Whether you are providing COVID-19 immunizations at this time or not, you will no doubt be getting questions on the current status of vaccine approvals and who / when / how people will be immunized.
Here are some resources to help you answer common questions about the immunization process and current plans so you can help inform your patients.
Provincial Immunization Plan & Status
Manitoba’s Immunization Plan and Current Status
Currently Alex won’t tell us what is Manitoba’s clever plan. <grin>
BC is using the national framework to immunization, adapting it to fit the provincial context. The BC plan has 4 phases.
- LINK: BC’s 4 phases (BCCDC). #PROVLINK
BC’s overall plan aligns with the national guidance. Much of the early phases will be run through public health and the BC health authorities through dedicated immunization clinics in communities across the province.
- LINK: Provincial CDC Immunization Plan #PROVLINK
Current Status: Phase 1
The province is now in phase 1 of the plan. It is immunizing highest risk people in long-term care and other congregate living situations, some remote settings that have limited access to care, and acute care workers.
Next Phase: Phase 2
As the immunization program shifts into phase 2, people in community 80+ years, Indigenous elders and Indigenous seniors 65+ will be contacted through their regional health authorities.
- REGISTRATION – will open in March 2021 and will be online or by phone direct by the patient.
- APPOINTMENT SCHEDULING – and a pre-screen will happen over the phone (people will be contacted directly after they register)
- IMMUNIZATION APPOINTMENT – patients will arrive to get their dose at the specified immunization clinic.
- SECOND DOSE – follow up will be coordinated through public health virtually to book the second dose.
Proof of Immunization
In BC there will be either a paper or digital proof of immunization provided. It will also be available online.
National Immunization Approach
PHAC has provided overall guidance and coordinates vaccine distribution with the provinces. For the most up to date and official Canadian information, see the following links:
- LINK: PHAC – Groups that will get the vaccine first
- LINK: PHAC – Vaccines and treatments for COVID-19: Vaccine rollout
Here is a useful poster (in multiple languages) you can get and print or email for patients:
- LINK: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine for Canada. (Poster in multiple languages)
Overall Approach to Prioritization for Immunization
A common question we are getting is: how are people being prioritized? It can be helpful to talk about these four aspects being used to guide prioritization. People are higher priority if they are:
- At high risk for mortality (and hospitalization) from COVID-19 infection
- Providing healthcare services (and later other essential services)
- At higher risk of potential exposure due to congregate living situations
- Remote where it would be hard to access higher levels of care if they were to become sick.
Information on Approved Vaccines
Vaccines are approved nationally. Currently there are two approved vaccines in Canada, with several more on the way. The Centre for Effective Practice in Ontario has a useful recent and updated evidence review on the vaccine trials:
PHAC has an official page of information on COVID-19 vaccines:
- LINK: PHAC – COVID-19 Vaccines
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
Given the strict distribution and handling requirements for this vaccine, we are not expecting it to be used outside of specific, larger scale, centralized clinics and perhaps some rural-remote settings.
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
The Moderna vaccine, while it has specific handling requirements, is much easier to handle in community-based settings.
Vaccines not yet available:
Several other vaccines are under review by Health Canada. We will update as additional vaccines become available.
Emerging Evidence for Special Populations
Several groups have been highlighted as potentially excluded for immunizations. Many simply were excluded from the initial studies (e.g. immunocompromised patients, pregnant or breastfeeding women, children) and some studies are ongoing to better understand actual risks, if any. In general, a discussion and informed consent is critical for all patients, particularly those who need to understand the lack of current research. The Centre for Effective Practice has summarized the populations to consider below.
COVID-19 Information for Patients
Here are several quick, up to date resources from Health Canada to help you answer some of your patients’ questions around COVID-19:
- LINK: Help Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 (patient poster-email handout in multiple languages)
- LINK: Help Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 (for Indigenous communities, in multiple languages)
- LINK: COVID-19 Symptoms and Treatment
- LINK: COVID-19 Prevention and Risks
COVID-19 Immunization Information for Patients
Here is a poster you can print in multiple languages for your office or link to the PDF in email newsletters:
There are several resources designed by and for Indigenous Peoples, including:
- LINK: COVID-19 vaccines and Indigenous Peoples (from Indigenous Services Canada)
- LINK: BC’s First Nation’s Health Authority’s Immunization FAQ
BC Specific handouts and FAQ:
- LINK: COVID-19 General Patient Handout **** #PROVLINK
- LINK: COVID-19 Patient Frequently Asked Questions **** #PROVLINK
Other recommended sites:
- LINK: CEP has a section for patients as well that includes handouts and FAQs (Ontario centric)
- LINK: Immunize Canada has a summary of COVID-19 links and materials as well, including a lot for patients.
Other COVID-19 Information
This guide focuses on immunizations, if you have other general COVID-19 questions, please look to these sources:
And here are some additional COVID-19 resources that provide more broad information on COVID-19:
- LINK: Centre for Effective Practice’s COVID-19 Resource Portal
- LINK: CFPC COVID-19 Portal with up to date information, webinars, and more patient resources
- LINK: CMPA COVID-19 Hub – provides information on a range of potential issues related to changes in care due to COVID-19, including medical-legal liability questions.