February 6th Update on COVID-19 Vaccination Roll Out

Dear Members,

We are writing to provide you with an update from our united Primary Care COVID-19 Vaccination Action Council (*PC-VAC). This 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.

New Resources:

  • The Ministry has provided a number of guidance documents describing common side effects following vaccination including an After Care sheet and Guidance for Health Care Workers.
  • We know that vaccine supply issues are an ongoing concern but phase 1 continues to roll out with the intent to accelerate the vaccination of long-term care, high-risk retirement, and First Nations elder care residents. Please click here to read the most up to date COVID-19 Vaccination Technical Briefing.
  • The OCFP has developed a resource for special populations and the recording for their most recent Community of Practice session on New Vaccines, building vaccine confidence and more from February 5, 2021 can be found here.
  • 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.

Patient Resources:

Other Information:

  • The updated prioritization framework for the population is being finalized for approval by the cabinet over the next few weeks and we will share the guidance document once it is received.
  • The COVID-19 Science Table released its lessons learned from Israel’s vaccine rollout, including: “leveraging primary care providers, including family doctors, nurse practitioners and other community-based clinicians who have established relationships with patients is key to promoting vaccine confidence, while increasing human resources required to administer vaccines as quickly as the supply will allow.”
  • The Ontario Hospital Association released a media statement calling for the need to migrate vaccination efforts away from hospitals to public health, primary care, and pharmacies.
  • We continue to work with public health to encourage all the public health units to engage primary care early, are supporting connections with local primary care leaders, and are soon releasing a practical guide to primary care partnership in vaccine rollout. Please ask your PHU for your region’s vaccine rollout strategy if you have not seen it and share with us so we can support best practices across the province.  
  • COVAXON is the provincial system to record COVID vaccination, adverse events and eventually also integrate the approved prioritization sequence.  
    • See ADM Memo to Primary Care - COVID-19 Vaccination and COVAXON, February 1, 2021.
    • The prioritization framework will be integrated into COVAXON and an associated scheduling system is planned that will enable patients to choose their preferred locations and make direct appointment bookings.
    • 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.  

To facilitate coordinated action in primary care, we are seeking to understand beliefs relating to the COVID-19 vaccine and what supports are needed for healthcare professionals in primary care. Please complete this new, very brief survey to help gain a better understanding of your perspectives and experience. Click here to access the survey.

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