A coalition representing Canadian physicians and nurses is calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers in Canada.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) released a statement on August 3rd citing concerns over contagious COVID-19 variants and levelling off vaccination rates.

“As health providers, we have a fundamental duty of care towards our patients and the public. There is significant evidence that vaccines are safe and effective and as health professionals who are leading the vaccination campaigns, it [mandatory vaccines for nurses/physicians] is the right call and an appropriate step,” says Dr. Ann Collins, CMA president.

In a joint statement, the CMA and the CNA called on governments to implement measures that improve vaccine acceptance by supporting and addressing vaccine hesitancy and system barriers that they said is historically inequitable.

Their hope is that mandatory vaccination among health care workers will have higher rates of vaccination which will thus reduce the burden of COVID-19 and bolster ongoing pandemic management efforts.

On July 27th, BC’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, told the public that the majority of new COVID-19 cases were among those who were not fully-vaccinated — about 3% were people who were fully-vaccinated.

As of this publication, 81.5% of eligible people 12 and older in BC have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 67.9% have received their second dose.

According to a poll from Leger of 1,534 adult Canadians, 46% believe the worst of the pandemic is yet to come as Delta variant cases surge and restrictions become reinstated in some parts of the world and even in some parts of British Columbia.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tham, warned of a potential fourth wave last week.

“The trajectory will depend on an ongoing increase in fully vaccinated coverage and the timing, pace and extent of reopening,” Dr. Theresa Tam said Friday as she revealed new COVID-19 modelling.

“While some resurgence is expected as measures are eased, this updated model shows that if we maintain current levels of community-wide contacts, we would expect to see a modest increase in cases.”

On Wednesday afternoon, BC health officials reported 342 new cases, which is the highest number of new cases in a day since May 27th.

See also: BC health officials report 342 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, August 4th

Subscribe to the Victoria Buzz newsletter to receive the latest news, events and more directly to your inbox. Every day.