We are writing to provide you with an update from our united Primary Care COVID-19 Vaccination Action Council (*PC-VAC). Last week’s key messages that we shared with vaccine decision-makers can be found here.
We are mindful that the news regarding vaccines is evolving daily, and we will have to continue to be prepared for changes and uncertainties in the coming months as a sector. Along with our partners in primary care, we are committed to sharing regular updates, usually weekly, except on weeks where there are no significant new developments to share.
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Health released updated sequencing of Phase One priority populations for vaccination which sets out the provincial direction for the vaccination program over the coming weeks.
Engaging Primary Care in Vaccine Rollout – a Practical Guide for Public Health
- The primary care associations have collaborated with public health, hospital, and health sector leaders in creating a practical guide to engaging primary care in local COVID-19 vaccine rollout. We are sharing the guide with you to inform, validate, and support your existing primary care engagement strategy.
- Public health leadership is committed to strong primary care partnerships in all phases and in all regions. These relationships are key enablers of an effective, efficient, and equitable rollout.
- To ensure successful partnership with primary care, 1) invite primary care professionals and teams in planning and co-design, 2) involve them in feedback and rollout, and 3) inform them of local opportunities, uncertainties, and changes.
- The enclosed partnership checklist can inform and validate existing strategies from health leaders involved in local COVID-19 vaccine planning in engaging primary care.
Collaborating with Others:
- Over the last two weeks, the collaborative of primary care organizations met with General (retired) Rick Hillier, Chair, COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Taskforce, who emphasized the importance of an ongoing partnership with primary care provincially and locally.
- We were pleased to see the addition of Dr. Kieran Moore, the Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, join the Ontario Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force. Dr. Moore is a passionate advocate for public health, and as a trained family physician he will ensure that the primary care voice is added to the conversation. PC-VAC is now meeting weekly with Dr. Moore, in addition to Dr. Isaac Bogoch, to provide updates on issues arising from the field.
- Health and primary care leaders from throughout the country led a virtual roundtable with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. During the roundtable, the Prime Minister and other participants affirmed what we know to be true: family doctors and primary care professionals are “most knowledgeable and most trusted” and “a core part of getting everyone vaccinated.”
- Listen to the Evan Solomon Show speak to Dr. Isaac Bogoch about the importance of family physicians and primary care providers in the COVID vaccine rollout. Leveraging the existing relationships primary care has with their patients, based in trust, will accelerate vaccination in the community.
- As we had mentioned in our last update, the Ministry of Health has introduced an electronic central repository to input the vaccine information for individuals and manage site inventory called COVAXON. This web-based application will allow for ease in checking people in for their vaccination appointment, capture the consent and personal data information, as well as which health unit region they are in and their vaccination clinic site. While clinics will be required to submit names of the staff (along with user names and email addresses) to request access to the system, the mechanism to apply is not yet finalized however we will advise once we know the information. Please note however that once you get an email from the system, you must reply within 24 hours in order to complete the authentication process.
- Access for primary care users will fall within phase two and three of the vaccine rollout and training webinars will be available prior to the on-boarding schedule to ensure that everyone is prepared. While it likely won't be fully integrated into your EMR, we understand COVAXON system will be able to send reports of your vaccinated patients to your EMR.
- More on COVAXON will be shared when it becomes available.
- The Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine-Relevant Information and Planning Resources has a number of guidance and tools, including scripts for providers in the Pre-Screening Assessment Tool, Screening and Consent Form, and Allergy Form. Other resources:
- COVID-19 Vaccines Fact Sheet
- CMOH medical directive (watermark draft)
- Script, COVID-19 Vaccination Recommendations for special populations, documentation of attestation, and allergy referral form
- List of Allergists and Allergy E-consult Service
- PHU contact list
- Guidance for Prioritizing Health Care Workers for COVID-19 Vaccination has been updated.
- The COVID-19 worker and employee screening tool has been updated to further align with current advice and direction.
- The COVID-19 signage questions to support the new requirement for signage to be posted at all entrances for passive screening before entering a business or organization.
- The Centre for Effective Practice is continually updating resources around COVID-19 and vaccines. New or updated sections include Types of COVID-19 vaccines and What we know regarding variants. Content to support the anticipated approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine is under development.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada has developed a COVID-19 Vaccination Tool Kit for Health Care Providers which provides a lot of great information about the various vaccines, an overview of vaccine safety and guidance on how to manage vaccination clinics. PHAC has also developed sample social media messages and images you can use in your clinics and vaccines, including a separate toolkit for the Indigenous communities.
- The OHA has developed a video recording to explain the science underlying the two major COVID vaccines and timing of their dosage.
- The Black COVID-19 Task Force and TAIBU Community Health Centre is hosting a series of Saturday webinars to address vaccine confidence. Recording of past webinars are also available.
- Maad'ookiing Mshkiki - Sharing Medicine is an Indigenous-led project knowledge-sharing and communications hub to provide community-centred, trauma-informed resources to empower informed decision-making for Indigenous Peoples on whether or not to vaccinate. The first round of materials are now available here.
- BEworks is hosting a launch event for its report “COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: A Behavioural Lens on a Critical Problem”. On Feb. 24 they will showcase what organizations can do to support the vaccination efforts using strategies grounded in behavioural science, joined by Dr. Jia Hu, 19toZero and Dr. Noah Ivers, Women’s College Hospital.
Reminder of resources from previous weeks
- The OCFP has developed a resource for special populations.
- Multilingual “Vaccine Bulletin: What you need to know” are available in Bangla, English, French, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, Somali, Tamil & Traditional Chinese.
- A COVID-19 – Allergy/Immunology BASE™ Managed Specialty Group is now available through Ontario eConsult. Physicians and nurse practitioners can ask COVID-19 vaccine allergy related clinical questions to Allergy and Clinical Immunology specialists electronically and receive a response within days.
- The Indigenous Primary Health Care Council is developing a toolkit that Indigenous-led organizations can use to plan for vaccination. If you are involved in vaccine distribution meetings, please share this checklist developed by the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council to ensure that your planning efforts are inclusive and meet the needs of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples living in your community.
- The CMPA has released guidance on addressing medical-legal concerns from the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.
We look forward to continually updating you on the provincial vaccination strategy. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or ideas.
Yours in good health,
The AFHTO Team
*Ontario Primary Care COVID-19 Vaccination Action Council:
- Alliance for Healthier Communities
- Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario
- Indigenous Primary Health Care Council
- Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic Association/Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario
- Ontario College of Family Physicians
- Ontario Medical Association Section on General and Family Practice
- Ontario’s Academic Chairs of Family Medicine