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CAS Fundraiser and Holiday Hours (Posted Dec. 12/22)

We apologize for the unexpected closure this past Thursday and Friday. It is now clear that the notification failed to reach you. We will resume regular hours Saturday, Dec 10 with our urgent clinic running from 9 am-12. Please call first thing at 9 am for an appointment (urgent issues only).

Holiday Fundraising program. We especially apologize to those of you attempting to drop off items for the Children’s Aid Program. We have extended the date to this Monday. For those patients who took donations directly to CAS, thank you!

Holiday hours are as follows:
*Dec 28,29,30: urgent appointments

Friday, Dec 23: 8-12
Saturday, Dec 24: closed
Sunday, Dec 25: closed
Monday, Dec 26: closed
Tuesday, Dec 27: closed
Wednesday, Dec 28: 8-3
Thursday, Dec 29: 8-3
Friday, Dec 30: 8-1
Saturday, Dec 31: closed
Sunday, Jan 1: closed
Monday, Jan 2: closed
Tuesday, Jan 3: 730-8 (regular hours resume)

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Please continue to be mindful of taking precautions against the many viruses out there, especially for our pediatric patients. Our hospitals are well beyond capacity, emergency wait times are at an all-time high and family doctors can not keep up with the volume of sick patients. We are trying our best and the physicians have added in as many hours as possible. For those of you who have been contacted and agreed to push back your non-urgent appointments so we can fit in more sick kids; THANK YOU! Please be patient with wait times this winter. We have to prioritize as many of the sick children as we can to keep them out of hospitals and emergency rooms. We are all going to have to work together to make it through this winter. During the mandatory building closures over the holidays please find information on the management of fever and viral symptoms in children on our website.

Happy holidays and please stay safe.

Doctors Jackman, Johnson, Jones and Yang

Holiday Fundraiser (Posted Nov. 28/22)

                                                 Annual Holiday Fundraiser

 

It’s that time of year again! For those patients new to the practice, every year we work with Halton Children’s Aid to support local children and teens in need. COVID has changed how we run the program, but this year we are a bit closer to normal. Giftcards, comfort kits, life start kits, and cash donations can be dropped off at the clinic or called into our front desk. We realize many families are struggling financially this year and expect we will receive fewer donations. Please never feel an obligation to participate. If you are able to donate the deadline is Dec 9th. 

2022 Holiday Dreams Community Giving Program

 

Help make HOLIDAY DREAMS come true for vulnerable children, youth

and families receiving services through Halton Children’s Aid.

***ITEMS MUST BE NEW***

 

Financial Gifts

During the holiday season, financial donations support families and youth living independently.

Here are examples of what your donation can provide.

$25 = stuffed holiday stocking

$50 = age-appropriate gift for a child or youth

$75 = toiletries (includes face cloth and towel)

$100 = warm clothing (winter coats, boots, hat)

$150 = Comfort Kit—items for children, teens, and young adults who may be separated from their families, providing immediate needs and comfort during difficult transitions

$200 = groceries—small family

$400 = groceries—large family

$500 = Life Start Kit—items for youth transitioning from foster care to independent living

containing items needed to set up their new home


 

Gift Card Donations

Gift cards help families and youth feel empowered and provide the experience of selecting their own special items. We are in need of gift cards in increments of $25 to $50 for:

Walmart

Grocery stores

Pre-paid Visa and MasterCard

Amazon

Shoppers Drug Mart

Best Buy 


 

Comfort Kits (items needed)

Start with a duffel bag or small travel bag and fill it with:

a cozy blanket and a fun/soft pillow

toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush)

socks and PJs (all ages/genders)

reusable water bottle

child/adult coloring book/pencil crayons

$10 to $20 gift card for Tim Hortons, Subway, Mcdonald's, etc.


 

Life Start Kits (items needed)

Start with a laundry hamper(s) or basket(s) and fill it with:

tea towels and dishcloths

drinking glasses and mugs

cutlery and dishes

saucepans and cookie sheets

kettle and toaster

mixing bowls and chopping boards

kitchen utensils and measuring cups

colander and reusable food containers

can opener and cheese grater

bath and hand towels

soft blanket and pillows

comforter and sheets (all sizes needed)

broom and mop

other items to consider—hair clipper kits, nail kits, hair dryers, hair straighteners, bluetooth speakers, toiletries, etc.

