How do we treat the unvaccinated? CMA opens dialogue as health systems overwhelmed

The head of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) says it’s time our country have a direct and honest conversation about how we treat unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.

This comes as the latest wave, fuelled by the Omicron variant, overwhelms health-care systems again.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are not getting the care they need because of the strain, according to CMA President Dr. Katherine Smart.

“As a society, we have made a decision to allocate resources disproportionately to this group of Canadians at the expense of other Canadians, including children who are now not able to attend school. And I think we’re sort of acting like it’s not a choice, but it is a choice,” she told the Big Story Podcast.

“We’re also seeing Canadians lose their lives because they’re not able to access the health care they need because of the system overwhelmed with COVID.”

She stresses she never wants to talk about not providing full care to patients, but believes serious discussions are needed as hospitals, doctors, and nurses reach a breaking point.

Smart says we’ve been led to this critical point by the decision of a relatively small group of people.

“We have this small minority — about five to 10 per cent of the population — that are leading us to where we are right now, and I think we need to get serious about what we’re going to do about that,” Smart added.

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Case numbers have spiked across Canada over the past several weeks, with hospitals also seeing rising numbers of patients with the virus admitted.

The rapidly spreading variant has forced many jurisdictions to delay certain hospital procedures that are deemed “non-urgent.”

More than 77 per cent of Canadians have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine.

You can listen to the full interview with Dr. Katherine Smart on the Big Story Podcast.

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