Vaccine in community clinics, a shout out to Laboratory Medicine

April 14, 2021

Dr. Paul Boucher, AMA President

Dear Members: 

Vaccine rollout begins in community-based clinics 

I’ve written a few times about the work to involve community-based physicians in delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine. We have moved forward in partnership with Alberta Health, working closely with the Primary Care Networks. The Alberta Medical Association created the online Expression of Interest portal, through which physicians could express interest in participation.

Family physicians at 10 clinics in Alberta will begin offering COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible patients on April 19, as part of a “proof of concept” to test new processes and procedures ahead of a planned province-wide rollout in May. Two community clinics in each of the five health zones will provide up to 200 doses to eligible patients who have not yet been vaccinated. Decisions on further rollout to the hundreds of interested community-based clinics will be made as soon as possible. 

I appreciate the hard work that has gone into reaching this milestone. I am confident that the expertise of our community-based clinics will add significant capacity to the vaccine battle. Who better than physicians from the community to help patients understand the benefits of vaccination? 

A direct communication to EOI Clinic Site (option 2) submitters will be sent later today.

Celebrating Laboratory Medicine

April 11-17 is National Medical Laboratory week and we should all take a moment to say “Thank You” to our hard-working laboratory medicine colleagues. From the beginning, their work has been a foundational element of our fight against this pandemic. 

Here are some recent statistics to illustrate their contribution:

  • From March 25-30, 67,010 COVID-19 tests were completed, an average of 11,168 tests per day. 
  • During this period, the daily positivity rate ranged from 5.46% to 7.71%. 
  • As of March 30, a total of 3.7 million tests have been conducted and 1.9 million individuals have been tested.

This is a phenomenal result and a testament to the expertise, skill and dedication of these physicians.

Let’s not forget the many other aspects of laboratory medicine. From general, anatomical or forensic pathology to hematopathology, transfusion medicine or microbiology, the quiet expertise of laboratory medicine is essential to our profession, to patients and to our health care system. Working tirelessly in an atmosphere of continued uncertainty for so many years, these colleagues deserve our recognition and deep respect.

Your comments are welcome in the following ways:

  • Communicate with me privately and directly by email if you would like a reply: president@albertadoctors.org  
  • Comment publicly on this President’s Letter on the AMA website (please be aware that comments are public, i.e., not members-only, even if you are logged in as a member). 

Sincerely,

Paul E. Boucher, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

2 comments

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  • #1

    James Dickinson

    Physician

    2:11 PM on April 14, 2021

    It is somewhat strange that physicians offices need to be limited, with pilot programs to check proof of concept, when no pilot program was needed for any pharmacist to immunize anyone any time.

  • #2

    Pauline Alakija

    Physician

    2:21 PM on April 14, 2021

    Thank you for your comments regarding National Medical Laboratory weeks. Your words are kind. In addition, the lab is so much more than “doing COVID tests”. The majority of diagnoses in patients could not be made without laboratory physicians. Also, I would like to recognize the frequently forgotten contributions of forensic pathologists who are rarely acknowledged as part of the medical team. They are sub-specialized physicians who have been overwhelmed with opiate overdose deaths, accidents, suicides, homicides and deaths due to unknown natural disease such as heart disease or emerging infectious organisms. They are essential to our understanding of how and why people die.

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