 

Personal Care Kit (Items for youth, 16 and older) (*most popular) Start with a basket, duffel bag, or backpack and fill it with any items listed below:

 *wireless air buds / wireless speaker

 *hair clipper/beard trimmer kits

 nail care kit

 hair dryer, hair straightener

*teen pack and toiletries

 socks and PJs (all ages/genders)

 wallet

 *shaker bottles / reusable water bottles

 cozy blanket

 

Welcome Kit (for a newborn and mom)
Start with a laundry hamper or basket and fill it with any items listed below:

 gift card for Walmart or Babies R Us

diapers, baby wipes, washcloths

 cotton receiving blanket, baby blanket

 diaper bag

 nursing items (pads, pump, pillow)

 onesies

 rattle, teething toy

Yours truly,

Drs Johnson, Jackman, Jones, and Yang

COLD/FLU INFORMATION (Posted Nov. 27/22)

As the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors, we are seeing a spike in respiratory viruses – especially in children. At our office, we are seeing very high rates of mild upper respiratory infections (“colds”), in addition to COVID-19 and influenza. Typically, influenza season starts in mid to late December. We began seeing cases of influenza much earlier this year, in mid to late October. And we are already having influenza outbreaks locally in children less than 4 years old.

Making this season even more difficult is that many over-the-counter drugs commonly used for symptom relief for children, such as acetaminophen (i.e., Tylenol) and ibuprofen (i.e., Advil), have been on backorder since May and have been in very short supply since August. Increasingly, there are now also backorders on commonly prescribed antibiotics for common childhood infections, and as doctors, we are having to use second or third-line antibiotics. Hospitals and ERs are at or beyond capacity already, with the worst of cold and flu season to come.

In addition to staying home when you are ill and masking when in public, below are some steps you can take to keep you and those in your household healthy, tips on home treatment, and when to seek care.

SEEKING TREATMENT

While many people with the flu, COVID-19, or other viral infections will recover on their own, others (e.g., infants/children, seniors, and those with underlying medical conditions) are more prone to complications. This information sheet (Click Here) can help you decide when to call our office for support.

For parents with sick children, this is a detailed and thorough resource (Click Here) describing treatments you can do at home and when to seek care.

COVID-19 treatment:

If you get COVID-19 and are at higher risk for severe illness, you may be eligible for treatment with the antiviral Paxlovid – learn more here (Click Here)

For infants/children:

• See “When to come to the Emergency Department” on this resource page (Click Here) to help determine if your child needs emergency care.

• Children’s fever and pain medication have been in short supply. Some pharmacies will maintain a supply behind the counter or may be able to provide alternate options without a prescription (i.e., chewable tablets, suppositories). See this tip sheet (Click Here) created by pharmacists and children’s hospitals. If you require children’s fever and pain medication, please first talk to your pharmacist.

FLU VACCINATION

Flu shots are widely available at local pharmacies, and this is your first stop for a flu shot. Given that flu is already circulating widely, do not wait! We have limited supply of vaccine at our office, so you may also be able to get your flu shot if you have a regular appointment scheduled with us in the coming weeks, depending on supply.

COVID VACCINATION

Keep up to date with your vaccination schedule – particularly if you are at risk of severe complications from infection. This resource clarifies (Click Here) when it’s time to get a COVID-19 booster. Booster doses are available for those 5 years+ who have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccine series. Book your boosters through the provincial portal or by calling 1-833-943-3900; check here for a list of places to get vaccinated. (Click Here)

Flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time for those over 5 years of age, where available.

For questions about COVID vaccination in children/pregnancy: The Sick Kids vaccine consult (Click Here) line is available to parents, children, youth, and those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to conceive.

*****

This reminder that masking is required in our clinic to reduce the risk of transmission and protect our most vulnerable patients. Please bring your mask to any in-person appointment.

We have been working hard to try to catch up on care deferred during the peak of the pandemic, but in order to accommodate this immediate surge in respiratory illnesses in our community, Ontario Health has asked us to shift our focus. This may result in some routine care being deferred to a later date. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

As always, thank you for entrusting your care to us. We are here for you, in person or virtually, as needed.

Sincerely,

The Staff and Physicians at Birchtree Family Medicine

General Update November 2022 (Posted Nov. 11/22)

Please read the updates below.

1. Dr. Jaisy Yang

Dr. Yang is a family physician who has just joined our Birchtree team. She has her own roster of patients and will see primarily her own patients, but you may see her in an after-hours clinic or if she is covering Dr. Johnson, Dr. Jackman or Dr. Jones if anyone is away. We are very excited to have her join us!

2. Influenza Vaccinations

We now have flu vaccines available. We have a very limited supply of both regular and high-dose flu shots. Please call 905-637-8833 to schedule a flu shot for yourself or your family member. The flu shot can be given as early as 6months of age. If a patient is 9 years old or younger and receiving their first flu vaccine, 2 doses are required, separated by 4 weeks time. If you are older than 5 years old, you do not have to wait any length of time before/after a COVID vaccine to obtain a flu vaccine. These can be given concurrently. Unfortunately, our office does not have COVID vaccines at this time.

