Primary care doctors are included with tier 1a, the first group designated to receive vaccines as laid out by federal guidance. These physicians have been severely affected by the pandemic; one study of more than 1,000 health care deaths in May found that primary care doctors made up the highest percentage of physician deaths within that group.
Community doctors also play a crucial role in supporting the health care system overall: Patients who are tested at their family doctor don’t need to burden an already-overwhelmed emergency care system. And while those patients may be in less acute need than ER patients, these visits still create significant contagion risks.
Only 23% of primary care clinicians know where they’ll get a vaccine from, according to a survey of more than 1,400 such doctors from Dec. 11 to 15 by the Larry A. Green Center with the Primary Care Collaborative. “More than three quarters don’t even know where they’re getting the vaccine,” said Ann Greiner, chief executive of the Primary Care Collaborative. These doctors should be vaccinated to fully support patients, she added: “We really want to keep patients out of the emergency room, for obvious reasons.”