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.
There are several updates this week:
- The delays reported from Pfizer seem likely to affect availability of vaccination of community-based primary care providers over the next month, but it remains a goal to ensure all healthcare workers are vaccinated by the end of March.
- We heard from Public Health that the rate-limiting step is currently vaccine supply, and there are currently no first doses available for healthcare workers.
- Second doses are available for those that have had their first doses but may be delayed up to 42 days to prioritize LTC/RH residents.
Collaborating with Others:
- Each public health unit has developed a regional vaccination plan that was sent to the Ministry on January 20th. Some public health units have shared their playbooks with their partners, and we will be requesting that all 34 units share them in their regions. If you have a copy of your region’s vaccination plans, please feel to share with us and we will share with our partners.
- Each Public Health Unit (PHU) will have different needs that you may have an opportunity to support in the months ahead. We will share approaches and actively help to spread best practices across regions.
- While we are working collaboratively at the Provincial level with a variety of partners including public health, we have recognized that an instrumental component to enabling an efficient and equitable vaccination process across regions will be establishing relationships and networks at the regional level, inclusive of all healthcare professionals that will be part of the process.
- We are working with public health to formalize primary care leads in each of the 34 PHUs to enable communication channels and to support public health in their engagement of primary care. Primary care professionals willing to get engaged will be able to work with their PHU.
- The OHA shared with us that many hospitals are reaching capacity and are concerned about critical care bed occupancy. They are working to determine innovative solutions around transferring people amongst hospitals.
- The OHA acknowledged that there has been some frustration around who is receiving vaccinations and are committed to working with community physicians/primary care to figure out how to vaccinate efficiently and effectively.
- As a reminder, the Guidance for Prioritizing Health Care Workers for COVID-19 Vaccination has been released. The associations have sent a letter requesting further clarity on some elements of the guidance.
- Watch for a communication about COVAX in the coming days on how to register for this system and the associated guidance.
- 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 OCFP and the University of Toronto DFCM hosted a Community of Practice today on The COVID-19 vaccine: sharing best practices and answering your questions which was very informative. They also have an updated resource list and will be hosting another Update on COVID-19 Vaccines on Friday, February 5th.
- NEJM has developed a FAQ on COVID-19 Vaccines. The Centre for Effective Practice has resources to understand the science behind the vaccines and build skills in counseling patients on vaccine confidence.
- Communicating with your patients/clients on the vaccines: see sample letter from OCFP and another sample letter you can edit from the PC-VAC. You may also like to share these short patient education videos from Dr. David Kaplan, dispelling some of the myths and misinformation with Dr. Sean Blaine and infographics for your patients from the Waterloo School of Pharmacy.
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 us better understand 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