**Due to the late timing of our vaccine delivery, we are unfortunately not able to run any outdoor clinics this year.

3. Extended After-Hours Clinics

As you know, we operate after-hours appointments on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings. We will now offer appointments on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. Our phones are on until 7:30 pm in the evenings and will be on between 9 am and 12 pm on Saturdays. These appointments are primarily reserved for urgent issues. Please call us at 905-637-8833 to schedule an appointment if needed.

4. Halton Children’s Aid Society Christmas Donation Program

The Halton CAS Donation Program is running again this year. For those who may not remember, each year, Birchtree collects donations from our patients and sends them through to the Halton Children’s Aid Society, where they assist many families who might otherwise not have the greatest holiday season. This year, Halton CAS is collecting primarily monetary donations, gift card donations, or various items to create baskets for those in need. Please see the link below for more details. The deadline for the collection of donations through our clinic is December 9. Cheques can be made out to Birchtree Family Medicine. If you have questions, we are happy to answer them as best we can. We are always blown away by the generosity of our patients - thank you for your donations.

To open the webpage to make a donation, click here.

We are wishing you a safe and healthy upcoming holiday season.

Sincerely,

The Staff and Physicians at Birchtree Family Medicine

RENOVATION CLOSURES (Posted August 9/22)

After many delays, we are finally at the last phase of our renovation. For those of you who haven't been in lately, we have taken over the suite beside us so will now operate out of both units. Your entrance door to the office will remain the same.

To complete the move we need to close on August 11, 12, 24, 25, and 26. We apologize for this.

Please be patient with us for the remainder of August. We will do our best to operate out of a partially finished work space. Our phones will be slower as we will not have a reception area for two weeks. We have left many spaces to accommodate urgent issues during these weeks so you are still welcome to call with your concerns. If it is not urgent please hold calls until Sept 1. We hope by this day we will be back to normal.

All the best,

The Physicians and Staff at Birchtree Family Medicine

Covid Vaccine 6 Months - 5 Years of Age (Posted August 5/22)


We will be booking a vaccine clinic on Wednesday, August 10 from 1:30 PM-5:30 PM for children ages 6 months to 5 years. PLEASE CALL TO BOOK. As your physicians, we highly recommend that your child be vaccinated. The Moderna vaccine is what is currently available to this age group. A second dose needs to be administered 8 weeks after the first. We will be doing these doses on Oct 5 from 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM. You can also get either or both doses done through Public Health.

As an aside, we are anticipating closures this month to finally complete the renovation. The limited appointment availability created by the closures is hard on all of us. If your appointment is for a general wellness check please try to book it from October onwards. Otherwise, we apologize for the wait times. We are truly trying to accommodate everyone the best we can but the contractors will require us to close at some point. A second email should come out early next week with the closure dates as soon as the contractors confirm with us.

Take care and stay safe,

The Physicians and Staff at Birchtree Family Medicine

 

Summer 2022: Hours and Updates (Posted June 23/22)

We hope this update finds you well. As we finally enter into our beautiful summer months, we wanted to update you about a few changes.

Our summer hours are as follows:

Monday: 730am-8pm
Tuesday: 730am-8pm
Wednesday: 730am-8pm
Thursday: 730am-3pm
Friday: 730am-12pm

As many of you may already know, we are renovating our clinic space. We are excited to expand into the area beside our current office. Our eventual clinic will be much more spacious and usable. We will require your patience during this time. There will be select days that our clinic will be closed to accommodate this transition. We are waiting on the contractor and inspectors to confirm all closures. Please be kind to our staff, as this is no one's fault. We will do our best to keep wait times reasonable and will switch to virtual visits when we can. Updated closures will be posted to our website and emailed when we know more. Same-day availability remains for urgent issues.

You may have noticed a few new faces here at Birchtree. We ask for your patience with our new staff - they are very excited to be working with us, and are eagerly learning our computer systems. Again, please be kind.

As always, we hope you are well and that you enjoy your summer and remain healthy.

All the best,

The Staff and Physicians at Birchtree Family Medicine

COVID VACCINES - Fourth/Second Booster Doses (Posted April 10/22)

          Ontario has recently updated its eligibility for fourth/second booster doses of the COVID 19 vaccine. The following people are currently eligible for a fourth/second booster dose:
Persons 60 years of age and older
First Nations, Inuit or Metis persons, and their household members, 18 years and older
Persons who are moderately or severely immunocompromised
Residents of congregate care settings, such as long term care facilities and retirement homes

         The timing between the third and fourth vaccine should be a minimum of 3 months (84 days), and guidelines suggest that 5 months (140 days) between doses may be the optimal window.

         We will be offering COVID vaccine appointments approximately monthly - our next scheduled clinic will be Thursday, April 21, 2022. Please call the office to book an appointment - (905)637-8833.

         We are also offering COVID vaccines for children ages 5-11 years old and for anyone who has not yet received their first or second vaccine. Please call the office and our staff will assist you in booking at an appropriate time.

