The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is calling on governments, industry and society to apply and embrace new and stronger measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus and its variants. In addition to recently announced stronger measures in various jurisdictions, these and new actions are essential to prevent further, needless tragedy. The third wave has gained momentum while continually changing rules have contributed to confusion and relaxed adherence. Facing the new variants requires a new approach to regain control.
“Canadians are facing continually changing rules and measures, which is making it confusing and frustrating. It’s time to apply what we know and address these new variants with the same aggressiveness they are displaying,” says Dr. Ann Collins, CMA president. Facing the new variants requires a new and coordinated approach to regain control.”
The CMA is therefore calling for the following actions:
- Increase strong sustained public health measures, including lockdowns: CMA supports the latest actions across the country to increase response measures. Governments should focus on regaining control before considering lifting any of the measures prematurely and deliver all necessary supports to ensure individuals and businesses can withstand lockdowns
- Accelerate the vaccine rollout across the country: Vaccine deployment needs to outpace the transmission of the variants and increased efforts must be made to improve the pace of vaccination, especially in communities where the daily COVID-19 counts are rising at unprecedented levels.
- Increase the involvement of primary care professionals in the vaccine rollout: Primary care professionals, including family physicians, have a trusted relationship with their patients. This relationship should be an asset in addressing vaccine hesitancy as well as coordinating vaccine efforts, especially in instances where technology or mobility can be an issue.
- Prioritize vaccination for essential workers as soon as possible: Essential workers are playing a vital role to ensure that Canadians continue to have access to their basic needs such as groceries or public transit. Each day, they go to work and face the increased risks of the new variants.
- Support for essential workers: While there are some programs available, more must be done to support and protect essential workers and their families, including paid sick leave, personal protective equipment, mental health support, and other initiatives that promote safety and income security. We call on all governments to ensure paid sick leave, and where governments have not provided this essential coverage, private industry can and must step up.