You know that you are getting COVID-19 vaccine soon and you have identified your eligible patients for the current vaccine phase. Now you are ready to start planning your actual immunization clinics within your practice. This section outlines the major planning steps for you.

Creating specific immunization clinic blocks within your practice schedule is recommended (e.g. a dedicated day) instead of interspersing immunizations with other visits. This will allow more rapid and efficient immunization.

Key to success is a careful plan that is explicit to you and to your patients so that everyone is reassured that the process is well thought out, clear, and safe.

Estimate Your Immunization Clinic Capacity

Critical for a smooth running immunization clinic is knowing how many patients you can book in your half day or a full day immunization clinic. The bottleneck will probably be one of the following four things:

  1. Number of eligible patients who need a vaccine
  2. Vaccine doses
  3. Immunizers
  4. Observation spaces

Your observation spaces could be: your waiting room, unused exam rooms, other areas in the building. All with appropriate spacing and supervision. Below we have summarized the steps and have included calculators to help you estimate your capacity.

Apply for Vaccine Doses

Each province has a different approach to vaccine distribution. You will have identified the eligible patients in your practice earlier so you will know approximate doses required. Links to the vaccine application or process are below.

Currently in BC there are no options for applying for vaccine doses for your primary care clinic. Some smaller and remote communities may be working very closely with their regional health authority in planning a shared immunization clinic. If you believe you should be involved, please reach out to your local health authority to find out how to be involved.

  • LINK: BC Vaccine Application Form **** #PROVLINK

Determine Patient Flow and Observation Spaces

Determining patient flow will impact your overall throughput. Ideally you can arrange a one-way flow through your office using 2 different doors.

One-way Clinic Flow

One-way flow makes social distancing easier and is more efficient. So it safely maximizes the number of people you can immunize per hour. This requires a separate entrance and exit and two waiting areas (pre- and post-immunization).

This may require temporarily using a back or side door as an entrance/exit (and placing the immunization clinic greeter in a new location). Below is an example flow to illustrate.

Overlapping Patient Flow (Single Entrance)

If you only have a single entrance, you will have some congestion to patient flow. Patients have to cross paths (as shown below) and make space for social distancing. This will be slower than if you are able to set up one-way patient flow in your immunization clinic.

Different Waiting / Observation Area Options

Waiting areas, with social distancing (>2m) will likely be the bottleneck for most primary care offices. To improve efficiency, especially if you only have one entrance/exit and a single waiting room, consider one or more of the following:

  • Have people wait outside – either for the pre-immunization waiting or post-immunization observation. This could be in other areas of the building (leveraging additional lobby space) or even outside (weather permitting). Try to use places that minimize people crossing paths to maintain social distancing.
  • Use any available exam rooms – with virtual care being more common right now you might have unused exam rooms. These can be used as waiting areas.
  • Use lunch-room / group room areas – if appropriate for the immunization clinic, you can temporarily use your office lunch room as a waiting area.

Through this, determine how many waiting/observation spaces you will be able to create in your office space.

Ensure Proper Accessibility

We should always ensure proper accessibility for our patients. Keep this in mind if you are making changes to the patient flow through your office as part of an immunization clinic. If back doors are being used or temporary tents, etc. are you still able to provide accessibility and if not, ensure there are additional options to do so.

Calculate Immunization Clinic Duration

Use this calculator to estimate the number of hours of clinic you will likely need. To use this calculator, input these variables:

  1. Number of vaccine doses you expect to receive.
  2. Whether you have one-way (two door) flow of patients through your immunization clinic.
  3. The number of immunizers you expect to have working during the clinic.
  4. The number of post-immunization observation spaces you plan to have (the number of people that can be observed while also socially distanced).

This provides you with the approximate number of hours you will need to book as dedicated time for the immunization clinic. Feel free to see how the different parameters change the amount of clinic time needed. You might find your bottleneck is different than you thought and you need less immunizers at any one time, for example.

A good rule of thumb is make sure you have at least double the number of observations spaces to immunizers in your clinic.

Estimate Number of Patients to Book

If you want to estimate how many patients you can book in a specific immunization clinic shift, use this calculator. Please input the following three variables:

  1. Whether you have one-way (two door) flow of patients through your immunization clinic.
  2. The number of immunizers you expect to have working during the clinic.
  3. The number of post-immunization observation spaces you plan to have (the number of people that can be observed while also socially distanced).
  4. The number of hours you intend to run this particular immunization clinic.

When booking, ensure that you also have a waitlist for each immunization so you can call in other people when there are no shows. This will help reduce the amount of unused vaccine. Consider a waitlist of up to 20% of your capacity.