         When we see you for your appointment, you may receive Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Our supply is dependent on Public Health, and we are often unaware of which vaccine we will receive, so please book your appointment regardless of vaccine brand.

         We thank you for doing your part in protecting yourself and those around you from COVID-19.

Take care,
The Doctors and Staff at Birchtree Family Medicine

COVID Vaccination for Children 5-11 years old (Posted Jan. 11/22)

         As you know, children who are 5-11 years old are now eligible for COVID vaccination. Recent numbers from the Ontario Ministry suggest that only 47% of eligible children have received one dose of their vaccine.

         We are administering vaccines for this age group for as long as we have supply. Please email us at birchtreefammed@gmail.com if you would like to book an appointment for your child. Having had COVID or suspected COVID infection does not guarantee immunity, specifically against any future strains of COVID virus. We are still encouraging parents to vaccinate their children in spite of possibly having had COVID. If you have questions about timing of the vaccine with infectious symptoms, please call us and we will help to field any questions we can.

         Also, a note on the interval between vaccine doses - at this time, NACI recommends an 8 week interval between the first and second dose of vaccine. This is to maximize immunity over a longer period of time. However, Pfizer has authorized a vaccine interval of 21 days between doses. We will support any dosing interval between 3 and 8 weeks, in an effort to ensure that you are vaccinating at a time that works best for your family. The NACI recommendations are attached in a document below.



         At this time, children must have had their 5th birthday to be eligible for vaccination. We are hopeful that this eligibility will be expanded to all children born in 2017 once vaccine supply improves.

         As always, we are happy to answer questions you may have and we strongly encourage you to book in your child for vaccination.

Sincerely,

The Doctors and Staff at Birchtree Family Medicine

Non-OHIP Covered Fee Changes (Posted Jan. 10/22)

There are two changes to private pay health care fees that we would like to make you aware of. Both of these changes are effective immediately. Please see below.

Driver’s Physical - cost is now $150. If this cost is not covered by your company and you are concerned about payment, please let us know.

Block Billing - after reviewing this program, we are concerned it is disadvantageous to our seniors. We will be implementing the following changes to the Block Billing Program:

Block billing is only for prescription refills. Forms, office visits for non-OHIP-covered procedures, etc. will no longer be covered under block billing fees.

Anyone aged 80 and above will not require block billing. There will be no cost to prescription refills for this age group.*

*If you are age 80 and above and have recently renewed your block billing please let us know if you would like a refund. We will not be offering refunds to other age groups as we will honor the term of their current block billing as stated below.

We will honor current block billing under the original policy of coverage until the annual expiration of your current block billing plan.

Please keep in mind block billing is as always OPTIONAL. Our goal is to have patients check in with us annually for a medication renewal appointment. At these appointments, we try to line up medications with refills for as long as is appropriate (often the full year). These appointments also allow us to ensure your medications are optimized for dosing and type. This also should avoid the need for patients to pay prescription renewal fees. **An annual medication review appointment is especially important for our seniors as medications often need to be adjusted with age.

There are no changes to any other private pay fees at this time.

We still have appointments for vaccine boosters. Please continue to email birchtreefammed@gmail.com for an appointment.

Please continue to be mindful of our zero-tolerance policy for any abusive behaviour towards our staff.

All the best,

Doctors and Staff at Birchtree Family Medicine

COVID/OMICRON January Update (Posted Jan. 5/22)

Dear Patient,

         As you are aware, the new variant of COVID infection, Omicron, has been making quite the impact on Ontarians. In this constantly changing environment and with more and more patients testing positive for COVID, we have been forced to make a few changes in how we are providing care. The following changes will be effective immediately:

•       All patients who enter our office will be double-masked, with at least one medical-grade mask. If you have an N95 or KN95 mask, we ask that you wear this to your appointment. We will provide you with a mask if you do not have a medical-grade mask to wear.
•       We will again be moving appointments virtually where possible. If you have an upcoming appointment for a “Physical/Wellness Check”, we will be contacting you to either postpone, reschedule or switch your appointment to a phone call. We will still be conducting in-person appointments when required and doing preventative care in person where required.
•       We do not intend to stop providing in-person care, but we need to do so in a manner that is safe for all. If you are unvaccinated and require an in-person assessment, this will be booked at the end of the day, so as not to put other patients at higher risk.

         We are continuing to run COVID vaccine clinics, and we are happy to report that we have given more than 600 vaccines to date. If you are still in need of your vaccine booster, please contact us by email at birchtreefammed@gmail.com. At this time, we also have vaccines for children aged 5-11 years old. We do not know how long our supply will last so do not delay in contacting us. **If you secure a vaccine appointment elsewhere and need to cancel your appointment with us, please CALL us to do so - not showing up to your appointment wastes a vaccine that could go to another person in need.

