Dear WSAAI Members & Friends,
I am writing today to inform you that the 2021 WSAAI Annual Scientific Meeting has been postponed to March 14-18, 2021. Obviously, the COVID-19 Pandemic has fundamentally affected the practice of Allergy & Immunology, from our clinical experiences to attending conferences, most of which have been cancelled or delayed over the last several months.
Several warning signs have prompted the WSAAI Board to take this action. The State of Hawaii is still under a 14-day self-quarantine order through the end of July, which would effectively shut down any attempt to have the type of conference we have become accustomed to. It would not be surprising that such an order would be extended if continued spikes in COVID-19 cases continue. We also have no clue as to whether this pandemic will continue into next fall and winter. Finally, the average age of our members is 59 years old and many will have risk factors making COVID-19 especially concerning.
As we saw them, our options were as follows:
- Proceed with the January dates and hope for the best. Social distancing regulations may limit the number of attendees, and thus the number of rooms that the hotel would make available.
- Delay the meeting until March 14-18, 2021 with no penalty
- Cancel the meeting before Nov 23, 2020 (60 days out). Loss incurred will be significant.
- Cancel the meeting later than Nov 23, 2020. Loss incurred will be somewhat higher (10-15% more) than if done earlier.
- Move the meeting to the Mainland. This requires #3 or #4 and is still no guarantee that COVID-19 will not affect that meeting nor whether attendees will even want to show up.
The Board felt that none of these options were particularly good except for No. 2, where we could buy some more time in the hope this pandemic would pass or a vaccine would become available. While the meeting is now a little closer to the Academy’s annual session, it’s still on the early side for pollen season. Accordingly, the Board of Directors has voted delayed the conference to March 14-18, 2021.
This does not mean that we will have the exact same conference experience as previous years. We could still have forms of social distancing thrust upon us. An ongoing pandemic at that time may still force a cancellation. In the end, the safety of our members is our highest priority.
Our speakers have been gracious in terms of adjusting their schedules. The feedback from the major pharma partners has also been positive thus far. Fingers crossed, I look forward to seeing you all again on the Big Island and we will do everything we can to still produce a quality conference worthy of the WSAAI’s special culture and rich history. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
All the Best,
Matthew S. Bowdish, MD, FACAAI, FAAAAI
President, Western Society of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (WSAAI)
The purposes for which the WSAAI is organized is: For scientific and educational purposes; to unite the qualified allergists, nurses and physician assistants in a representative organization for the promotion, improvement, and advancement of allergy; to study the scientific, economic, social, educational and political aspects of medicine in order to secure and maintain the highest standard of practice in allergy, and to propose and recommend necessary changes in existing or contemplated medical programs; to perpetuate the best traditions of medicine and medical ethics.
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2020 Video Archives Now Available!
Attendees from the 2020 meeting can now watch the video archives. Attendees and members have access to this content once you log into your account.
2020 Video Archives Now Available!
Attendees from the 2020 meeting can now watch the video archives.