In spring 2021, 16 out of 17 postal codes in Scarborough were classified by the Ministry of Health as COVID ‘hotspots’, reflecting the inequitable distribution of the burden of disease. To overcome this, an innovative solution was required. Created by Scarborough Health Network (SHN) initially to support healthcare staff who had questions about taking the vaccine, SHN soon saw the potential for VaxFacts to serve the broader community. SHN’s VaxFacts Clinic provides patients with the opportunity to speak to a physician, one-on-one, in a confidential, judgement-free, telephone appointment to address any questions or concerns about the COVID vaccine. This direct access to a trusted, expert physician is a distinguishing feature of VaxFacts. Appointments are available 7 days a week, in 200+ languages via live interpreter, and clients do not require OHIP. Its overwhelming success led VaxFacts to quickly become the first of its kind vaccine hesitancy service in Ontario, serving patients from across the province. It reduces health inequities by taking an intentional focus on servicing communities that traditionally face barriers in healthcare, including refugees, newcomers, and racialized communities. VaxFacts transforms the definition of person-centered, accessible care, by allowing patients to access appointments from home, in a judgement-free space, and in their own language. VaxFacts supports clinical care by reducing the burden on family doctors and specialists by providing expert knowledge and consultation on vaccinations. VaxFacts strives to maximize system value through an efficient use of physicians’ time, and by applying an evaluative lens to the services it provides.
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