‘Albertans will now have another way to receive their COVID-19 vaccines from an important part of our health-care system’
Alberta is launching a new pilot program to allow physicians to vaccinate their patients against COVID-19.
Starting April 19, 10 physician clinics across the province will participate in the project to administer COVID-19 vaccines to eligible patients. The program will test the most effective ways to transport, book and administer the vaccine through community physician clinics.
“Since the start of the pandemic, community physicians have worked hard to support and protect their patients. This pilot is another step forward. Albertans will now have another way to receive their COVID-19 vaccines from an important part of our health-care system,” said Tyler Shandro, minister of health. “We’re aiming to expand this pilot to many, many more physician clinics as soon as possible.”
The program will be expanded to more clinics next month based on the learnings from the pilot.
Under the program, there will be two participating clinics in each AHS zone during the pilot phase. Each participating clinic will initially receive 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Clinics will contact their patients who are eligible for vaccination.
The exact locations of participating clinics will not be publicly posted during the pilot phase to prevent patient care at these clinics from being affected by public interest. Participating clinics will contact patients and handle appointment bookings directly.
New billing codes have been added to the schedule of medical benefits to allow physicians to bill for this service. Information about this is available on the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan Bulletins page.
In January, Alberta Health Services and Covenant Health piloted the use of temporary vaccine clinics in emergency departments in hospitals across Alberta to give eligible emergency department staff and physicians more chances to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Alberta Health, the Alberta Medical Association and Primary Care Network (PCN) physician leaders have been working together to incorporate community physicians into the provincial vaccine rollout as supply increases, according to the provincial government.
“Alberta’s community-based physicians have been playing a key role in caring for patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Albertans have a strong connection to their family physicians and look to them to help inform important decisions about their health, such as vaccination,” said Dr. Paul Boucher, president, Alberta Medical Association.
“The vaccination of all eligible Albertans is a monumental task and leveraging all our collective resources will be essential in getting this done efficiently. We hope that this pilot effort will lead to significant expansion in vaccine capacity through participating community physician offices.”
As of April 12, more than 970,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in Alberta. The province is on pace to offer every adult a dose of vaccine by June 30.
More than eight in 10 (81 per cent) of Ontario frontline healthcare workers are potentially willing to take COVID-19 vaccines if personal financial barriers are eliminated, according to a report from SEIU Healthcare and the Women's College Research Institute released in February.