Survey Shows Patients and Clinicians Want Primary Care More Involved in Mass Vaccination Efforts

Clinicians Report that Primary Care is Still Largely Being Sidelined

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2021—The Larry A. Green Center, in collaboration with the Primary Care Collaborative (PCC), today released new data showing that patients want to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations from primary care and that practices want to be involved in vaccination administration. In a survey of primary care clinicians conducted in mid-March, nearly half (46%) reported that patients are calling their practice and demanding to be vaccinated, and 74% said they are willing to administer the vaccine. The reality, however, is different. Over half (54%) of clinicians said their local health department has not actively engaged primary care to help with vaccine distribution, and only 9% have a reliable vendor and know when they will receive the vaccine, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, primary care continues to address the growing non-medical needs of patients, with 4 in 10 clinicians increasing their support for patients with food, housing, or financial insecurities during the pandemic. Practices are also expanding their capacity to provide mental health support, even while eight in 10 report practice revenue is more than 10% below pre-pandemic levels.

“Primary care has been ready to help in our country’s massive vaccination effort,” said Rebecca Etz, PhD, co-director of The Larry A. Green Center. “It has been able to offer more support to patients as the pandemic drags on and as families struggle with food, housing and finances. For 40 years, primary care has annually managed the majority of U.S. population vaccinations. Yet during the greatest vaccination effort of our lifetimes, national planning has proceeded without them. How does that make sense?”

Primary care also continues to take care of patients with COVID, helping to keep them out of emergency departments and urgent care settings, which are overburdened in many communities. In the survey, 46% of clinicians said they have added or extended services not usually provided, and 68% said they are monitoring COVID-19 patients at home or in the practice.

“This survey suggests that primary care is more than doing its part, yet is not receiving needed support. One in 3 clinicians – the frontline of the pandemic – plans to leave an already shrinking primary care workforce in the coming years,” said Ann Greiner, president and CEO of PCC. “The administration must immediately help to financially stabilize primary care in the same manner it seeks to stabilize the national economy.”

Since March 2020, the Larry A. Green Center, in collaboration with the PCC, has collected and disseminated data from more than 25 regular surveys of primary care clinicians on their abilities and attitudes in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey of clinicians was fielded March 12-17, 2021, and received 765 responses from clinicians in 48 states and Guam. 69% of respondents identified their practice as family medicine, 14% as internal medicine, 7% as pediatrics, 3% as geriatrics, and 7% as other. 73% identified as MDs, 4% as DOs, 14% as NPs, and 9% other. 10% work in community health clinics or similar and 22% in rural settings. 31% work in a practice with 1-3 clinicians and 39% had more than 10 clinicians. 32% work in a practice that is self-owned, 38% are system-owned, 5% are government-owned, and 5% are membership-based.

More information about the survey 

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Experts are available to provide insight and comment on the survey:
  • Ann Greiner, president and CEO of the Primary Care Collaborative
  • Rebecca Etz, PhD, co-director of The Larry A. Green Center

If you would like to speak with them, please contact Stephen Padre (Primary Care Collaborative's communications manager), [email protected], 202-417-3911

About the PCC

About The Green Center:

The The Larry A. Green Center for the Advancement of Primary Health Care for the Public Good is a research group founded by Rebecca Etz, PhD at Virginia Commonwealth University and Kurt Stange, MD, PhD at Case Western Reserve University. The Green Center works to reclaim and reconstitute the intellectual foundations of primary care, to advance the science of medicine learned and practiced within layered and competing social frameworks of meaning, and to deliver on a now 50-year-old promise: better health and improved health care through a synergistic focus on both humanism and healing. We are nimble, inquisitive, curious, and open. We make personal doctoring and innovation visible.

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