Updated COVID-19 and VOSH Humanitarian Clinics Advice

VOSH/International held another consultation with its US Chapters about the feasibility and timing to restart our humanitarian clinics. The COVID-19 pandemic is being experienced quite differently across the world and with the emergence and the spread of new variants such as omicron, different degrees of vaccination success and the availability and reliability of data in several countries: planning is challenging.

Most VOSH chapters are not travelling or holding international clinics in 2022. There is still concern about the wellbeing of our volunteers and patients. Some chapters, are organizing clinics locally where they are better able to comply with the existing safety requirements and respective US state regulations.

If a VOSH Chapter choses to hold a clinic or travel internationally, we highly recommend that the chapter performs due diligence to comply fully with the requirements established by the visited country, ensures all VOSH volunteers are aware of and follow strict safety guidelines and all existing protocols and regulations of the country, and keeps the principle of “do no harm” embedded in all its decision making. As always, the wellbeing and safety for VOSH volunteers and our patients is of utmost importance and central to any decision-making process. Our updated clinic guidelines include good practices to be observed in this new context. You can download VOSH/International clinic guidelines here.

*VOSH/International is formed by autonomous US and international chapters that are fully and only responsible for their activities, fundraising and decision-making. VOSH/International can only provide recommendations based on our best knowledge and information at the time.

Please keep checking the following sites with official and most recent updates:

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

US CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/when-to-delay-travel.html

US Government Travel Advice: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID- 19-Country-Specific-Information.html

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to improving vision and eye health throughout the world.

Michael Ciszek, OD, FVI, Diplomate ABO President, VOSH/International
January 2022