Survey Shows Primary Care is Willing to Distribute Vaccines Widely and Equitably

Primary Care Offers Assets, Including Experience and Relationships with Patients

WASHINGTON, February 24, 2021—The Larry A. Green Center, in collaboration with the Primary Care Collaborative (PCC) and 3rd Conversation, today released new data showing that primary care is willing to help meet the nation’s COVID-19 vaccine goals through outreach, education, advocacy and administration of the vaccine. However, primary care is not yet being leveraged for these purposes, despite the rapid ramping up of the vaccines’ distribution.

According to a survey of more than 900 primary care clinicians fielded in mid-February, 89% of clinicians want their practices to be a vaccination site, but only 22% are considered one by their health department, local hospital or health system. Targeting groups that are most vulnerable and in need of the vaccine is a key strategy for addressing vaccine equity, and the survey shows that primary care can assist with this. Over 60% of clinicians surveyed have created eligibility groups and carried out proactive outreach to educate their patients.

“Primary care is the largest platform in our country’s healthcare system,” said Rebecca Etz, PhD, co-director of The Larry A. Green Center. “It has the experience and expertise in administering vaccines as well as established relationships with communities and patients. These are all things we need right now. Americans are desperate to get vaccinated, and primary care is willing, so what are we waiting for?”

The survey further revealed the assets that primary care can offer to the systems being developed for the vaccines’ administration, starting with an understanding of the needs. Forty percent of clinicians said they have already invested significant time trying to find a vaccine for their most vulnerable patients. A huge majority (88%) note that communities with high COVID-19 positivity rates are not being prioritized, and most (63%) believe scheduling a vaccine appointment takes a high degree of knowledge of technology and health.

“We need to be running on all cylinders in this vaccination effort and coordinating across sectors,” said Ann Greiner, President and CEO, Primary Care Collaborative. “We are calling upon the federal government and states to incorporate primary care into vaccine education and administration strategies.  Primary care has a relationship with the vast majority of Americans and can prioritize people who are in greatest need to further vaccine equity.”

Since March 2020, the Larry A. Green Center has collected data from primary care clinicians on their abilities and attitudes in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest in the series of regular surveys shows that 73% of clinicians report that their relationships with patients have been key to addressing vaccine hesitancy, another hurdle in achieving herd immunity from the coronavirus.

“There are an awful lot of people and their families searching everywhere for vaccines right now, and wouldn’t it be easier if primary care clinicians were equipped to handle these requests?” said Christine Bechtel, cofounder of 3rd Conversation, a community of patients and clinicians. “The hard truth is that there are also a lot of people hesitant about getting vaccinated, and these data show that primary care professionals can help move those in ‘wait and see’ mode to ‘can’t wait to be protected’ mode.”

The survey of clinicians was fielded Feb. 12-16, 2021, and received 910 responses from clinicians in 47 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. 70% of respondents identified their practice as family medicine, 14% as internal medicine, 6% as pediatrics, 5% as geriatrics, and 6% as other. 69% identified as MDs, 6% as DOs, 16% as NPs, and 9% other. 9% work in community health clinics or similar and 24% in rural settings. 29% work in a practice with 1-3 clinicians and 41% had more than 10 clinicians. 29% work in a practice that is self-owned, 39% are system-owned, 6% are government-owned, and 4% are membership-based.

More information about the survey 
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
  • Christine Bechtel, co-founder of 3rd Conversation
If you would like to speak with them, please contact Stephen Padre (Primary Care Collaborative's communications manager),, 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.

About 3rd Conversation:

3rd Conversation is a national initiative reimagining the future of health care by reinventing the clinician-patient relationship for the modern era. Powered by X4 Health, 3rd Conversation works at both the local and national levels to address health professional burnout, improve patient experience and realize the promise of humanity and connection in our health care system. Funding support is provided by the Morris-Singer Foundation and the New York State Health Foundation.

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