Dr Eben Strydom, a general practitioner in Melfort, Sask., Said he was happy to answer the call recommended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if that means giving his patients confidence in vaccines.
“This is our ticket out of the pandemic, so it’s critically important,” Strydom said. “If that means you’re going to take it or not, you should talk to your doctor. “
Trudeau said this week that his own doctor recommended he receive a second dose of AstraZeneca in turn, adding that he knew scientists were also studying the effectiveness of mixing and matching vaccines.
Health Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and provincial health officials are making recommendations on how and when Canadians can get vaccinated, Trudeau added.
“I certainly encourage all Canadians to talk to their doctors.
Over two million Canadians got AstraZeneca for their first shot.
Since then, Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan have said they will reserve the remaining doses for second injections due to limited supply. Ontario has suspended its use due to concerns about rare blood clots.
Keir Johnson, a spokesperson for Manitoba Doctors, said doctors are keeping abreast of new evidence and changing recommendations, but it is understandable that the breaks and the change in eligibility are causing public concern.
The association is running a campaign to encourage anyone with concerns to speak to a doctor and, in most cases, members report that patients feel more confident after this conversation, Johnson said.
“Because physicians are a trusted voice, they are often able to reassure people to help them understand the current benefits and risks,” he said.
That said, there has not been a deluge of new questions since Trudeau’s recommendation, he added.
Dr Noah Ivers, a family doctor at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, said the pandemic has prompted some doctors to engage in new ways with their patients.
He and some colleagues began to organize virtual town halls to answer common questions. A town hall on COVID-19 vaccines drew around 1,000 attendees who were able to enter the questions and vote for the most popular.
“Everything went so well that I started to wonder why we hadn’t done it before,” he said.
On an individual basis, family physicians also have the advantage of knowing a patient’s medical history. If an individual has recently had a kidney transplant, for example, a doctor may recommend a shorter interval between doses than for a completely healthy individual, he said.
Generally speaking, he says he tells his patients the same thing he says to his parents, whose first blow was AstraZeneca.
“We are in no rush to figure this out and are awaiting information,” Ivers said, adding that the recommended dose gap means there is plenty of time for more research on the manufacturers’ mix and the risks. blood clots.
Of course, not everyone has access to a family doctor. The Liberals’ 2019 platform promised to ensure all Canadians have access to a family doctor or primary health care team, noting that nearly five million Canadians do not have access.
Ivers said reluctance to get vaccinated is another reason governments should make access to a family doctor a priority.
“I think that’s one of the reasons in a million you really need to connect with a primary care professional,” he said.
“It’s time to write a letter to your MP and your MPP on the importance of primary care,” he said.
Dr Matthew Chow, president of Doctors of BC, said, like Ivers, that other doctors are finding new ways to interact and share information widely with their patients.
The South Asian COVID Task Force – a voluntary organization made up of doctors, researchers and others – has chapters across the country. They share culturally appropriate communications on COVID-19 in several South Asian languages, he said.
Doctors understand that the pandemic has been tough on the public in many ways and tracking the changing evidence is part of it, he said.
However, family physicians are evidence-based practitioners who derive their information and best advice from federal authorities such as Health Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, which in turn oversee international evidence, has he declared.
“We can be sure that these recommendations will be safe,” he said.
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