The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is disappointed by the decisions of the Quebec and Ontario governments to not require mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of health care workers. Three months ago, we joined our colleagues at the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), in calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers who have a duty of care towards patients and the public.
We know that governments have not made these decisions lightly, having a dual responsibility for the safety and security of the health system. On one hand, there is a collective responsibility to protect those in our care and the public from COVID-19. On the other hand, the health system has been neglected for so long that the health, wellness and supply of health workers are at critically low levels. Governments are therefore unable to implement measures such as mandatory vaccines of health workers to prevent further transmission of the virus, especially to vulnerable patients, without the risk that the supply of these workers will be further diminished.
When governments are unable to adopt every health measure necessary to protect their populations during a pandemic because it will mean that current staffing shortages will worsen, it’s a mark of ongoing system failure. With early discussions of a fifth wave of the pandemic already underway, we need to bring solutions to this crisis now. And we, at the CMA, are ready to be part of the solution.
Dr. Katharine Smart, CMA President