News: Discussions with government; vaccination policy

August 24, 2021

Dr. Paul Boucher, AMA President

Dear Members:
 
I am writing to let you know about two decisions reached at a special meeting of the Board of Directors held on August 19. 

  • The AMA will table a proposal with government
  • The AMA calls for mandatory vaccination for health care workers

 Discussions with government

On August 11, I advised members that government has requested a detailed proposal to identify the specific changes we would like to see to make the Tentative Agreement Package (voted down in March) acceptable to members. This includes the areas of relationship, budget management and dispute resolution. A Negotiations Committee has been appointed to provide advice and support.

The Board of Directors reviewed a proposed approach at our meeting. We were joined by physician leaders with whom the Board has been meeting for months: 

  • AMA Compensation Committee Co-chairs
  • AMHSP Council Co-chairs
  • cARP Working Group Co-chairs
  • Council of Zonal Leaders
  • Joint Task Force Co-chairs
  • Physician Compensation Advisory Committee representatives
  • Specialty Care Alliance Co-chairs
  • Section of Family Medicine President
  • Section of Rural Medicine President

The Board agreed that the AMA should table a proposal with government according to the approach presented. Everything we are doing is informed by the feedback that members have provided since the TAP and the approach is laid out in the discussion paper Where We’re Going, distributed with the August 11 President’s Letter. If you have not had the opportunity to review the paper, I strongly encourage you to do so. This is part of the Board’s commitment to keeping the membership up to date on the progress and direction of government discussions.
 
The discussions around the proposal will guide us to learn if a return to negotiations is possible. Meetings with government are scheduled for the end of this week.

Vaccination policy

The debate around advancing COVID vaccination continues. The AMA has taken a stance throughout the pandemic for strong public health measures and this includes vaccination. The Board believes that continued leadership is important. Accordingly, we are making a public call for mandatory vaccination of all health care workers.
 
As we look back on the outbreaks experienced in health care settings and face the prospect of a fourth wave with more contagious variants, mandatory vaccination of health care workers is essential. It will help protect our patients, staff and colleagues. We are joined in this approach with groups such as the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Nurses Association, Ontario Medical Association, New Brunswick Medical Society, Doctors Nova Scotia and Doctors Manitoba.
 
I realize that many aspects of the pandemic have been polarizing and that not all our members will agree with this stance. The Board and I felt that we should lend our voice to this important issue as vaccination remains our most effective tool to keep our vulnerable patients safe and our best path out of the pandemic.
 
We will keep the Representative Forum and the membership informed. Please let me know if you have any comments or concerns.
 
Thank you.
 
Your comments are welcome in the following ways:

  • Communicate with me privately and directly by email if you would like a reply: president@albertadoctors.org 
  • Comment publicly on this President’s Letter on the AMA website (please be aware that comments are public, i.e., not members-only, even if you are logged in as a member).

Sincerely,
 
Paul E. Boucher, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

14 comments

Commenting on this page is closed.

  • #1

    Martin Koebel

    Physician

    10:51 AM on August 24, 2021

    On which scientific basis (risk/benefit ratio analysis) does the AMA ground their call for mandatory vaccination, which is not required in the opinion of the Alberta Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hinshaw?

    This call violates basic principles of EDI namely diversity and inclusion.

  • #2

    Jon Osborne

    Physician

    11:02 AM on August 24, 2021

    I fully support mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for health work subject to programs easing vaccination access similar to those seen for influenza vaccines (ie. mobile vaccinations in hospital, vaccine availability onsite).

  • #3

    Noel Corser

    Physician

    12:16 PM on August 24, 2021

    One thing I've often wondered is what "actual" effect a recommendation/decision for mandatory vaccination has on vaccination rates? While I'm fully in favour of vaccination as a safe and highly effective way to deal with something like Covid-19, I wonder what percentage of health-care workers who've (so far) chosen NOT to get vaccinated would change their minds because it's mandated, and what percentage would be MORE inclined to dig in their heels on this issue (like the proverbial donkey)? I also wonder whether carrots or sticks might be more helpful in dealing with such donkeys?

