Infectious Disease

The involvement of PCPs within the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines may save “1000’s of lives”.

February 26, 2021

3 min read

Source / information

Collaborative basic care. Online forum for basic services: “The status of basic services in 2021.” February 17, 2021.

Westfall does not report any relevant financial information. Healio Primary Care was unable to confirm the other speakers’ relevant financial statements at the time of publication.


Receive an email when new articles are published

Please enter your email address to receive an email when new articles are published . “data-action =” subscribe “> subscribe

We could not process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this problem, please contact [email protected].

Back to Healio

Family doctors are often excluded from efforts to get COVID-19 under control in the US, but increased involvement could have a significant impact on the pandemic, experts say.

During an online forum of the Primary Care Collaborative (PCC) Jack Westfall, MD, MPH, The director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care said there are around 100,000 to 200,000 primary care physicians in the United States

“If everyone delivers five to ten COVID-19 vaccines a day, that’s an additional 500,000 to 2 million COVID-19 vaccines a day,” Westfall said. “By including primary care in the spread of vaccines, we can achieve herd immunity much sooner and potentially save thousands of lives.”

According to a recent survey of more than 900 primary care doctors, 89% said they wanted to use their practice as a COVID-19 vaccination site. However, only 22% were identified as such by their health system, local hospital, or health department. In another survey of more than 1,000 primary care physicians, one in four willing and able to give the COVID-19 vaccine said they had no access to it, and almost one in three did not state and regional vaccine rollout planning efforts. Both surveys were conducted in collaboration between the PCC, the Larry A. Green Center and 3rd Conversation.

With Americans typically turning to PCPs for vaccination, experts advocated their involvement in fighting the pandemic.

Darilyn V. Moyer

PCPs “understand the concerns patients may have and are more able to address them in a personal rather than a paternalistic way”. Darilyn V. Moyer, MD, FACP, FRCP, FIDSA, Executive Vice President and CEO of ACP, said during another PCC online forum. “They also help overcome many of the barriers our patients currently face, such as lack of transportation to vaccination sites, literacy and access to broadband.”

A CVS Health poll found that 64% of Americans trust their PCP to give the COVID-19 vaccine, and a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that many Americans view a doctor’s advice as the most important factor in making a decision whether they would get the vaccine.

Angelica Geter

There are ways to maximize that confidence, experts said. PCPs should reach out to officials to learn more about how they can help with their community efforts Angelica Geter, D.rPH, MPH, Chief Strategy Officer at Black Women’s Health Imperative.

“We had first responders who turned to the mayor’s office to find out how they could support what was going on at the city level,” said Geter.

Westfall also assisted in liaising with government officials and public health executives.

“I encouraged [PCPs] calling their public health agency, vaccine manufacturers, and elected officials to help them get vaccines into primary care, “Westfall told Healio Primary Care.” These people need to learn that PCPs can manage it. ”

According to reports in the Wall Street Journal and Science, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been hampered due to the lack of adequate freezer space required to store the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, Westfall said. However, he noted that other COVID-19 vaccines don’t have the same cooling needs.

“Many GPs that are already giving vaccines have adequate cold storage for the Moderna vaccine,” Westfall said. “More have acquired a suitable cold store for the COVID-19 vaccines. [In addition,] The latest vaccine under consideration by the FDA does not require ultra-cold storage and has a long shelf life when refrigerated. “

Westfall attributed PCP’s lack of involvement in vaccine adoption to policymakers and large corporations.

“When policymakers think of mass immunizations, they think of mass immunizations linked to previous large-scale efforts like smallpox or swine flu,” he said. “Policy makers say, ‘Wow, public health was part of it, so let’s let public health do this.’ Then pharmacies in the community, all of which are well funded and have plenty of resources to lobby for, said, “Hey, what about us?” Lo and behold, the second wave of vaccination distribution policy embraced them. ”

J. Lloyd Michener

Even if PCPs cannot currently administer COVID-19 vaccines, J. Lloyd Michener, MD, The chairman of Family Medicine and Community Health at the Duke School of Medicine said during the forum that they can continue to proactively talk to their patients about vaccinations.

“For many people, especially in our black and brown communities, the decision to vaccinate against COVID-19 is not an easy decision,” Michener said. “This complicated decision requires a trusted advisor to help you reflect on your decision.”

He encouraged PCPs to “be a community partner”.

“Attend church meetings, attend Hispanic support groups,” he said. “The most important thing is to be present, answer questions and help people heal from the historical wounds that go back centuries.”


CVS health. Changing trends in vaccine reluctance. Accessed February 23, 2021.

KFF. KFF COVID-19 vaccine monitor: In your own words. Accessed February 23, 2021.

Hopkins JS. The COVID-19 vaccine race is making freezers a coveted commodity. Accessed February 25, 2021.

Kaiser J. Temperature concerns could slow the adoption of new coronavirus vaccines. Accessed February 25, 2021.

Collaborative basic care. “February 2021 Webinar: Rolling Up Your Sleeves: Efforts to Vaccinate Americans.” February 23, 2021.

Collaborative basic care. “Survey shows primary care is willing to distribute vaccines widely and fairly.” Accessed February 24, 2021.

Robert Graham Center. Primary Care in the United States. Accessed February 24, 2021.

Westfall J, et al. Https:// “The Historical Role of Primary Care in Vaccination and the Potential Role in COVID-19 Immunization Programs.” Accessed February 24, 2021.


Receive an email when new articles are published

Please enter your email address to receive an email when new articles are published . “data-action =” subscribe “> subscribe

We could not process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this problem, please contact [email protected].

Back to Healio

COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center

Related Articles