         If you have not yet been vaccinated, please please consider getting vaccinated now. Although we are seeing that many vaccinated people are still contracting COVID, specifically Omicron, the severity of illness is proving to be much less intense and hospitalization/ICU admission rates are much lower in those who have been vaccinated.

         Please be aware that the clinic has both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. You may receive either. We anticipate a province-wide shortage of Pfizer very soon so likely the majority will be Moderna after January. Please do not decline your vaccine due to which one you are receiving at the time of the appointment. Once the vials are open we can not save the doses. This wastes a valuable dose of vaccine. As your physicians, we encourage you to get either booster vaccine as soon as possible regardless of type.

         If you are symptomatic or if you have a member of your household who has tested positive, please isolate immediately and continue to do so. The best place to call to determine the next steps is Public Health. We recognize the frustration with trying to obtain testing and we assure you that Public Health is doing its best, in spite of being completely overwhelmed right now. We are happy to answer questions as best we can.

Click HERE or on the icon below for a link to the latest information regarding testing and isolation timelines.




Please be patient with our office - our phone lines are overwhelmed, our staff is stretched and we are all trying our best to stay healthy, so we can continue to care for you and keep you healthy.

Sincerely,

The Doctors and Staff at Birchtree Family Medicine

Yours truly,

Drs Johnson, Jackman and Jones

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Holiday Hours and COVID Clinic Updates (Posted Dec. 19/21)

Dear Patient, 

We hope this email finds you well. A few updates going into the holidays: 


COVID Vaccines: In anticipation of all adults over 18 being able to have their third COVID shot as of Jan 3 we have opened as many vaccines clinics as we can. To book these slots please email your broad availability to birchtreefammed@gmail.com and we will email you a confirmation date and time. If this date does not work, feel free to call in to adjust it. We are trying to use email for the initial booking to free up the phones as much as possible. Please be aware that bookings are limited. Appointments must be booked in groups to ensure the entire vial is used once opened which further complicates things. 


Holiday Children’s Aid Program: Thank you to everyone who participated! We will continue to collect donations until Monday Dec 20, 2021. If you would like to donate but miss these deadlines donations can always be made directly to Halton Children’s Aid through their website. 


Holiday Hours: December brings two blocked off days for professional development and the holidays.


Dec 15, 16: CLOSED
Dec 23: 8-12
Dec 24: CLOSED
Dec 27: CLOSED
Dec 28-31: 8-12
Jan 3: CLOSED 


We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. All bookings over the holidays have been left open for urgent issues to be booked the same day.  Please let us know if you require assistance. 

Yours truly,

Drs Johnson, Jackman and Jones

Covid Vaccines and Clinic Updates (Posted Dec. 3/21)

We hope this email finds you well.


We now have both child (5-11yr old) and adult COVID vaccines. For adults, we also have the option of Moderna or Pzifer. Vaccinations for adults will be booked Tuesday afternoons and for children Thursday afternoons. Appointments are to be booked by phoning our office at 905-637-8833.


Our holiday donations program for children’s aid is ongoing. A reminder for those wishing to contribute that the due date is December 16, 2021. Thank you to those who have already donated!


A note on phone appointments. We know that some patients prefer phone appointments for convenience. If appropriate for the concern, we are happy to continue to offer them. However, moving forward, if you are driving while speaking with us for your appointment we will end the call and ask that you rebook. This is not safe and is happening far too often.


In the coming weeks, we will send out an updated holiday schedule. Please keep an eye out for that email.


All the best,


Doctors and Staff at Birchtree Family Medicine

Summer After Hours and Covid Vaccine Clinic Updates (Posted July 19/21)

Dear Patient:

 

We hope this email finds you well. We have done a review of our after-hours use and because Saturday mornings are not being well utilized, we will now be doing our after hours on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesday evenings. As a reminder, these appointments are for urgent medical concerns and are booked by phoning our office at 905-637-8833.

We also want to thank everyone who was able to book in for a COVID vaccine through our clinic - it is with your participation that we are slowly targeting COVID and reducing the overall risk of transmission. We are unfortunately not likely to receive any further vaccine, so we do urge you to book through the Halton booking channels or through your pharmacy if you still require a dose of the COVID vaccine.

Enjoy your summer - stay well and healthy!

Yours truly,

Drs Johnson, Jackman and Jones

Clinic Updates (Posted June 17/21)

Dear Patient:

We hope this message finds you well.

