Doctors support use of vaccine

·3 min read

Ninety per cent of physicians would feel comfortable getting immunized against COVID-19 today, if they could.

That’s according to Doctors Manitoba vaccination survey, which saw 507 physicians respond — 75 per cent of whom are in the Winnipeg region.

Some physicians indicated they would wait to allow those "more at risk" to get immunized first, according to the survey.

"I would say no to the vaccine today, because I think there’s others who need it first. But I do want it when there’s enough to go around," stated one physician.

Overall, physicians are supportive of the vaccine and are eager to participate in its delivery, said Dr. Cory Baillie, president of Doctors Manitoba and a rheumatologist who works at the Manitoba Clinic.

Conversations with the province have begun, he said.

Included in the survey results shared with media is a public poll which found that 90 per cent of people would be willing to go to their physician’s office to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Baillie said that’s because doctors know their patients’ histories and patients trust them.

Baillie also said vaccine hesitancy does exist, and the main concerns relate to how quickly vaccines have been developed, as well as there not being a lot of resources and educational material related to them.

Social media hasn’t helped in that regard.

"There’s no end to different theories that are available on different social media sites. Talk to your physician. Talk to a health-care provider who you can trust to get appropriate information," he said.

"These vaccines were studied and are safe and our future out of the pandemic is going to be essential on getting enough Manitobans immunized."

According to the survey, doctors want more information about vaccines regarding safety and effectiveness.

"In the survey, and one of the things I found particularly helpful about it, was that they outlined what types of tools physicians would find most useful when it comes to vaccine information," Dr. Joss Reimer said at Monday’s provincial news conference.

Reimer is a member of Manitoba’s vaccination task force.

"We’re going to take the information that they provided and take that back to the task force, to start looking at how we might be able to develop, in partnership, some of those tools, because we absolutely want our physicians, our nurses, our pharmacists, and all of our other immunizers to have every tool that they need to provide accurate information to their patients, to their clients, and to help inform Manitobans about this vaccine to demonstrate how safe and effective it is," she said.

Tools include fact sheets and brochures, frequently asked questions, posters, webinars, videos and podcasts.

Reimer also noted that for those few patients where there might be some risks that need to be considered, it’s important physicians have the tools to be able to have that conversation with them.

The Doctors Manitoba survey results can be read at bit.ly/3sDHXSU

Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun