We are writing to provide you with an update from our united Primary Care COVID-19 Vaccination Collaborative (PC-VAC*). This week’s key messages that we shared with vaccine decision-makers can be found here.
The projections from the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table and Modelling Consensus update on COVID-19 Table on March 11 suggests that vaccination in long-term care has paid off but progress has otherwise stalled. There are increasing concerns about variants of concern (VOC) that are spreading across Ontario and our behaviour over the next few weeks will determine what our summer will look like.
However, given that VOCs make up nearly half of the confirmed cases being reported and there has been an increase in ICU numbers trending up, the Ontario Hospital Association and the Science Advisory Table have indicated that Ontario has entered a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- An initial rollout saw the AZ vaccine administered through select primary care settings and pharmacies. PHUs in the following 6 regions liaised with local primary care clinics to administer 29,500 doses of AZ as of Saturday, March 13: Peterborough Country City Health Unit, City of Hamilton Health Unit, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health Unit, Peel Regional Health Unit, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, and City of Toronto Health Unit.
- The NACI recommendation on the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been updated to include use in those 65 years of age and older. Listen to an interview with Dr. Allan Grill on CTV News addressing specific questions around the AZ vaccines, variants and the third wave.
- The Ministry launched its Provincial Booking System for COVID-19 vaccines (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/) as well as a Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488, open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Ontario is expanding vaccination online booking to those 75 and older and expanding AstraZeneca pilot to those 60 and older as of Monday, March 22.
- There has been an update to the COVID-19: Guidance for Prioritizing Health Care Workers for COVID-19 Vaccination.
- The Indigenous Primary Health Care Council presents Wise Practices for COVID Vaccinators on March 23, 1 to 2 p.m., on providing vaccinations to on-reserve First Nations or Indigenous populations in urban settings.
Primary Care Vaccination Pilot Community of Practice:
Together with Ontario Health (OH), the primary care associations have formed a Community of Practice to support those involved in vaccinations in these regions. Initially the CoP will include those participating in the pilot and will scale as other PHUs are included. If you are currently participating in the pilot and would like to join the CoP, you can register for the upcoming series of connecting calls here weekly Thursdays from 8 am to 9 am.
OntarioMD will be providing additional training and onboarding on COVaxON (the vaccine registration system) for clinical providers, initially focused on those who are directly involved in vaccine pilots, including support for technical questions that arise throughout the process. You can register for training directly. A Clinical Workflow Training recording is also available.
If you are beginning to participate in vaccine administration with your PHU and are not yet connected, below are OMD contacts by existing pilot site:
- Peterborough County City Health Unit, Julie Latreille - Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org
- City of Hamilton Health Unit, Jay Kettle - Jay.email@example.com
- Wellington Dufferin Guelph Health Unit, Jay Kettle - Jay.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Peel Regional Health Unit, David Fearn - David.email@example.com
- Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, David Fearn - David.firstname.lastname@example.org
- City of Toronto Health Unit, David Fearn - David.email@example.com
COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility EMR Searches
Version 1.0 of COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility EMR Searches are now available, created by the eHealth Centre of Excellence. This work is based on the Vulnerable populations and COVID-19 resource published by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and informed by the COVID-19: Vaccines Resource developed by the Centre for Effective Practice (CEP).
It aims to equip Primary Care with resources for your EMR which will enable you to identify and prioritize ambulatory patients from within your roster who are in greatest need of the COVID-19 Vaccination to avoid negative healthcare outcomes. Version 1.0 of the searches are all available to download right now from our Community site for all three EMRs.
IMPORTANT: The Province of Ontario has announced the focus for Phase Two of Ontario's vaccination distribution plan. The list of eligible health conditions provided in this announcement does not align with the Version 1.0 searches currently released by the eHealth Centre of Excellence. Their team is hard at work putting together Version 2.0 of our COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility EMR Searches which will align with the health conditions listed in the Province’s announcement.
COVID-19 Vaccination in Canada: an educational series for primary care professionals
“COVID-19 vaccination in Canada” is now certified for up to 1 Mainpro+® credits. This self-learning series from DFCM and the Ontario College of Family Physicians is designed to provide primary care professionals with the knowledge and skills to support Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination effort. Added is a new module on viral vector vaccines that includes extensive information on the AstraZeneca vaccine and available information on the Janssen vaccine. There is also updated content throughout the series including on the vaccine rollout, dosing interval and more. To learn more and to register please click here.
The next COVID-19 Community of Practice for Ontario Family Physicians is on Friday, March 26th from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and will include dialogue with some of the family physicians involved in the AZ pilot sites. Click here to register. Previous COVID-19 Community of Practice sessions can be found here.
- The Ministry has just released Extension of the Second Dose Interval Key Messages this evening.
- Vaccine tools and resources have been updated and are posted to the Ministry’s website. Highlights of changes are captured within documents, and new documents include information for AstraZeneca and COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccine.
- The Ministry has also released an updated document on AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine and Thromboembolic events.
- The Ministry has also developed 911 Fact Sheets for foreign workers and are available in English, French, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Filipino (Tagalog), Thai, and Vietnamese. Click here for copies of all the fact sheets.
- The OCFP has compiled answers to the top questions from members and the public. Topics include the delayed second dose and vaccinated people gathering.
- Updated letter to patients that you can modify and share in your practice, with the latest vaccine information, as well as this script about safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
- The CEP has developed this one-page vaccine comparison table and a vaccine aftercare one-pager for patients. They have also developed a patient information sheet on the Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines that can be found here.
- Practical “toolkits” for vaccination: a Toronto Region Vaccine Human Resource Strategy with tips on models, roles, sources and training; and the COVID-19 Immunization Toolkit for clinics.
- This infographic created by Ottawa’s Dr. Anna Wilkinson summarizes cancer patients and COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, and Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) has prepared these clinician-focused FAQs and answers.
- The Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health developed a decision aid for pregnant and breastfeeding women considering the vaccine.
Finally, the OMA has relaunched its burnout survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on physician burnout. Physicians are invited to complete this 5-7 minute 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 Collaborative:
- 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