Phase 2 of BC’s vaccination plan starts in March and includes anyone 80 years old and over, as well as Indigenous seniors 65 and over. While there are still no concrete details on how these patients can book their vaccination appointments, the General Practice Service Committee of BC (GPSC) has released some suggestions that family physicians can use to make sure their teams are prepared.
How to prepare for Phase 2:
1. Create a list of Patients
Create a list of your patients who fall into the two eligible categories (80 and over and Indigenous seniors 65 and over). This will help you project how many patients may be getting the vaccine.
2. Prepare Vaccine Information/Message
Once the government and/or your health authority provides details on how these patients can book their appointments, you’re going to have to reach out to them and let them know the next steps. You should start preparing this message now so you can provide valuable information to your patients so they can make an informed decision. Let them know why they should get the vaccine and why you personally (as their doctor) think they should get it – along with any resources that you think might be helpful.
A recent survey shows that over 90% of patients look to their doctors and other health care professionals as the most trustworthy source of information. Your reassurance that the vaccines are safe and effective can help alleviate any concerns and give patients confidence to get the vaccine. This is why the GPSC recommends pre-planning the message you’re going to send to patients. Try to emphasize the following points:
-The COVID-19 vaccines can protect you from getting sick
-Millions of people have been immunized with very mild side effects
-The vaccine will not give you COVID-19
-The vaccine will help your body to fight COVID-19
-The quicker we vaccinate the population, the quicker we can have our normal lives back!
The exact timing of when Phase 2 of BC’s vaccination plan comes into effect depends largely on how many supplies are available. Taking the time to prepare your office for how many patients you can expect, and putting together valuable information on why these patients should get the vaccine, will help make sure there are no delays/hiccups when people in these groups are allowed to register/book appointments.
- Vaccination information for doctors and patients is available on the Doctors of BC COVID-19 resource page. Watch for updates that will include fact sheets and Qs and As to share with your patients to address questions about safety, possible adverse reactions, and effectiveness of the vaccines. You can also refer patients to the Doctors of BC patient Qs and As.
- More information on how the process will work can be found on the Immunize BC Question and Answer page – look for the response under the first question. This also provides general and detailed Qs and As for the public.
- If you are wanting to share information on the four phases of the BC vaccination plan, look to the BCCDC’s COVID-19 vaccine page.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada has prepared a COVID-19 Vaccination Tool Kit for Health Care Providers and Vaccination communications resources for Indigenous communities and organizations.