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With COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered in BC, many of you will have questions about receiving the vaccine, the process and timing of vaccinating your patients, how doctors will be involved, and more.
We hope that the following information answers some of those questions as BC’s Immunization Plan rolls out across our province.
Please note that the information on this web page is based on updates from the BCCDC, the Provincial Health Officer, and the provincial government.
I've had my first dose. Do I need to connect with someone to arrange for my second dose?
Yes. Healthcare workers, including doctors, who have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, must register on the provincial website to ensure you will be contacted for your second dose. As the provincial registration system was being built, specific clinics managed by regional health authorities were set up for healthcare workers, including doctors and their staff. Now that the provincial system is established, the data from these specialized clinics is being added to the BC-wide database. The provincial system will generate your second dose invitation, so it is critical your registration information be included on the provincial website as soon as possible.
When I am registering on the provincial vaccine registry for my second dose, how will it know that I am a doctor or health care provider?
The system knows when to send out the invitation to book your second dose because it is automatically based on the date you received your first. This is the case for everyone, whether you are a health care provider or not.
The time between doses is currently 16 weeks for all British Columbians, however, this is expected to be reduced as increased supplies arrive in BC.
Once you register, the system knows the date and vaccine you received for your first dose, and will automatically send an invitation 13 weeks later so you can book your appointment for the 16th week.
Because health care providers got their vaccines earlier than most of the population, you will be contacted for your second dose earlier as well.
I am a health care provider, but haven’t booked for my vaccination. Does this mean I must now wait to get the shot along with my age cohort?
If you were not vaccinated at the time the health authorities ran clinics for health care workers, you still have priority over the age-based group.
Health care workers who need their first dose should call 1.833.838.2323 and inform staff that they are a health care worker.
They will book you an appointment as quickly as possible so that you do not have to wait for your age cohort.
Will it be mandatory for doctors in BC to take the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Ministry of Health has advised It will not be mandatory for doctors and others working in the health care system to take the COVID-19 vaccine, however, it encourages them to do so.
Those who decline the COVID-19 vaccination will need to continue to follow strict guidelines around health checks and the use of personal protective equipment.
I am a physician who has received my COVID-19 vaccine. If I travel to the US or abroad, am I still required to quarantine?
Yes. If you travel abroad you must follow federal quarantine rules, regardless of whether you have been immunized or not. Currently, the rules remain the same: “Federal quarantine applies for travellers entering Canada. If you can enter Canada and you have no symptoms, you must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. At this time, you are not excluded from quarantine, even if you have: been vaccinated for COVID-19.”
Some members have contacted us as they feel it is time for this requirement to change. To share your concern, please connect with the national physicians’ body the Canadian Medical Association, that advocates with the federal government. You can reach them via this web page. https://www.cma.ca/contact
Info for doctors about the vaccination campaign
What is my role now that pregnant people are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a priority population?
As pregnant people are not required to have a letter from their doctor, and can register directly for their vaccine appointment, there is no paperwork you need to complete on their behalf.
However, your patients may come to you for advice on whether or not they should get the vaccine.
Click here for information from Dr Bonnie Henry and others to support conversations with patients who may come to you for advice and ongoing care.
I understand that ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ patients will be vaccinated early. What is my role and how can I help my patients with the process?
With the news that ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ (CEV) people aged 16 to 74 will receive their vaccinations sooner than expected, and the role of doctors in the process, Doctors of BC has compiled information to help answer any questions you may have, and to support you with your communication to patients.
Connecting with your patients:
There are proactive steps physicians and teams can take to proactively communicate with patients to avoid unnecessary calls.
Send an email to all your patients. You can share the news article above which outlines everything very clearly. Or you can go to our office toolkit here where we are providing an e-mail template for you to adapt and send out.
Use voice mail, web site, and materials to share with patients. The office toolkit here also contains scripts for voice mail messages, web site content, and a sign for your office. These can be adapted to meet the specific needs of your practice.
