Canadian Medical Association

CMA physician survey also highlights concerns about availability of flu vaccine and physicians’ capacity to provide it, with demand exceeding supply

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is concerned about continued challenges physicians are experiencing accessing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) following results of the third membership survey since the pandemic started. 

The latest survey, conducted at the end of the summer, indicates that while there have been improvements in the supply and distribution of PPE, 54% of physicians continue to encounter challenges when trying to acquire it. 

“We continue to see outbreaks throughout the country and with resurgences of COVID-19 now before us, it’s imperative that governments ensure our front-line workers are protected, not only in hospital settings but also in community practice settings, as they form our first line of defence against this pandemic,” says Dr. Ann Collins, CMA president. 

Upcoming challenges

Physicians expressed further concerns in the survey about the availability of PPE and delays in delivery. In fact, 68% of respondents worry that suppliers will not have sufficient stocks of PPE, 62% expect orders to be delayed and more than half of respondents worry global demand will hinder Canada’s ability to secure a sufficient supply of PPE. 

Impact of upcoming influenza season

More than 86% of physicians who responded to the survey are concerned that the influenza season will put additional strain on the health care system. Of physicians who administer the flu vaccine in their practice, 85% indicated that the system needs to build additional capacity to accommodate increased demand for influenza vaccinations this year, with 50% saying they will not be able to secure enough vaccine doses to meet patient demand. 

“Immunization for influenza is more important than ever this year. We need to avoid a possible twin epidemic of flu and COVID-19 as it can be devastating to patients and our ability to sustain health care delivery,” adds Dr. Collins. “We need to focus on greater funding and resourcing of public health to support mass vaccination efforts.”

The survey was conducted between Aug. 19 and 24, 2020, by the CMA, with 1,459 physician members responding.

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