Idea of making COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for health-care workers is gaining momentum
For months, Maritimers have been lining up to get their shot of COVID-19 vaccine, making an individual decision to go out and get their dose. However, for health-care workers on the front-lines of the fight against the virus, the question of whether they should have to get it is gaining momentum.
Two major medical groups in the country, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the Canadian Nurses Association, have both come out with a call to make vaccines mandatory for health care workers.
"With the Delta variant and sort of the changing landscape heading into fall, we felt it was really important to come out strongly that we felt mandatory vaccinations is the way to move forward," says incoming president of the CMA Dr. Katharine Smart.
"We've heard quite clearly from the public that they have that expectation of safety when seeking health care, and we feel the best way to ensure that is by ensuring all people who provide health care are vaccinated for COVID-19."
It's an idea that has the backing of the New Brunswick Medical Society as well, especially as concerns grow over the possibility of a fourth wave coming this fall.
"I would say the feedback I'm hearing is the fear doctors have about the impending impact of the variant, and the impact of those who are unvaccinated," says CEO Anthony Knight.
When it comes to the legality of this, Halifax-based privacy lawyer David Fraser says it requires an individual look at each workplace and each circumstance and to ask the question 'is it reasonable in the circumstances?'"
"You need to look at that particular workplace, need to look at the risk to themselves, the risk to others, their coworkers and others in the premises," says Fraser.
"And I would fall down on the same side … saying yes, all front line health care workers should be vaccinated."