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March 2, 2021

Medical group argues for larger role for doctors’ offices in vaccination efforts

Photo | CT MIrror Cars line up at a 10-lane mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Rentschler Field in late January.

Doctors’ offices should play a larger role in the state’s vaccination efforts and can help bridge gaps in computer access and medical information, leaders of the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) said Tuesday.

The group, which represents 4,000 physicians in the state, announced its 2021 legislative priorities at a virtual news conference and argued for the role of primary care practices in fighting COVID-19. Doctors can also help prioritize vaccination for patients with comorbidities, said CSMS Executive Director Dr. Robert Russo.

“The physicians’ offices should have been involved in that process,” Russo said of the governor’s recent switch to an age-based system. Doctors can also help dispel myths around vaccines and allay patient concerns, he said. 

On the hot-button issue of Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s proposed public option health plan, the medical group said it was awaiting further information on specifics but had concerns about financial stability.

“The devil is going to be in those details,” said CSMS President Dr. Gregory Shangold. “We want to be part of the conversation and discussion on where this is going.”

Another hot topic was the health effects of marijuana, likely to be legalized for recreational use soon by the state. 

“Some substances can be very destructive,” Shangold said, citing statistics on higher rates of marijuana-related mental health problems and impaired driving in Colorado, which legalized recreational use in 2012. 

“We’re very concerned about that impact here in Connecticut,” Shangold said.

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