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Ontario family physicians seeking more details from government on COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Click to play video 'Ontario seniors, family physicians seeking clarity on COVID-19 vaccine rollout' Ontario seniors, family physicians seeking clarity on COVID-19 vaccine rollout
WATCH ABOVE: Canada is expecting its largest COVID-19 vaccine shipment to date and many people are anxious to roll up their sleeves. However, family physicians say some patients are confused when it comes to eligibility and timing. Katherine Ward has more – Feb 22, 2021

With more vaccines en route to Canada, many people are ready to roll up their sleeves. Some seniors have said they are particularly anxious to get their shots, given they are more at risk should they contract COVID-19.

Lola Bratty, 79, lives by herself in Toronto. She said that all she wants is more information about when and where to go to get a vaccination and that she is frustrated by the lack of information.

Read more: Physicians will contact Ontarians 80 and over for COVID-19 vaccination appointments

“I have no clue as to how I am to be notified about the opportunity for vaccination. I have no clue as to who is going to be administering the vaccination,” Bratty said.

“I’m in Toronto. They are going to be opening these clinics. Am I expected to go to one of those? Should I go to my already overstressed GP? Do I go to a pharmacy? There is no information.”

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Many family physicians told Global News they have been fielding calls daily from their patients asking about the COVID-19 vaccine. While some ask about the shot’s safety, others want to know when it will be their turn. Doctors said on that front, they simply do not have many answers to give.

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“We understand that there are lots of moving parts. That being said, it has been a bumpy road in terms of the communications about the details about the vaccine rollout,” said Dr. Liz Muggah, president of the Ontario College of Family Physicians.

She said there has been some further confusion since last week, when the government inferred family doctors may begin contacting patients 80 years and older with details.

On Sunday, the Ontario College of Family Physicians put out suggested messaging for family doctors to use either by email or on their voicemails. It emphasizes how family doctors are waiting more details from the Ministry of Health about the booking system and vaccine sites. “For us, it’s a real frustration to not be able to answer those questions,” Muggah said.

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There are about 14,000 family physicians in Ontario, and many say they are ready and willing to help with the vaccine rollout for COVID-19.

Read more: Canada to receive over 640,000 vaccine doses from Pfizer, Moderna this week

“We have wonderful relationships with our patients — life-long therapeutic relationships,” said Dr. Allan Grill, president of the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario. “We are happy to support the public health unit’s plans, on getting that information out to our patients, as soon as we have some clear direction on what to tell them.”

Until then, Bratty waits, hoping those details will come soon.

“We need to have some sense of what the plan is and when it’s going to happen,” Bratty said.

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