Each morning earlier this year, Atlanta general internist Sandra A. Fryhofer, MD, would rise at 6 a.m. to cruise all the COVID-19 vaccine-appointment websites for openings for her senior patients at mass-vaccination sites, pharmacies, grocery stores, warehouse stores—seemingly everywhere but in her own practice.
Dr. Fryhofer’s internal medicine practice spent several hours of staff time daily on “emails, texts, calls, even scheduling vaccine appointments for patients who are not internet savvy,” she said. “It was a nightmare, but we did it because we knew how important it was for our patients to receive this lifesaving vaccine.”
By the time the state health department finally came calling with an allotment of COVID-19 vaccines for Dr. Fryhofer’s practice, she had already helped secure vaccinations for all but of a handful of her eligible patients. The Georgia Department of Health was able to connect her with a physician practice in an underserved area in need of the doses and that could make better use of the precious commodity.
As trying as those early months when Americans’ demand for vaccines far outstripped the supply were for patients and doctors, AMA members across the country say now is arguably when doctors’ most difficult work will begin.
My latest for the AMA. The whole shebang.