RSNA to require vaccination proof at 2021 annual meeting

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Attendees and exhibitors at the upcoming RSNA 2021 annual meeting in Chicago will be required to demonstrate proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, the society announced on August 12.

All meeting attendees and exhibitors will have to show proof of vaccination before the meeting or on admittance to McCormick Place, where the conference is scheduled to be held November 28 to December 2. What's more, all attendees will be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces.

The RSNA will provide additional details in coming weeks, according to a statement attributed to RSNA president Dr. Mary Mahoney.

"There is strong consensus among healthcare experts that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective in reducing the chance of serious illness or death resulting from the disease," she said.

RSNA 2020 was held on a virtual basis only due to the COVID-19 pandemic, just one of a number of medical meetings that were canceled or went virtual last year. The national rollout of vaccines for COVID-19 had raised hopes that the regular conference calendar could resume this summer; indeed, two medical meetings have already been held in person, by AHRA and by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

But COVID-19's resurgence across the U.S. -- as well as relatively sparse attendance at the AHRA and HIMSS shows -- has raised questions about whether additional meetings will take place for the remainder of the year. In response, medical societies with upcoming conferences on the calendar have been releasing the steps they have been taking to maintain attendee safety.

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), for example, announced this week that it would require masks at its annual meeting, scheduled for Chicago from October 24-27. The group also said attendees would have to "self-attest" that they had either been vaccinated or had received a negative COVID-19 test.

Another medical group in diagnostic medicine, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), said this week that it would require proof of vaccination or a negative SARS-CoV-2 antigen test for attendees at its meeting, scheduled for Atlanta from September 26-30.

The RSNA noted that unvaccinated individuals will be able to participate in the meeting remotely via its streaming option. The RSNA will offer 100% of eligible meeting programming on an on-demand basis, the society noted.

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