Like everyone in Canada, we are encouraged to see Health Canada approve a COVID-19 vaccine today. The fact that we’ve reached this stage in less than a year is remarkable, and we commend the scientific community on this milestone.
Vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe, effective and the best way to protect people against serious infectious diseases. The assessment of scientific and clinical evidence is stringent and provides assurance that the vaccine is safe for Canadians.
The successful rollout of the vaccine will be crucial. Governments at all levels must work collaboratively to implement a COVID-19 immunization strategy that ensures rapid and equitable distribution of the vaccine. The priority, as recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), should be those that are most at risk of severe illness as well as those that would be most exposed because of their work.
The CMA intends to play a key role to promote vaccine acceptance and to support physicians in their conversation with patients on the benefits of vaccination. We know immunization programs have saved more lives than any other health intervention and the COVID-19 vaccine will provide the much-needed protection against the virus.
We all want to return to normal as quickly as possible, but this will take time and today’s news does not signal the end of COVID-19. We encourage vigilance and strict adherence of public health measures, now more than ever, to contain the virus and limit the spread.
Dr. Ann Collins
President, Canadian Medical Association