SMA disappointed in Moe’s stance on removal of health measures

The SMA is asking the province to make COVID vaccinations mandatory for all health care workers.

Physicians expressed their disappointment with the premier’s recent statements on vaccines, vaccinations and the possible removal of some public health measures on Tuesday.

Dr. Eben Strydom, president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), released a statement saying the province’s physicians were alarmed at Premier Scott Moe’s statements in a press conference on Monday, and in a letter issued over the weekend.

(Physicians) are imploring this government to stay the course to mitigate the impact of the highly contagious Omicron variant,” Strydom’s statement reads.

Moe penned a letter this past weekend casting doubt on whether the vaccine go stop the spread of the omicron variant. On Monday, Moe reiterated the government’s intention to imminently lift the proof of vaccination system since vaccines only helped prevent severe reactions, not slow the spread.

Strydom said the premier’s views do not reflect those of experts in the medical community.

The premier’s statements continue to ignore the advice of medical experts at a time when COVID-19. hospitalizations have reached their highest levels since the start of the pandemic,” he said.

It shows no empathy for the thousands of healthcare workers who are bearing the unrelenting weight of caring for such high volumes of COVID-19 patients, and the impact that has on other health services.”

Strydom also said Moe’s letter couldn’t have come at a worse time, with COVID-related hospitalizations reaching 370 on Tuesday.

Everyone should be doing all we can to drive that number down, to prevent further spread of the Omicron variant, to keep people as safe as possible, and to prevent further stress on an already overly strained health-care system,” he explained.

Instead, Strydom wants the government to keep focusing on reducing the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. He wants the government to send a consistent and accurate message about the effectiveness of vaccines, and acknowledge that people who are unvaccinated are far more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than the fully vaccinated.

The province t should promote booster shots for every eligible citizen too, he added, since evidence has shown this third dose is about 60 per cent effective against symptomatic infection and around 90 per cent effective in reducing the severity of illness. Proof of vaccination protocols should be maintained as these measures provide a degree of safety for people as they go about their daily lives, Strydom added.

The SMA said the government should only begin to consider lifting measures when there are steady declines in COVID cases and wastewater transmission data, when hospitalizations fall into the low double digits, and ICUs have fewer than 10 COVID-19 patients.

It is too soon to loosen, or remove, public health measures,” Dr. Strydom said.

Why take that chance now? Why further strain the health care system and those who work in it, after all that we have been through? Rather than picking an arbitrary date for changing public health measures, the government should use clear goals and targets as the triggers. Physicians expect and citizens deserve government decisions be based on sound medical science, not personal preference or political expediency.”

The premier doubled down on the government’s intention to lift proof of vaccination and negative test requirements on Monday. Moe said during a press conference that vaccines have been effective at reducing the severity of the omicron COVID variant, but not the speed of the spread.

Moe cited that as the primary reason why the government will announce later this week plans to roll back mandatory vaccine or negative rapid test public health orders.

The bottom line of all of this is that vaccines do work, but they are no longer working at preventing transmission in this wave of COVID-19 like they previously did in the Delta Wave, at which they were quite effective,” Moe told reporters on Monday.

That is why the proof of vaccination or proof of negative test requirement that we have in Saskatchewan will very soon come to an end.”

Moe said recent protests across the country showed Canadians wanted to return to normal. He added that many Sask. Party MLAs have heard the same thing when speaking with their constituents, and the government needed to start listening.