Letter to decision makers: Canadians with cystic fibrosis need the COVID-19 vaccine now
Cystic Fibrosis Canada has sent the following urgent message in letters to Premiers and Provincial Health Ministers across Canada:
Dear Premier and Provincial Health Minister,
As the COVID-19 vaccination rollout plans continue to unfold, we ask that you ensure the people in your province diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) and their caregivers are vaccinated now.
SARS-CoV-2 is a novel virus and the long-term consequences post-infection are unknown. There is even a name for the condition of long-term symptoms “long-COVID-19” and there is emerging evidence that infections can cause heart, lung or brain damage in some patients. Given the heavy health burden that Canadians with cystic fibrosis and their caregivers already carry, it is imperative that they be sheltered from any additional risks caused by a SARS-CoV-2 infection. They must be vaccinated now.
Canadians living with cystic fibrosis and their caregivers desperately await their opportunity for vaccination. Our community is vulnerable and stressed given the risk they face. They need immediate protection. In April 2021, Cystic Fibrosis Canada co-authored a letter to the editor of the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, along with a coalition of cystic fibrosis organizations from over 20 countries, explaining why people with cystic fibrosis should be prioritized for the vaccine. Our governments need to provide all Canadians living with cystic fibrosis and their caregivers access to vaccines now.
It is not enough to simply bucket cystic fibrosis as another high priority chronic condition. Cystic fibrosis is a rare disease and needs to be clearly identified as a priority to avoid the confusion and mis-information that people in our community are facing when seeking vaccines. People diagnosed with cystic fibrosis cannot wait any longer. Please let us know when we can tell our community they can be vaccinated.
Dr. John Wallenburg
Chief Scientific Officer
Cystic Fibrosis Canada