COVID-19 staff vaccine update – Priority access for staff clinics

Date:    January 7, 2021

To:        All VCH and PHC staff and medical staff

From:   Dr. Patricia Daly – Vice-President, Public Health & Chief Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health

Leanne Heppell – Chief Operating Officer, Acute Care & Chief of Professional Practice & Nursing, Providence Health Care

Dr. Ron Carere, Vice President, Medical Affairs, Providence Health Care

Dr. Chad Kim Sing, Associate Vice President of Medicine, Quality & Safety, & Co-Vice President of Pandemic Planning, Vancouver Coastal Health

Dr. Don Griesdale, Associate Vice President of Medicine, Quality & Safety, Vancouver Coastal Health

Over the past three weeks, there has been an immense interest shown by our staff and medical staff in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine – we appreciate your enthusiasm. With your readiness to be vaccinated, you’re helping us to protect our most vulnerable patients, residents and clients.

The sequencing of priority groups to be vaccinated has been determined by B.C.’s Public Health experts in partnership with the Ministry of Health, and is based on guidelines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). This is to protect those most vulnerable to severe illness and death first, and to protect our health-care system. We have been directed to allocate vaccine based on this guidance, which is informed by our Public Health data, as well as history of transmission, clusters and outbreaks in a sector or population.

At this time, only those coming for a first dose are permitted. Administering the first doses of vaccine to as many people as possible in the priority groups in the early weeks of the campaign, when doses are limited, will protect the greatest number of at-risk people overall in the shortest possible time, and will have the greatest impact on reducing mortality, severe disease, and hospitalizations.

Most of the vaccine we have received to date has been used to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities. We have also started to vaccinate eligible acute care staff, physicians, medical residents, and students working in COVID-19 units, intensive care units, units on outbreak, and emergency departments. Eligible staff are being notified directly; if you have not heard that your group is eligible, it is not your turn yet. Please note, these notifications are not transferable. Staff who arrive at the clinic who are not verified as part of the priority group for vaccination will be turned away at the clinic. For those of you who are wondering how you will find out when you are eligible, you will be notified directly by your manager, supervisor, or medical department head.

We are tracking vaccinations in a single provincial database, which allows us to identify everyone who has received a first dose at any clinic.  You will be notified again when it is time for you to get your second dose of the vaccine. This notification will happen once we have successfully administered the first dose to our remaining priority groups, and at the interval recommended by provincial experts. Anyone who comes to a clinic for a second dose before they are invited will be turned away or flagged for follow-up.

We want to reassure you that in the coming weeks and months, there will be enough vaccine for everyone who wants to be immunized. Thank you for your patience; your turn will come soon.

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