Our summer hours will be in effect starting Monday, June 21, 2021. They are as follows:


Monday: 8am - 730pm

Tuesday: 8am - 730pm

Wednesday: 8am - 4pm

Thursday: 8am - 2pm

Friday: 8am - 1pm

Saturday: 8am - 12pm ***Urgent phone calls only


As you may know, Dr. Johnson is expecting a baby boy at the end of June. She will be off on maternity leave until Sept 2021. Dr. Therese Kozminski will be covering for her. Dr. Kozminski has many years of hospital-based and family medicine experience. We encourage you to book with her during the summer rather than wait until September for your appointment, otherwise, wait times will be very long. She looks forward to meeting you.


In addition, Dr. Jones will have a family medicine resident, Dr. Shayne Snider, joining her in July 2021. Family medicine residents spend their time both in family practice and in other areas, so Dr. Snider will be in and out of our office over the next two years. He looks forward to meeting you as well.


Take care and enjoy your summer.


Sincerely,


The Staff and Physicians at Birchtree Family Medicine

Pfizer Vaccine Availability (Posted June 16/21)

Dear Patient:

Pfizer Vaccine Has Arrived


We are pleased to announce that we now have the Pfizer vaccine to administer to eligible patients. We will be following the Halton Public Health Guidelines for vaccine administration and will be using their eligibility criteria to determine the priority of vaccines.  The criteria are posted at the end of our email.

These eligibility criteria are constantly changing and we will inform you of changes to the criteria as we learn about them.

We will be using an email booking system rather than using our already busy phone lines. If you would like to book your vaccine, please indicate by email:

      -  If this is your 1st or 2nd COVID vaccine

      -  If this is your 2nd vaccine, please indicate the date of your 1st vaccine (and send us your receipt, if possible)

      -  If you are willing to be on a 30-minute standby list - this means you are able to get to our office within 30 minutes of us           calling you to receive your vaccine

We will contact you by phone to confirm an appointment date and to provide you with further instructions. Please note you will be notified 24-48 hrs prior to your vaccine appointment. We will not be prebooking beyond that due to an insecure supply. Also, if you are already booked for a first or second dose elsewhere you can still register on our list to try to get the shot earlier.  However, once booked with our clinic you must cancel your other appointment.

Thank you,
The Staff and Physicians at Birchtree Family Medicine

Halton Region


COVID-19 Vaccine - Primary Care Prioritization

Authorized Age Groups for Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
-  Individuals 18 years of age and older without contraindication to the vaccine.

Authorized Age Groups for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
-  Individuals 12 years of age and older without contraindication to the vaccine.

Authorized Age Groups for AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine (second doses only)
-  Authorized by Health Canada for use in individuals 18 years of age and older without contraindication.
-  Recommended by NACI for use in individuals 30 years of age and older without contraindication.



Interchangeability of COVID-19 Vaccines and Second Dose Interval


1st Dose AstraZeneca Vaccine:


-  Individuals who received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for their first dose may receive either an AstraZeneca or            mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) for their second dose unless contraindicated.
-  Second doses of the AstraZeneca or mRNA vaccine may be administered at an 8 to 12-week interval with informed                consent to rostered patients (and non-rostered patients who received a first dose of AstraZeneca through the clinic), in            alignment with Provincial Direction.

1st Dose mRNA Vaccine:

 

-  Individuals who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) for their first dose may receive the same                or different mRNA vaccine product to complete their vaccine series. While it is preferable for individuals to receive                the same mRNA vaccine product to complete their series, second doses should not be significantly delayed in order to            complete a vaccine series using the same mRNA vaccine, unless clinically indicated. 
-  Second doses of an mRNA vaccine may be administered to rostered patients at a 21-day interval for Pfizer or a 28-                day interval for Moderna. If a different vaccine product is used to complete the vaccine series, use the authorized interval      in the product monograph for the first vaccine product given (i.e. 21 days for Pfizer and 28 days for Moderna). Please          prioritize second doses for rostered patients using the list below.


-  To prevent vaccine wastage, second doses for non-rostered patients may be provided at the interval authorized by the most      recent Provincial Second Dose Eligibility.

-  Patients who received their first dose through another channel may receive their second dose through their primary care          provider.


Youth Immunization Program (ages 12-25)


-  Youth aged 12 to 17 are eligible to receive two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at an interval of +/- 56          days by the end of August, dependent on supply. (must be born in 2009 and have had their 12th birthday on or before        the date of the first dose appointment) 


-  Youth aged 18 to 25 are eligible to receive two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at an        interval of +/- 56 days by the end of August, dependent on supply.

Note: Please confirm that persons vaccinated in primary care do not already have an appointment booked at another clinic or pharmacy. If they do, please have the person cancel the appointment promptly, so that it can be offered to another person. For Halton Region Public Health and Hospital clinics, this can be done online or by calling 311.


