WINNIPEG - Two advocacy organizations for doctors and nurses across Canada say vaccination against COVID-19 should be made mandatory for all health care staff.
The Canadian Nurses Association and Canadian Medical Association say variants of COVID-19, and slowdown in the rate of vaccinations across Canada, are reasons to implement mandatory vaccination of health care workers. In a joint statement, the two associations say vaccination against the virus is “an additional measure to protect patients, the health workforce, and health care system capacity.” They’re calling on all levels of government and employers need to take action to reduce barriers to vaccine access, noting that variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are far more contagious.
Health officials say the majority of new COVID-19 cases have been among unvaccinated people. The CMA and CNA are urging Manitobans to bring any questions or concerns they may have to a trusted health care professional and make arrangements to get fully immunized.
Health care workers in Canada were among the first groups to be offered vaccines against COVID-19 in efforts across the country to prevent outbreaks at hospitals and clinics. Mandatory vaccinations in health care settings aren't unprecedented. Staff have been required to be immunized against infections like tetanus and hepatitis B. But some workplaces, such as personal care homes, have left vaccination up to the professional judgment of staff members. Administrators have cited the Personal Health Information Act, as well as a 2019 union agreement in B.C. that struck down flu vaccine requirements, as reasons for not making vaccination mandatory.
All health care workers in France, Greece, and Italy are already required to get vaccinated against the virus as Delta variant cases continue to rise.