The Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) is a member of HEAL, Organizations for Health Action, and officially supports HEAL’s Position Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination of Healthcare Workers.
As psychiatrists, we recognize that many of the patients we care for are at heightened risk of COVID-19 infection due to poverty, homelessness, or living in congregate settings. Due to symptoms of their illnesses, patients with psychiatric diagnoses may not be able to properly adhere to public health guidelines such as physical distancing, handwashing, mask-wearing or restricting their contacts with others. Further, any psychiatric diagnosis may be an independent risk factor for infection (Wang et al, 2021).
It is also imperative that psychiatrists keep themselves healthy so that they can continue to provide services for patients. Finally, psychiatrists are often the primary source of health information for their patients. Psychiatrists have the duty and obligation to ensure that patients are provided with fact-based information on the benefits of vaccination and the very small risk of side effects.
1. Wang QQ, Xu R, Volkow ND. Increased risk of COVID-19 infection and mortality in people with mental disorders: analysis from electronic health records in the United States. World Psychiatry. 2001;20(1):124-130. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7675495/.