Family physicians to offer COVID-19 vaccine
Family physicians at 10 clinics in Alberta will begin offering COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible patients on Monday, April 19 as part of a “proof of concept” to test new processes and procedures ahead of a scheduled province-wide rollout in May.
Two community clinics in each of the five health zones will provide up to 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine to patients who have not yet been vaccinated.
More than 280 clinics across the province submitted an Expression of Interest to offer in-clinic vaccination. Ten clinics, representing a cross-section of small, medium and large clinics in both rural and urban areas, have been selected to test the most effective ways to transport, book and administer the vaccine.
The pilot is a joint initiative between the Alberta Medical Association, Primary Care Network physician leaders and Alberta Health.
“Family physicians are extremely well positioned to help Albertans receive their COVID-19 vaccination,” said Dr. Ernst Greyvenstein, a Calgary family physician and the PCN Physician Lead for the Calgary Zone. “The longstanding, trusting relationship many Albertans enjoy with their family physician and health-care team plays a critical role in helping them make important decisions about their health. For most Albertans, getting a COVID-19 immunization is the right choice.”
COVID-19 vaccination in Alberta is currently available through pharmacies and Alberta Health Services clinics. Keen to support Alberta’s efforts to offer vaccination to all eligible Albertans, more than 1,500 doctors submitted over 700 Expressions of Interest to either work in AHS “rapid flow” vaccination sites or to offer vaccination in community clinics.
During the pilot, participating clinics will offer appointments to existing patients who are currently eligible for vaccinations. The vaccine will be administered according to existing guidelines. Appointments will not be offered to the general public.
“Through Alberta PCNs, family physicians and their teams have played a critical role on the front line in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Greyvenstein. “During wave one and two of the pandemic, up to 97 per cent of all COVID-19-positive patients received care in the community, keeping patients out of hospital and freeing up valuable resources for those who need it most.”
Based on lessons learned from this pilot, it is hoped the program will expand to include additional clinics as early as May. More details will be released shortly.