ASTRO to require masks at October annual meeting

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The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) will require attendees at its annual in-person meeting in Chicago in October to wear masks and "self-attest" that they have either been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a negative test.

In an August 11 email to potential attendees, ASTRO noted that the group is instituting health and safety practices for ASTRO 2021 that "are evolving along with conditions." There are two main points in the new rules:

  • Attendees will be required to wear masks within the McCormick Place convention center, unless they are eating or presenting.
  • Attendees will be required to "self-attest" that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. If vaccination is not medically advisable, they will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test.

The advisory comes as concerns are rising about attendance at medical meetings in the summer and fall with the increase in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant of the virus. Both the AHRA and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) held in-person meetings this month, but attendance was reported to be down compared with previous editions of the meetings prior to the pandemic.

ASTRO 2021 is currently scheduled to be held in Chicago October 24-27; the group announced in July that it would be moving ahead with an in-person meeting.

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