Many primary care practices excluded from COVID-19 vaccine rollout efforts
New survey data show that one in four primary care clinicians who are willing and able to administer the COVID-19 vaccine do not have access to it and nearly one in three are not a part of state and regional vaccine rollout planning efforts.
The data, released by the Larry A. Green Center in conjunction with the Primary Care Collaborative and 3rd Conversation, also show that eight in 10 primary care practices are “ready and willing to assist with COVID-19 vaccine distribution,” in spite of pandemic-related staffing shortages and financial concerns.
The findings are based on responses from 1,065 primary care clinicians in all 50 states and the District of Columbia who were surveyed from Jan. 15 to Jan. 19. Among them, 72% respondents identified their practice as family medicine, 12% as internal medicine, 6% as pediatrics, 3% as geriatrics and 7% as other.
Ann Greiner, president and CEO of the Primary Care Collaborative said in a press release that primary care clinicians “can play a major role” in facilitating vaccinations, particularly for patients with chronic conditions, older adults and patients who are hesitant to receive the vaccine. However, practices need more resources, including storage capacity and personal protective equipment. Six in 10 practices that are willing to assist with vaccine distribution face these obstacles, according to the survey.
Christine Bechtel, cofounder of 3rd Conversation, said in the release that “it will be another tragedy in a long line of missteps if we don’t equip these trusted doctors with the vaccine and resources they need to reach so many individuals in our communities.”
“The science of innovation adoption tells us that vaccinating the population at scale will necessitate focusing on people who are worried and have questions — which, let’s be honest, is the majority of us,” she said. “When it comes to health questions, the first place patients think to go is their primary care doctor’s office.”
The Primary Care Collaborative and Larry A. Green Center called on the administration of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. to “incorporate U.S. primary care practices into national COVID-19 vaccine promotion, education and administration strategies, with sufficient funding and support,” as well as “support communication infrastructure between primary care and other key sectors, eg, public health, community-based organizations, hospitals and others to enable vaccine coordination, record keeping and distribution.”
Primary Care Collaborative. https://www.pcpcc.org/2021/02/10/primary-care-remains-untapped-us-struggles-administer-covid-19-vaccines. Primary care remains untapped as US struggles to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Accessed Feb. 10, 2021.
Primary Care Collaborative. https://www.pcpcc.org/sites/default/files/news_files/C19%20Series%2025%20National%20Executive%20Summary.pdf. Executive summary [of] Quick COVID-19 Care Survey. Accessed Feb. 10, 2021.