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One Pediatric Practice’s Journey in Becoming a COVID Vaccinator Site

We’re slowly but surely getting back to normal with COVID and although risks continue, it feels like we’re making progress. A lot of organizations are taking action against COVID, and with the new guidelines for vaccinations for children ages 12 and above, it’s more important than ever for pediatric practices to have a mission against COVID.

Becoming a COVID Vaccinator Site CAN BE Part of Your Practice’s Mission 

I’ve thought all along that it makes sense for our pediatric practices to be involved in protecting against COVID with education and general care; however, there’s another level with which practices can be involved. You may not have thought about becoming a COVID vaccinator site, but there are several advantages to your practice and the community. 

At first, we got a few objections to becoming a COVID vaccinator site because the public health authorities thought “You’re just treating children. Why do you want to be a vaccination site?” Well — to serve our mission!

Benefits of Being a COVID Vaccinator site

There are so many benefits to being a COVID vaccinator site for pediatric practices. One of the biggest ones is convenience. The major, large vaccination sites are often very crowded. 

You’ll also benefit the families your practice serves. We often see two, three, and four adults in our office for each child we’re treating. As a vaccinator site, you can be there for the parents and other family members to protect vulnerable young ones and help families. 

Another benefit is attracting new patients by helping extended family members, including the elderly. We’ve experienced so much gratitude for helping some of the older family members. You also have the opportunity to visit other locations to offer the vaccine, including first responders, local schools, and other organizations.

Ways to Begin the Process

Becoming a vaccinator will involve your public health department. You’ll need to complete training and have storage for the vaccine. A pediatric EHR program is essential, because it will provide all the codes for the vaccination process. You can use your EHR program to create templates for first vaccine doses, subsequent doses, and all necessary record-keeping. This smooths the process so much. By the time the patient comes in, they are ready for their vaccine. The administrative portion of the work is nearly complete.

Depending upon what state you’re in, you may have different requirements to become a COVID vaccinator site. No matter where you’re located, you’ll need to complete training and meet criteria for the program. 

How Our Pediatric EHR Helped

One of the biggest bottlenecks our practice encountered in the process was trying to register 100’s of new patients. We created a streamlined administrative process using our EHR and asked the patients to complete a simple survey of essential information. I’m sure you heard about people waiting hours at mass vaccination sites. 

One of our staff members told a patient who asked if she’d have to wait for hours, “Well, you’ll have your shot in about five minutes, then wait for another 15 minutes to make sure you’re okay.” 

Our patient made us all laugh when she said, “You people are like the Chick-fil-A of vaccines!”

Building Stronger Relationships

Becoming a COVID vaccinator site not only brought new patients into our practice, we think it helped us to build stronger relationships with the families we were already serving. We knew we wanted to help families with vulnerable and at-risk young children. Becoming a vaccinator site was a way for us to serve our patients, families, and the community. With a strong pediatric EHR, we were also able to administratively support the vaccinations as well. It was a win all-around for us and we look forward to continuing to serve this role in our community. 

Jeffrey Cooper, MD, FAAP
jeff@cooperpediatrics.com


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