Alberta doctors to help in future rollout of vaccines

EDMONTON — The Canadian vaccination rollout has been bumpy so far, with major delays and limited access to vaccines, but the Alberta government and doctors are already preparing for a time when there’s enough vaccine for everyone.

The province announced a partnership Friday with the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) to ensure all Albertans get vaccinated “as quickly as possible.”

The president of the AMA said he previously wrote to the health minister asking physicians be involved.

“I’ve had lots of physicians offering to volunteer as vaccinators within Alberta Health Services clinics and some have already done that,” Paul Boucher told CTV News Edmonton.

“I imagine we will be looking at public clinics as well to be able to participate.”

In addition to possibly offering vaccines at doctors’ offices, Boucher believes physicians should have a say on prioritization.

“If we’re doing an age-based one, that’s one thing. If we’re looking at prioritizing patients based on other risk factors then really we need inputs from the family physicians and community docs to identify those patients and to get them plugged into the system,” he said.

BATTLING VACCINE HESITANCY

The partnership will also include developing and delivering a united message on the importance of vaccines.

A December Angus Reid survey found just over a quarter of Albertans would not be willing to get a COVID-19 shot but Boucher believes doctors can make a “huge difference.”

“We’ve already begun some of that work with other partners in terms of educational materials but it’s a matter of making sure those messages are aligned,” he said.

“So partnerships between everyone that’s involved are critical because I think the information that comes forward needs to be trusted and consistent.”

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