the weeks to come.

We look forward to safely seeing those who can attend in Austin and to hosting a wonderful annual conference in late October.

5 thoughts on “Vaccinations required for Health Journalism ’21; registration opens Thursday

  1. Lynne Lederman

    What will you accept as proof of vaccination?
    I am in the Novavax trial and although they finally under pressure sent us a CDC card, it says “trial participant.” Based on phase 3 data reported it’s at least as effective as the RNA-based vaccines. And I know I responded because I took an antibody test. However, delays continue and there’s no way to know if it will ever receive EUA or approval. Many trial participants, particularly in the UK but also US, are dropping out of the trial to receive approved vaccines so they can travel. This will have a chilling effect on future trial participation, which, as I have reported on in the past, is particularly poor in the US.
    I realize this is a complicated, evolving situation. I just wanted to add something you might not have considered.

  2. Andrea Waner

    This is a great point, and one worthy of additional consideration. What makes documenting a vaccine received through a trial program so difficult is the blind nature of scientific studies. Noravax has begun to proactively distribute modified vaccination cards provided by the CDC to trial participants who received the active vaccine. AHCJ would consider these modified vaccine cards from Noravax as appropriate documentation for the purposes of the Health Journalism 2021 conference.

  3. Lynne Lederman

    Good to know you will accept the Novavax CDC card. Much of the phase 3 data from 2 Novavax trials are readily available, and have been for some time. I think the CDC card was issued in part because a lot of us on the trial had pushed the company as well as government agencies to recognize the phase 3 trial results. The response/lack thereof from various government officials has been interesting (as in, no response, boiler plate look how much I’ve done for my constituents since my election, please send a campaign contribution, and from the NIAID the rare thank you for your participation in the trial, we are trying to work with the CDC).
    Another reason people are dropping out of the trial, and not necessarily informing the clinical sites, is because their employment requires vaccination with EUA vaccine, which I realize is off-topic. However, it does affect some topics members report on–the difficulties in trial recruitment, vaccine (and drug development), and addressing inequities (the UK trial participants seem to be predominantly white; the US and Mexico trials met some of their diversity goals except older individuals, many of whom dropped out to receive EUA vaccines), among others.
    Also off-topic, but a possible story for someone, some of this information, and some crucial information I should have received from the trial site or vaccine company, I have instead discovered on a private social media site for trial participants. That site is just what you’d expect, as much misinformation, mansplaining, bullying, etc., as you’d expect among the facts.

  4. Dan Keller

    Ready, fire, aim? Annual conference registration opens today with only a skeleton program listed. When will the full program, including field trips, be posted? Unless one is going to the conference for the social aspects, camaraderie, the pitch fest, or to see Austin, there’s not much to go on for me to make a decision whether it would be worth attending. I don’t need to hear about IRS 990 forms again.

  5. Katherine Reed

    Hi, Dan! As you may have heard, there’s been some big turnover here at AHCJ with Jeff’s retirement and the heartbreaking loss of Pia. Meanwhile, we are pedaling as fast as we can as we offer fellowships, workshops, webinars and new blog content from our amazing core topic leaders every day. As the new education and content director, I promise you I am working with Jeff on the conference program, which I already know is going to excellent. I wish we were ready to post some panels, but it will just be a little while longer. Please be patient with us as we do our best to meet everyone’s expectations.

Leave a Reply