TORONTO – The Downtown Toronto University Health Network is urging about 3,000 employees to make appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a memo, the president of the network, Dr Kevin Smith, encouraged those who have not signed up to do so.
A spokeswoman said about a thousand staff members have signed up for an appointment after the memo.
A spokeswoman said 85% of people working in hospitals had been vaccinated.
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About 1,500 staff members work full time from home and are not included in immunization totals.
A spokeswoman said UHN wants to provide vaccines to staff working at home, but the priority is those entering hospitals.
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UHN also said it was opening a hotline for staff to answer questions about vaccines.
The health network said it is also running an internal campaign with vaccine ambassadors and peer-to-peer advocacy.
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Meanwhile, Ontario’s family physicians are asking the province how they can help fight the reluctance to get vaccinated and get more vaccinated.
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“Who better than their family doctor, with whom we have a relationship of trust with them, we face that they know, we know their medical history”, dr. Leslie Byers told Global News.
Byers said she had applied to become a pilot trial site, testing how family physicians can offer the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is currently available to people aged 60 and over at participating pharmacies.
“I see the limitations of the vaccine,” Byers said. “I see all the different things we have to do, but family doctors can do it, we can absolutely do the vaccine.
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Premier Doug Ford has previously said that once the province receives more doses of the vaccine, it will aim to have vaccines administered by family physicians.
Dr. Liz Muggah, president of the Ontario College of Family Physicians, told Global News the Ford government had said so.
“They indicated to us that they were interested in us playing a particular role in phase 2,” she said. “I think we need to know that we can go there and how and how much vaccine they plan to get us.”
–With files from Katherine Ward
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