About the CFMSThe CFMS is an organization representing over 8,000 medical students from 15 Canadian medical student societies from coast to coast. We represent medical students to the public, to the federal government, and to national and international medical organizations.
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on healthcare worldwide . For medical students in Canada, this has included significant disruptions to in-person clinical learning, ranging from months-long pauses to clinical clerkship (clinical rotations of medical school), decreased clinical volume and hands-on learning, and increased barriers to preparing for career selection.
The overall COVID-19 vaccine administration strategies from the federal, provincial, and territorial governments have prioritized healthcare providers, given their high risk of exposure and potential transmission to vulnerable patients. The Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) strongly supports the inclusion of medical students as part of this priority group for COVID-19 vaccination. Transmission and exposure of COVID-19 is dependent on proximity and time. Clinical clerks are actively engaged in supervised delivery of care throughout the healthcare system, including in acute care and critical care settings. Furthermore, they spend large amounts of time providing care directly to immunocompromised and elderly patients. Clerkship requires that medical students migrate between various healthcare spaces and settings as often as every two weeks, increasing the risk of COVID-19 spread in healthcare institutions.
Medical students also have the ability to provide much-needed support in the large-scale administration of vaccinations across the country over the next year. Many students across the country have extensive vaccine administration training and experience, and have been at the frontlines of flu vaccine administration each year. Medical students are eager to assist with COVID-19 vaccination clinics across the country to ensure our national vaccine rollout strategy is timely and efficient. Active participation in COVID-19 vaccination clinics will help alleviate the human resource constraints facing hospitals, while offering valuable training opportunities for our future frontline healthcare providers.
Lastly, medical students are an essential part of the pipeline that trains physicians who will service the medical needs of Canadians. Without receiving the vaccine, students are constantly faced with the risk of further disruption not only to their ability to provide front-line care, but also to their progression towards becoming fully-fledged physicians serving communities in need of physician resources. In-person, hands-on clinical learning cannot be replaced by remote learning, and we must work together to ensure that medical students are able to continue to advance in their education during the pandemic to become the healthcare providers of tomorrow.
For further information, please contact: Henry Li, CFMS President, at [email protected]