    If this move isn't actually about health-care donkeys (since the AMA is unable to prevent any of them from working if unvaccinated), but rather the public sheep who might be watching, might it be prudent to think ahead to how those sheep, if inclined to dig in their heels themselves, will react when the stick starts flying?

    But perhaps I'm naive, and significant numbers of donkeys, and sheep, are simply on the proverbial fence, and would happily jump down onto the vaccination side if they were told they had to.

  • #4

    Elena

    Other health care professional

    4:44 PM on August 24, 2021

    In response to Noel Corser [comment #3]

    I would quit my job ……and I know others will too ….

  • #5

    Bob Smith

    Member of the public

    8:54 PM on August 24, 2021

    Mandatory vaccinations for all healthcare workers seems a little heavy handed. Perhaps for workers involved with high risk patients, whom then are given the opportunity to change their job if they choose the freedom to decline the vaccine.

  • #6

    Johannes Botha

    Physician

    9:33 PM on August 24, 2021

    We in the AMA accept and honour all skin colour, religion, political views, sexual orientations, race, choice to abort or not, individual choice to take chemo therapy or radiation, Medical assistance in dying, and many other forms of equality - BUT our representing body has just created a BIG divide between its members by getting politically manipulated to take a stance like this above staying neutral and objective to all its members and their believes about this very important and sensitive matter. Your decision is certainly NOT representative of all the members’ views, concerns and fear for retaliation. I will always be available for care to all my patients regardless colour, religion, sexual orientation and whether they got the immune modifying gene therapy injection against Covid or not! I am certainly for a true live virus vaccine. I beg the AMA to withdraw their stated opinion and guide all of its members properly on a neutral basis to fulfill its mandate as our body where we can seek help, support and advice on managing our patients without political interference. I would like to see our AMA provide us with a list of human rights lawyers to our patients and us physicians and represent ALL of us physicians equally especially with the predicted upcoming breakdown of our human rights and our claim to “ NOT INFLICT HARM to our patients! Mr. President you should know exactly what the right thing is to do!

  • #7

    Kevin Hay

    Physician

    8:48 AM on August 25, 2021

    "The AMA calls for mandatory vaccination for health care workers." (as posted on Twitter)

    This motion is FLAWED. It does not specific whether it pertains to COVID19 alone, or is in reference to every vaccination possible.

    This issue is of such importance a properly worded motion should be put to the profession by referendum.

    (and YES, I had my COVID vaccine as soon as offered!)

  • #8

    j

    Physician

    11:10 AM on August 25, 2021

    As with any medical intervention, there are risks and benefits with vaccination, and it should be left up to individuals undertaking the risks to decide if the supposed benefits are worth the potential risks to themselves.

    It is becoming clear that vaccinated individuals can also be potential carriers of the delta variant and infect others - with the same viral loads as the unvaccinated people with delta variants. This could explain the concerning surges in the covid case numbers in the post-vaccination countries as asymptomatic carriers can potentially infect numerous others without realizing they are infected.

    Given that fact, there are no clear public health benefits to the forced vaccination of health care workers or the public. Each individual may choose to be vaccinated believing the potential individual benefits outweigh the risks to themselves, but no one should be forced to undertake personal risks for hypothetical unproven benefits to others. It's unethical and illegal.

    [Link redacted]

  • #9

    Col

    Other health care professional

    2:25 PM on August 27, 2021

    Excellent! Thank you AMA for being in lockstep with the other authoritarian medical tyrants.

    Federal government has ordered 293 mRNA doses so far, allowing for 7 doses per Canadian.

    How many doses will be enough for your members?

  • #10

    Col

    Member of the public

    2:34 PM on August 27, 2021

    Dear Moderator,
    How many posts that don't support your tyranny are you censoring?

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