The Canadian Medical Association has made an urgent call for “extraordinary measures” to save lives in provinces facing unprecedented growth in COVID-19 infections, but Nova Scotia is rejecting the group’s demand to stop individual distribution of Ian Rank’s vaccine.
In a news release on Friday, CMA President Dr. Ann Collins of Fredericton said, “We have an important opportunity where a genuine national approach to combating COVID-19 will more or less make a difference between saving lives.”
Among other measures, he called on the central government to redistribute the vaccines to the most needed areas, rather than continuously distributing the vaccines to the provinces on the basis of population.
“We act as a nation when there is a crisis with wildfires, floods and other tragedies,” Collins said. “The epidemic has reached a new level and needs a national response.”
The situation could change quickly, says Rankin
Rankin said Friday that his government was opposed to changing the model and endangering the province’s efforts to bring in COVID-19.
“We have done the work, we have sacrificed, we have followed the regulations, there are still types of anxiety across the country,” he said. “We need to make sure we see that.
“Things can change very quickly in this province. We are working very hard to prevent the third wave, but we need to make sure the vaccine rolls and the way we build it are constantly monitored.”
At a COVID-19 conference later in the day, Rankin suggested that having a Nova Scotia stock vaccine would have a lesser impact on larger provinces.
“If we reverse the proportion of our vaccines, it would be a drop in the bucket for a province the size of Ontario,” Rankin said.
Opposition leaders weigh in
That sentiment was echoed by official opposition leader Tim Houston.
“Look over there [are] A lot of places in the country are fighting, of course, but I agree with the Prime Minister that the Nova Scots did this job and made the sacrifices, ”the PC leader said.
NDP leader Gary Burrell put forward a different view, however, suggesting that helping to control the spread of COVID-19 elsewhere in Canada would be a boon for Nova Scots.
“We have to admit that in Nova Scotia we have no effective path beyond the epidemic, which does not involve addressing and stopping the rapid development of events in other provinces,” he said.
‘This is a crisis,’ doctors told N.S.
Doctors Nova Scotia, the doctors’ speaking organization and those trained to be doctors in the province, were blindsided by the CMA’s call for action.
Kevin Chapman, director of partnerships and innovations, said the group was “digging” to find out more from the national organization, but this was not unexpected in light of the outbreak of new Govt-19 cases, especially in Ontario and Quebec.
“I hope that as a nation we can work together as a nation to support each other,” Chapman said.
Whether vaccines should be distributed differently or if there are important maintenance staff in Nova Scotia, they are best for public health officials and hospital operators. Medical personnel in severely affected areas are being stretched to the maximum, he said.
“Without anyone’s fault, COVID rates have gone up, people are really there, they are dying,” Chapman said.
“This is a crisis, and our heart goes out to the health care providers and citizens who are enduring this terrible epidemic.”
Dr. Robert Strong, Chief Medical Officer of Health at Nova Scotia, said the provinces have agreements to help each other, and no province has formally asked for Nova Scotia’s help.
He said the province’s largest hospital currently does not have the capacity to accept patients outside of Nova Scotia.
“In the discussions I had within the department, our health system was packed,” he said. “Halifax Hospital is at full capacity.”