Two groups representing Canadian doctors and nurses have banded together to call on the country to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for health workers.
The Canadian Medical Association and Canadian Nurses Association released a statement Tuesday that said requiring vaccines for workers who deal with patients is an essential move as immunization rates level off and Delta-driven case counts increase.
“As health providers, we have a fundamental duty of care towards our patients and the public,” said Dr. Ann Collins, CMA president. “There is significant evidence that vaccines are safe and effective and as health professionals who are leading the vaccination campaigns, it is the right call and an appropriate step.”
The organizations framed mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a necessary measure to protect patients and control overall infection rates.
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No Canadian province has made vaccines mandatory for doctors, nurses, or other healthcare staff yet.
Ontario has made vaccination policies for long-term care staff mandatory, where staff who aren’t yet vaccinated need to complete an education seminar. Vaccination is not a requirement for continued employment.
In BC, care home staff who aren’t vaccinated must get tested regularly and wear a mask at all times while working. But immunization against COVID-19 is not mandatory.
Meanwhile, other countries around the world have taken a tougher approach. Italy was the first country in the world to make vaccines compulsory for health workers. In France and Greece, health workers who aren’t vaccinated by September risk not getting paid.
The call for mandatory vaccines for health workers from national bodies representing doctors and nurses follows calls from Ontario-specific organizations last month.