Manitoba doctors want part in COVID-19 immunization
Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Halifax on Jan. 11, 2021. (Andrew Vaughan-Pool / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
WINNIPEG -- A new survey released Monday by Doctors Manitoba shows physicians want to help out with COVID-19 vaccinations.
Over 500 doctors responded to the survey and it found, 49 per cent are interested in lending a hand at vaccination super-sites or with mobile immunization teams.
"Our survey confirms physicians overwhelmingly support these new COVID vaccines and we see them as a way out of this pandemic," said Dr. Cory Baillie, President of Doctors Manitoba in a news release.
"We all owe it to Manitobans, who have endured through very difficult times, to get the vaccine to them as quickly as possible so we can get back to a normal way of living. Manitoba's physicians can help in several ways to ensure our province is a leader when it comes to this unprecedented immunization challenge."
Using the survey results and advice from a panel made up of physicians and specialists, Doctors Manitoba has also put together five recommendations for the province regarding the immunization program.
The first is to accept the help from physicians. Doctors Manitoba says over 110 doctors have already offered to help vaccinate.
Secondly, doctors would like Manitoba to publish a complete eligibility list showing all priority groups in order of eligibility. Doctors Manitoba said in the release that this has been done in other jurisdictions, and the way the province is doing daily changes leaves too much confusion about who may be next.
Recommendation number three, is to have doctors help identify Manitobans who should be immunized first. This was included because doctors are in the ‘best position’ to point out patients who may be at an increased risk.
Start planning now for allowing the vaccine to be administered in doctors’ offices is the fourth on the list. The survey found 82 per cent of family physicians are interested in doing this and even though there are some complications with rolling in-clinic vaccinations, a detailed plan will mean community clinics are ready for when the time and supply comes.
The fifth ask is to partner with physicians to help address vaccine hesitancy. Doctors Manitoba said patients have a relationship with their doctors and physicians want more information on the vaccines to be able to answer questions patients ask.
Doctors Manitoba is a group that advocates for physicians in Manitoba. It has nearly 3,000 members.
The group is meeting with the province about vaccination and the role doctors could have.
"Nobody wants to see vaccine doses left in storage rather than in Manitobans’ arms," added Baillie. "Whether that's because there aren't enough immunizers, or because Manitobans are hesitant about these new vaccines, physicians can play a stronger role to support a safe and swift immunization rollout."