Persons eligible for a shortened interval as of June 14th, 2021:

-  Individuals aged 70 and over

-  Individuals who received their first dose on or before May 9, 2021

-  Individuals with the following health conditions or treatments:

-  Solid organ transplant recipients

-  Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients

-  Malignant hematologic disorders receiving active treatment (examples: chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy),      excluding individuals receiving solely hormonal therapy or radiation therapy

-  Malignant non-hematologic solid tumors receiving active treatment (examples: chemotherapy, targeted therapies,                    immunotherapy), excluding individuals receiving solely hormonal therapy or radiation therapy

-  Individuals undergoing hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis

-  Individuals receiving treatment with an anti-CD20 agent (e.g. rituximab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab) 

-  Staff, residents, and designated essential caregivers from:
        -  Long-term care homes
        -  Retirement homes

        -  Assisted living facilities
        -  Congregate living settings for seniors 


-  Indigenous Peoples (including First Nations, Inuit, and Metis populations) and all immediate household members

-  Highest-priority health care workers

-  Workers responding to critical events as part of their regular duties (as per highest-priority health care workers):
         -  ORNGE
         -  Paramedics                   
         -  Firefighters providing medical first response
         -  Police and special constables providing medical first response

Update on COVID Vaccination - 40+ year olds and Pregnant Patients

Dear Patient, 

 

As of Monday, April 26, pregnant individuals have been moved into the “highest risk category” of Phase II Covid Vaccination Prioritization. Any pregnant individual may now book for their Covid vaccine via the Halton or Hamilton online booking system. There are many Covid-positive pregnant individuals in our ICUs currently. We have no concerns about you getting immunized while pregnant. We are highly concerned about our pregnant patients contracting Covid however, as the outcomes can be very poor in both the short and long term. Please get vaccinated. Please have anyone eligible that you are in contact with get vaccinated.

 

Please see the following document regarding pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine. Should you have any questions, we would be happy to speak with you at any time. 

 

https://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/vaccine/COVID-19_vaccination_pregnancy_decision_making_support_tool.pdf

 

Also, any individual in Ontario who is 40 years old or older (or turning 40 in 2021) is now eligible for an Astra Zeneca vaccine through a participating pharmacy. You can find a pharmacy and join a waitlist by using the link below. 

 

https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations

 

We have received several questions about the Astra Zeneca vaccine with regards to blood clots and its overall efficacy - we would like to reiterate that we strongly believe that the best vaccine is the first one you are eligible to receive. The risk of COVID is currently at an all-time high and we are seeing cases in the ICU of younger and younger patients, most of whom were previously healthy. We strongly urge you to book a vaccine as soon as you are eligible. If you have questions, please call us. The link below has more information about the Astra Zeneca vaccine. 

 

https://tools.cep.health/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/CEP-21_007_AZ-JJ_Vaccine_info_04-21_r4.pdf?utm_source=link.cep.health&utm_medium=urlshortener&utm_campaign=vaccine

 

Please stay vigilant, stay safe and please continue to follow public health guidelines. Thank you. 

 

The Doctors and Staff at Birchtree Family Medicine

COVID VACCINE UPDATE (Posted April 11/21)

Dear Patient,

We hope this email finds you safe and healthy. As you well know, COVID cases are higher than they’ve ever been and we are currently in a lockdown/third wave of this never-ending pandemic. Please do your best to stay home, practice social distancing and wear your mask when out, as per public health guidelines.

Our office is open for appointments - both virtual and in-person appointments are being conducted at this time. Please have patience with us as we are doing our absolute best to answer our phones and care for everyone. We recognize the frustration of being put on hold or waiting in your car for your appointment time. Sanitizing our rooms to ensure they are safe for you is time-consuming so we do appreciate your patience with us.

COVID VACCINE UPDATE
We do NOT yet have any vaccines at Birchtree Family Medicine, and we are not aware of when or if we will be receiving vaccines to administer to patients. Phase 2 of vaccination, which is set to include patients with immunocompromised or serious medical conditions has NOT yet started. We are not aware of when Ontario will transition into Phase 2 of vaccination.

As of Friday, April 16, Halton’s vaccine eligibility criteria will change. Please see the following link:

https://www.getrave.ca/content/6955669/b6a7113a-2a49-46a1-a557-f8a8adfac89d/380cdac8-9eae-48da-b50d-644924a063e6/2021-04-09-COVID-19_Vaccine_Update_26.pdf

Currently, Halton is vaccinating all adults 55 and older, as well as other select populations. See the following website for more information:

https://www.halton.ca/For-Residents/Public-Health

Hamilton is currently vaccinating all adults 60 and older, as well as other select populations. See the following website for more information:

https://www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines

Our website will have links for all of this above information as well - please visit birchtreefamilymedicine.ca for the most up to date information.

Of note, to be completely vaccinated against COVID requires TWO vaccines. The time interval between vaccine doses has been extended for the majority of the population (health care workers included). An exception has been made for patients who are transplant recipients or who are undergoing active chemotherapy for cancer treatments. Please contact our office or review the Halton Public Health website for further details about this.

