In This Issue:
- Vaccinating in Primary Care
- Primary Care Community of Practice
- COVID@Home Monitoring for Primary Care
- Provincial Antigen Screening Program
- COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility EMR Searches
- COVID-19 Learning Opportunities
- New Resources
- Relevant Ministry Guidance Documents for Primary Care
We are writing to provide you with an update from our united Primary Care COVID-19 Vaccination Collaborative (PC-VAC*). March 26th key messages we shared with vaccine decision-makers can be found here.
The April 1st Update on COVID-19 Projections from the Science Table paints a very grim picture for the upcoming month. The third wave is here, and it is being driven by the Variants of Concern (VOC) where we are seeing younger Ontarians ending up in hospitals, with ICU beds at full capacity. The update also highlights that the vaccine rollout has not reached the highest risk communities where there are high rates of COVID-19.
The Primary Care Collaborative had an opportunity to speak about the rollout challenges at the Associate Minister’s Collaboration Table with a deliberate ask - please employ an equity lens NOW and make sure vaccines are going to those who need it the most, in the communities where they live. Ensure primary care is front and center in that rollout to get more #NeedlesInArms.
Vaccinating in Primary Care
Ontario is expanding pharmacy and primary care locations for COVID-19 vaccinations. Approximately 120,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been allocated to public health and primary care practices in the 34 regions. The clinics have already heard or will hear directly from their public health units about when to expect the vaccines in their practices.
We are currently working with government to ensure that all thirty-four public health units also allocate Moderna and other vaccines to primary care settings soon, learning from regions like Kingston, Frontenac, Lenox & Addington (KFLA) and Lambton where utilization of Moderna is part of the norm.
If you will be vaccinating in your clinic or are involved in future rollouts, please sign up for COVaxON training on the OntarioMD website. Training will be scheduled on an ongoing basis. OntarioMD is suggesting that each practice have one or more (depending on the size of practice) member of their staff trained on the ‘End to End Training’ module.
Primary Care Community of Practice
Ontario Health (OH) and your primary care associations have collected resources and lessons learned through a series of Community of Practice meetings with the primary care pilot participants. Please join the Primary Care Vaccination Pilot CoP online forum for resources. If you have trouble signing up for Quorum, please message firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
COVID@Home Monitoring for Primary Care
Ontario Health is providing tools and resources for COVID@Home to help primary care providers who wish to remotely monitor people who have mild to moderate COVID-19 in the community. For further guidance on the implementation of this initiative at a site level, please refer to the Ontario Health resource toolkit COVID@Home Monitoring for Primary Care, which includes clinical pathways as well as instructions for the use and proper handling in collecting and disinfecting the monitors for use by the next patient.
To request oxygen saturation monitors for the COVID@Home initiative, please complete the Oxygen Saturation Monitor Eligibility and Intake Form. Requests will then be reviewed for eligibility purposes by Ontario Health, prior to fulfilling requests. Please note that the Ministry of Health reserves the right to limit quantities as needed.
Provincial Antigen Screening Program
The Provincial Antigen Screening Program allows employers in priority settings to add an additional safety measure in high-risk and essential workplaces, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Through the program, rapid antigen point-of-care tests (POCTs) can be distributed to primary care settings to enhance existing routine screening measures for asymptomatic employees and other identified groups.
Rapid antigen POCTs may allow for workplaces to proactively identify cases of COVID-19 that may have otherwise been missed, supporting employee safety and business continuity in a variety of workplaces. In addition, primary care practices are also eligible to access the diagnostic point-of-care rapid testing with ID Now that can be used to diagnose COVID-19 in symptomatic patients. Please click here for more information or contact Heather Nichol if you have any questions.
COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility EMR Searches
The eHealth Centre of Excellence has updated the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility EMR Searches for Telus PSS EMR. The COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility EMR Searches version 2.0 was built to service Phase 2 in the Ontario COVID-19 vaccination plan. You can find more information on this phase here, and can download the latest tool version here.
If you are interested in further training or a review of the upgraded version, you can schedule a Coaching Session to answer any questions. All Coaching Sessions are free of charge and are accredited by CFPC for Mainpro+ CPD credits.
COVID-19 Learning Opportunities
Updated COVID-19 vaccination e-learning series
- The COVID-19 vaccination e-learning series has been updated with a new module called “Emerging Topics”. The new module includes information on the impact of variants on vaccination, transmission post-vaccination, the four-month dosing interval, and the latest information about AstraZeneca and VIPIT. It is free to access following a short registration here.
The COVID-19 Vaccine: Building vaccine confidence in the Black community, evolving guidance, and more
The next Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) Community of Practice will be on Friday, April 9, 2021 at 8:00-9:00am (ET). They will be continuing our discussion on COVID-19 vaccines, this time focusing on building vaccine confidence in the Black community. As usual, the panelists will also be speaking about the latest changes in guidance and policy and answering the questions you have. Register here.
- COVID-19 Resources for International Agricultural Workers are available by the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers.
- For patients concerned about NACI’s recommended pause of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine in those under age 55, see this new information from the Centre for Effective Practice. The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table has produced this Science Brief on Vaccine-Induced Prothrombotic Immune Thrombocytopenia (VIPIT) from AZ vaccination. Other clinical resources on their site include this evidence-based tool to support your decision making about COVID-19 treatment.
- OCFP has updated their COVID Vaccine FAQ for answers to the top questions from members and the public as well as their Vaccination for Special Populations document.
- The CEP has also developed this information on the maximum 16-week interval time between vaccine doses. Ontario just shortened the interval time between vaccine doses for transplant recipients and certain cancer patients.
- On the CTV News Segment on March 31st, Dr. Allan Grill was featured on an Ask A Doctor segment about AstraZeneca, vaccinating children and postponing the second dose - click here to watch the clip.
Relevant Ministry Guidance Documents for Primary Care:
Below are the reference and guidance documents developed by the Ministry of Health that are relevant to primary care for your reference.
Vaccine Prioritization Resources:
- Guidance for Prioritizing Health Care Workers for COVID-19 Vaccination
- Phase 2 Prioritization for COVID-19 Vaccination
Health Care Provider Education Documents:
- COVID-19 Vaccine Approval Process and Safety
- About COVID-19 Vaccines
- COVID-19 Vaccine Availability and Rollout
- COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sheet
- Extension of the Second Dose Interval Memo
General Immunization Documents for Patients:
- What you need to know about your COVID-19 vaccine appointment
- After Your COVID-19 Vaccine
- COVID-19 What you need to know V2.0
General Immunization Documents for Immunizers and Vaccine Clinics:
- COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Operations Planning Checklist
- Vaccine Storage and Handling Guidance- Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines
- Administration of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
- Administration of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
- Administration of AstraZeneca COVID-19/COVISHIELD Vaccine
- COVID-19 Vaccination Recommendations for Special Populations
- COVID-19 Vaccination: Allergy Form
Consent for COVID-19 Vaccination Documents:
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 Collaborative Partners
- 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