In a letter dated December 24, 2020, Ohio Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP) President Mike Sevilla, MD, urged Governor Mike DeWine to make vaccination of community-based, independent primary care physicians and practice staff a priority. The text of his letter reads as follows
On behalf of the 5,300 family physician, family medicine resident, and medical student members of the OAFP, I write to urge priority vaccination of community primary care physicians who are not necessarily employed by hospitals or hospital systems but who are still on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. These physicians are providing care to thousands of Americans who have ongoing health care needs unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vaccination of community primary care physicians and their practice staff – particularly those in rural and unserved communities many of whom operate independently from hospitals and hospital systems – needs to be a top priority. These physicians and practices are the foundation of our health care system and should, as a matter of public policy, be protected from this virus so they can safely provide care to the millions of patients they care for each day. The faster we vaccinate all primary care physicians and their teams, the faster they can safely provide care to their communities.
The failure of Ohio to facilitate the immediate and broad vaccination of community-based primary care physicians and their practice staffs will only further compromise the safety of patients who are seeking care for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 health issues.
Thank you for your prompt consideration of this request. Your commitment to vaccinating frontline primary care physicians and practices will ensure that vaccination strategies are successful.