Summer After Hours and Covid Vaccine Clinic Updates (Posted July 19/21)
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!
Drs Johnson, Jackman and Jones
Clinic Updates (Posted June 17/21)
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.
The Staff and Physicians at Birchtree Family Medicine
Pfizer Vaccine Availability (Posted June 16/21)
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.
The Staff and Physicians at Birchtree Family Medicine
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):
- Firefighters providing medical first response
- Police and special constables providing medical first response
Update on COVID Vaccination - 40+ year olds and Pregnant Patients
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.
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.
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.
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)
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:
Currently, Halton is vaccinating all adults 55 and older, as well as other select populations. See the following website for more information:
Hamilton is currently vaccinating all adults 60 and older, as well as other select populations. See the following website for more information:
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.
Drs. Jackman, Johnson and Jones
COVID VACCINE UPDATE (Posted Mar. 18/21)
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
Drs Johnson, Jackman and Jones
COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out for age 80+ (Posted Mar.2/21)
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.ca, www.halton.ca, www.hamilton.ca, or www.canada.ca.
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
January Lockdown Update (Posted Dec. 30/20)
As we head into January, we want to keep you informed about further changes to our appointments and practices at Birchtree Family Medicine.
Ontario is in a province-wide lockdown. As a result, we will be continuing with primarily telephone appointments, in an attempt to keep both our patients and our staff safe and healthy. If you need an appointment, please give us a call and we will book you in for a telephone appointment. If the doctor you are speaking with requires an in person appointment with you, this will be scheduled in subsequently.
We have also split up our staff such that there will only be one doctor and minimal staff members in our office at any one time. Our door will unfortunately again remain locked, so please call us if you have arrived for an appointment or you need to pick up any documentation.
We sincerely thank you for your patience with us as we try to manage this lockdown to the best of our ability. Our clinic hours will remain the same (see below). We will also be working from home when not in the office in an effort to minimize any increase in wait times. Telephone medicine is not our favourite way to practice medicine, and we are really looking forward to seeing you all in the office again sometime soon.
Please take good care,
The doctors and staff at Birchtree Family Medicine
Monday: 7:30am - 8:00pm
Tuesday: 7:30am - 8:00pm
Wednesday: 7:30am - 8:00pm
Thursday: 730am - 5:00pm
Friday: 7:30 - 1:00
Christmas Hours & News Update (Posted Dec. 24/20)
1. We are in the process of updating our email, internet connection and website. We understand that some people are receiving emails multiple times and we are working hard to fix this. We thank you for your patience.
2. The Halton Children’s Aid fundraiser was far more successful than we imagined during this difficult year. Over $7000 was raised!! We can’t thank you enough for your generosity.
3. COVID-19: Cases are continuing to rise and we are anticipating a province wide lockdown (which may be announced by the time this email reaches you). Unfortunately, we will return to almost exclusively telephone appointments. This is not our preferred way of practicing medicine, but keeping our staff and patients safe remains our top priority. If your appointment is booked as a phone call but you think your issue requires an in person appointment, rest assured that your physician will review things with you and book an in person appointment if necessary.
4. Holiday hours:
Monday Dec 21: 730am-730pm
Tuesday Dec 22: 730am-730pm
Wednesday Dec 23: 730am-1230pm
Thursday Dec 24: Closed
Friday Dec 25: Closed
Monday Dec 28: Closed
Tuesday: Dec 29: 8am-12pm (urgent appointments)
Wednesday: Dec 30: 8am-12pm (urgent appointments)
Thursday: Dec 31: 8am-12pm (urgent appointments)
5. January 2021: Please check your email over the holidays for an update of potential schedule changes due to COVID-19.
We want to wish everyone a wonderful and safe holiday season. We know it will be difficult, but please respect provincial guidelines to limit social gatherings. COVID case counts have never been higher and we need to work together to keep each other safe.
Dr. Jackman, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Jones
Annual Christmas ‘Adopt-A-Family' Program (Posted Nov. 20/20)
This holiday season we are working with Halton Children’s Aid again to provide Christmas gifts and necessities to Burlington children. Like most things in 2020, the donation process will need to look a little different. Only gift cards and cash donations will be accepted. Our program has grown each year due to your generosity. This year, Birchtree Family Medicine was given an
Ambassador’s Award from Halton Children’s Aid for being among their top donors. This honour is due to your generosity in supporting this program. We can’t thank you enough.
In order to donate this year, we ask that you keep in mind that we have had to restrict flow through the clinic to keep everyone safe. Cash donations can be called in to the office and paid by credit card. Gift cards, cash and checks can be dropped off at the office, but please call us from the parking lot to let us know you are coming up. Someone will meet you at the door. For after hours drop off donations can be slid under our door in an envelope. Alternatively, you can visit the Halton Children’s Aid Society website to donate directly.
Examples of what the money will be used towards:
$25 = a stocking filled with treats;
$50 = a gift for a youth, warm clothing, winter boots;
$75 = a comfort kit—items for children, teens and young adults who may be separated from their families, providing immediate needs and comforting items to help during difficult transitions;
$100 = groceries for a small family;
$300 = groceries for a large family
$500 = Life Start Kits—provided to youth transitioning from foster care to independent living. Kits contain items needed to set up their new home including their first meal.
Ideas for Gift Cards
Pre-Paid Visa and MasterCard
Grocery Stores (No Frills, Walmart, Food Basics etc)
Skip the Dishes
DONATIONS MUST BE IN BY DECEMBER 16, 2020
Drs Johnson, Jackman and Jones
FLU SHOTS (Posted Nov. 20/20)
*ALL APPOINTMENTS FOR ANY CONCERN OR FLU SHOTS MUST BE MADE BY PHONE, NOT EMAIL*
We have flu shots! At this time we have both the high-dose (for those over 65) and the regular flu shots available. We have a limited number of each. If you still need your flu shot please call (do not email) to book an appointment. We will have evening appointments available one day a week. Please wear a short sleeve shirt and please bring your valid health card to your appointment.
Parents with young children are asked to book an in-office appointment.
Drs Johnson, Jackman and Jones
Flu Shot Clinics will take place on:
Tuesday, Nov. 24/20
3:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Wednesday, Dec. 2/20
3:30 pm - 8:00 pm
ONGOING FLU CLINIC DELAYS (Posted Oct. 21/20)
We still do not have enough flu shots to properly run an outdoor, drive-thru flu vaccine clinic. The small supply that we do have will be going towards those patients who are deemed “high risk” (elderly, those with multiple comorbid health issues) and we will contact these patients directly to book their flu vaccine appointment.
If you are able to obtain a flu vaccine via your pharmacy, we encourage you to do so. If you have a child who is unable to receive their flu vaccine at a pharmacy (most pharmacies will not vaccinate children under 5 years old), please contact our office and we will do our best to book your child in for their flu vaccine.
We understand that these delays are incredibly frustrating - we are frustrated too. The Ontario Government has clearly not secured enough flu vaccine. We will continue to try to obtain flu vaccines from Public Health and we will keep you informed via email and our website, www.birchtreefamilymedicine.ca. At this time, we are not anticipating ever having enough vaccines to run a Flu Clinic. If we are able to expand our vaccinations beyond high risk patients and children under five, we will let you know.
Thank you for your continued patience.
The Doctors and Staff at Birchtree Family Medicine
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