Get out on social media. Doctors and divisions are encouraged to use their own social media accounts to get the message out. The simplest and easiest thing to do is to tweet or share our news story via your favoured social media channels, whether that is Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Front-line workers (identified and contacted by their employers)
Pregnant people 18+
Phase 4 | May - June
People aged 59 to 18
Indigenous peoples age 44 to 18
Further information and updates are available on the BCCDC website.
What is the timing for the two doses of the vaccine?
The Provincial Health Officer has announced that BC is extending the time between first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine to four months.
This is in light of good news from local and international data showing up to 90% protection three weeks after receiving the first dose of the two-dose vaccines, lasting for many months.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI)'s recommendation aligns with B.C.'s decision, which frees up 70,000 doses for younger age groups.
This means everyone can move up the list, with all British Columbian’s expected to receive their first dose of the two-dose vaccines by the end of June.
When is immunization expected to be complete?
It is expected that everyone will have been vaccinated by the end of September.
Where and how will vaccines be delivered?
In urban centers, vaccines will be delivered in large public venues. These venues will be set up in 172 communities around the province.
Rural and remote communities may see vaccines delivered from physicians’ offices or other smaller venues.
How will physicians be compensated?
Physicians who deliver vaccines in large venues will likely be compensated through sessional contracts.
More information will be available from your health authority.
What role will doctors play in the delivery of the vaccine?
Doctors are foundational to the success of the vaccine roll-out in a number of ways:
Doctors and other registered health care professionals can register through the COVID-19 Emergency Health Provider Registry to administer COVID-19 vaccines (see next question for details).
Doctors can make a real difference in encouraging patients to get vaccinated. Research shows that the public views doctors and other health care professionals as the most credible source of information about the vaccine. Divisions and family doctors will play a critical role in supporting patients with information and advice about the vaccine, monitoring for adverse reactions, and helping with understanding of the immunization planning and process.
A Doctors of BC office toolkit contains information and printable materials to support doctors in their practice and in conversations with patients. New resources are added regularly.
Watch for more information to follow for doctors on their roles in the campaign as planning unfolds.
How can doctors register to deliver COVID-19 vaccines?
Doctors and other registered health care professionals who would like administer COVID-19 vaccines can register through the COVID-19 Emergency Health Provider Registry (EHPR).
The EHPR is a provincial resource enabling health authorities to connect with health professionals who are ready to deploy during the public health emergency.
Activities may include non-immunization (e.g. administrative) activities within the immunization campaign and/or other health service roles.
You can register online with the COVID-19 EHPR. Please fill out all fields in the online registration form as completely as possible. This will ensure health authorities are able to efficiently and appropriately contact you as needed. If you have questions about this process, please refer to the FAQs linked to the online registration form or email firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail)for assistance. Be sure to include “COVID EHPR” in the subject line.
Watch for information from health authorities regarding specific positions or expressions of interest, and monitor the website of your regional health authority so you can express your interest there as well.
When will doctors offices get vaccine supplies?
At this time, with the exception of some smaller communities, family practices will not be asked to administer the vaccines in their clinics. It will be much later in the process before clinics or community pharmacies are broadly used in urban areas.
For this to happen, we need vaccines that do not require the same special considerations for handling, ideally require only one dose, and the provincial reporting system will need to be fully in place.
I’m a retired doctor, how do I register to help with vaccinations?
Health authorities will be identifying the human resources needed to deliver vaccines in each community.
Retired physicians can contact their local health authority, Contacts for Retired Physicians re Vaccine Delivery who will determine if additional doctors and other health care professionals are needed.
If so, the health authority will initiate the re-registration process with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.
It is suggested that interested retired physicians also fill out the form on the provincial government’s emergency provider registration page.
Please also review information (including FAQs) about the process of re-registration and how notification to assist would work.
What training will doctors need to undergo before being able to administer vaccines?
Family doctors (Including residents and those holding Temporary Emergency Registration) who are doing patient assessment, vaccine preparation, immunization, and monitoring patient in post-vaccine waiting area, will be required to complete the following webinar, estimated to take about 60 minutes. The webinar is available here:
Medical students taking on any of the roles above will need to complete the BCCDC COVID-19 webinar (above) and a webinar on anaphylaxis initial emergency treatment, estimated to take 45 minutes. The webinar is available here: