Infectious Disease

A survey shows that more GPs are giving COVID-19 vaccines

April 22, 2021

2 min read

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In a recent survey, more than a third of primary care physicians said their practice provided patients with COVID-19 vaccines.

However, according to the survey, which was conducted in collaboration between the Primary Care Collaborative, Larry A. Green Center, and 3rd Conversation, the number of general practitioner offices giving COVID-19 vaccines is also increasing.

“Primary care is now a major vehicle for getting a shot in the arms of Americans, just as the practice faces pent-up patient needs and worsening mental health and social vulnerabilities,” said Ann Greiner, president and CEO of the Primary Care Collaborative in a press release.

A total of 657 clinicians in 48 states, Washington DC and Guam, responded to the survey. Among them, 38% said their practice gave COVID-19 vaccines, 42% said they worked with public health organizations, and 46% said they worked with local organizations or government officials to prioritize people for vaccination, which is an improvement on previous surveys. Still, only 19% of respondents said their practice received enough vaccines for their patients, and 23% said they had “no idea” whether their patients were vaccinated, according to the Primary Care Collaborative.

In addition, the survey found that the pandemic is affecting doctors’ mental health.

“The basic service never pressed the pause button. With no financial means and no involvement in the planning of the pandemic relief, the basic service has extended working hours and services, postponed salaries and waived co-payments in order to meet the health needs of the population, and yet we have no back, “said Rebecca Etz, PhD, co-director of the Larry A. Green Center, said in the press release. “How much data do we need to collect on its vulnerabilities and how long does it take for policy makers to give them the support they deserve and deserve?”

The survey data showed that 71% of clinicians said their burnout or mental exhaustion reached “all-time highs” and 40% said their burnout was similar in their practices.

In addition, two out of five clinicians said they needed mental health assistance due to the pandemic. However, according to a summary of the data, these numbers are “unlikely to be adequately reported”. Of nearly 40% who reported the same strain of COVID-19 in their practices as in May 2020, just over half said they had adapted to the strain, while 37% said it was getting better, and 5% said he was getting worse and they “really” fight.

The burden is associated with an increase in health examinations of more than 200% compared to May 2020, which was reflected in 27% of the practices that said they were unable to fill clinical positions and in 29% of the practices that were understaffed due to illness or quarantine , tightened the data.

“Public and private payers should continue to relieve the administrative burdens that arise in the context of the public health emergency and drastically increase the tax relief for basic services,” Greiner said in the press release. “Strengthening basic services will pay off: bring the country to herd immunity faster and return to a sense of normalcy.”

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Jack Westfall, MD, MPH

Family doctors provide about half of all vaccines in the United States. [according to] Research conducted by the Robert Graham Center of the American Academy of Family Physician. However, primary care was not included in the initial rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021. More recently, the AAFP has advocated using primary care practices to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to their own patients. This worked well, and now more than a third of primary care clinics say they provided some COVID-19 vaccines to their patients. While the same survey found high levels of stress and potential burnout among doctors and staff, a family doctor in New York said the ability to have a COVID-19 vaccine available to his patients restored his energy and enjoyment of exercise . Being part of the solution for our patients can help alleviate fatigue and burnout. Increasing the primary care capacity to deliver COVID vaccines may be just what the doctor ordered.

Jack Westfall, MD, MPH

Director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care General Practitioner, Washington, DC

Disclosure: Westfall does not report any relevant financial information.

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