ASTRA ZENECA VACCINE
There has been a lot of media attention given to the Astra Zeneca vaccine recently. You may have questions about the safety of this vaccine for yourself or a loved one. Our opinion is that the AZ vaccine is safe to receive, as the risk of side effect (most worrisome being a blood clot) is very very rare, nearly one in a million. Canada has administered over 300 000 AZ vaccines and there have been ZERO serious side effects noted. The risk of contracting COVID at this time is much higher and thus, we recommend that anyone who is eligible for a vaccine go ahead with any vaccine that is offered.

We are happy to help answer any further questions you may have, but we ask that you try to search the above websites for information before calling our office, as we are still providing care for all of our patients and answering vaccine questions has taken a considerable amount of our time. We also recognize that this process has been quite confusing for many, as the guidelines are all region-specific and ever-changing. We will continue to keep you informed as best we can.

Thank you for your time, and we hope you stay safe and well.

Yours truly,

Drs. Jackman, Johnson and Jones

COVID VACCINE UPDATE (Posted Mar. 18/21)

Dear Patient,


Please see the following Memo from Public Health:
As of Friday March 19, the following Halton residents are eligible to book a COVID vaccination:
Adults 75 years or older
Indigenous adults (including First Nations, Metis, and Inuit populations) 55 years of age or older


Starting Friday, March 19, the following groups of Halton residents will be eligible to book appointments, at any of the five Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic sites:

Adults aged 75 years or older

Indigenous adults (including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations) 55 years of age and older who live in Halton


Clinics are by appointment only (please no walk-ins) and must be booked online through Halton Region’s booking system at halton.ca/COVID19vaccines or through 311 if assistance is required.


Please do not call clinic locations directly; bookings can only be made through Halton Region. 


Clinic locations are:

Gellert Community Centre, 10241 Eighth Line, Georgetown

St. Volodymyr Cultural Centre, 1280 Dundas Street, Oakville

Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, 3001 Hospital Gate, Oakville

Compass Point Bible Church, 1500 Kerns Road, Burlington

FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton, 1010 Main Street East, Milton

Joseph Brant Hospital 1245 Lakeshore Road, Burlington (located at the hospital’s Pandemic Response Unit (PRU), which can be accessed through the South Tower Main Entrance off Lakeshore Road)


Eligible residents, who are either 75 years of age and older or Indigenous adults aged 55 years of age or older, can call 311 if they require booking support. Please only call 311 if you are unable to book online to ensure those residents requiring support can be assisted.  Halton Region is offering transportation services to and from appointments for residents who require support, free of charge.  There will be appointments available to book for every eligible resident. All appointments are contingent on the availability of vaccine supply.  Please note, no exceptions are being made to the current eligibility.


TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT, PEOPLE WILL NEED: 

Name and address (including postal code)

Government issued I.D. (Ontario Health card preferred)
Home phone number and/or mobile phone number, if applicable

Email address is strongly recommended for confirmation email and notification in case of any changes

 

Yours truly,

Drs Johnson, Jackman and Jones

COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out for age 80+ (Posted Mar.2/21)

Dear Patient,

Firstly, we want to recognize that this past year has been a roller-coaster for all of us, to say the least. As your family doctors, we have seen the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on all of you, and we know that you look forward to it being over as much as we do.

As you likely know, Health Canada has approved the use of three vaccines against COVID-19. These include the Pzfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and most recently, the Astra Zeneca vaccine. These vaccines represent what many of us consider to be a great feat in modern medicine. From identifying a new virus to having a vaccine against said virus in less than one year has taken an incredibly coordinated effort. We strongly support these vaccines and our resounding answer as to whether or not you should receive this vaccine when available to you, is YES.

If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, please refer to the following fact sheet, or any of the “Frequently Asked Questions” on www.covid-19ontario.cawww.halton.cawww.hamilton.ca, or www.canada.ca.

https://files.ontario.ca/moh-covid-19-vaccines-fact-sheet-en-2021-02-05.pdf

Vaccination clinics will be done by region. If you do not reside in the Halton or Hamilton regions, please review your local public health vaccine roll out plan. As of Wednesday, March 3, Halton residents who are 80 years and older will be able to book their vaccines online, by visiting halton.ca/COVIDvaccines. Vaccine clinics will be held at a central location in each of the Halton cities, and will run through March and April. For those of our patients who live in Hamilton and are 85 years and older, you can call the Public Health Services COVID-19 Hotline at 905-974-9848, option 7 to register for a vaccine.

Contrary to what has been released via social media in the past weeks, family medicine clinics are not yet going to be involved in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. We will do our best to keep you informed of vaccine plans as we learn of them.

Take care and stay well,

The Physicians and Staff at Birchtree Family Medicine

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