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A Physician’s Guide to Increasing COVID-19 Vaccination Rates

Welcome to Beyond the Needle, a podcast for and by physicians. Sit down with our weekly guest primary care clinicians as we tackle the real-world barriers to COVID-19 vaccination uptake and share our experiences with implementation. Together, we’ll uncover practical solutions to help you and your team incorporate the COVID-19 vaccine into your practice and increase vaccination rates amongst your patients.

Working to honor the struggles and traumas of the pandemic, we will empower the primary care clinician to feel confident in implementing COVID-19 vaccinations so that their patients can receive the vaccine within their usual site of care.

Join I-VAC Faculty and primary care clinicians from across the state as they share the highs and lows of their experiences and lessons learned throughout the pandemic.

Together, we’ll cover topics like:

Pink Checkmark Implementation Barriers

Pink Checkmark Vaccine Hesitancy

Pink Checkmark Special Populations

Pink Checkmark Motivational Interviewing

Thank you for joining us as we come together to vaccinate against COVID-19.


Listen to our pre-recorded episodes and earn .50 credit for each episode. Take a short post test and evaluation on the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians online education library and earn credits for your time.

The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA PRA Category 1 – The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians designates each Online enduring material for a maximum of 0.50 AMA PRA Category 1 credit™

Nurses and nurse Practitioners can submit Certificates of Attendance to their accrediting board to claim credit for participation.

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19. Long COVID – Part 2 of 2, A Pulmonologist’s Long COVID Journey

Dr. Stephanie LaBedz, a pulmonary and critical care physician, shares how her experience with long COVID has helped in her approach to patients suffering from long COVID. She talks about what family physicians should understand about long COVID. There are many ways that patients with long COVID can present. We may not always know or recognize which conditions are related to long COVID. As physicians, it is important to review a patient’s medical history in order to identify what may be causing the current symptoms.

18. Long COVID – Part 1 of 2, What We Know, What We are Learning

Physicians share their experiences and insights on long COVID to help equip clinicians dealing with patients who present with long COVID symptoms. It is important to understand the broad differential, listen to patients when they say, "Something doesn't feel right," and be familiar with the full variety of symptoms. Topics Include • Clarification on what is commonly referred to as long COVID • Some of the most common symptoms of long COVID • Overview of major systems that are impacted by COVID-19 • What should I know as a family physician?

17. Physicians’ Reflections & Moving Forward After the Pandemic – Part 2 of 2

Physicians share their reflections on the the pandemic & discuss how we, as a community of healers, can collectively move forward. Topics include: 1. How practices have changed - both in day-to-day activities clinical activities and long-term 2. Ways to incorporate technology to improve patients’ overall health 3. Impacts from COVID on stress levels and mental health for patients and clinicians 4. Ideas to we keep momentum going to incorporate these "crisis management" principles currently in place

16. Physicians’ Reflections & Moving Forward After the Pandemic – Part 1 of 2

Trauma, collaboration, community, crisis, grief, perseverance, fear, uncertainty, mistrust, resilience. Physicians reflect on the evolution of the pandemic in the past year. They share their experiences & engage in discussion about how we, as a community of healers, can collectively move forward. How do we prevent this from happening again? What can we do to rebuild the trust of our patients? How does the medical community heal from our own trauma?

15. The Importance of COVID-19 Vaccination in Adult Populations

With so much attention in the news about bivalent boosters and trying to keep up with changes in vaccination schedule guidelines, some of the focus has shifted away from having conversations with adults who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID at all. Corinne Kohler, MD, FAAFP, Carl Earl Lambert, Jr., MD, FAAFP, and Marian R. Sassetti, MD, FAAFP remind us of the importance of making certain that everyone who is eligible for the COVID vaccines have them. Join them as they discuss where are we at right now, what we can do now to keep the traction, and what has improved, or sometimes hurt, encouraging people to get vaccinated.

14. How to Compromise with Immunocompromised Patients about COVID-19

No one is immune to COVID affecting their lives in some way. This is especially true for people with compromised immune systems and people they interact with. Timothy Ott, DO, FAAFP, IAFP President, Christopher Smyre, MD, and Carl Lambert, Jr., MD, FAAFP, will discuss the additional challenges & concerns these patients may have when considering whether to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. They will talk about ways to prevent getting COVID and treatment options for those in various immunocompromised states.

13. Overcoming COVID-19 Challenges in Different Practice Settings

With multiple types of practices in various locations that serve patients with a broad range of access to medical care facilities and health insurance, there is not a “one size fits all” answer for implementing COVID-19 vaccines within a facility.  Join Corinne Kohler, MD, FAAFP, Marian Sassetti, MD, FAAFP, and Santina Wheat, MD, MPH, FAAFP as they discuss how they overcame challenges as they introduced COVID-19 vaccines into different practice settings.  They share their experiences with rural, city, and suburban locations in private practice and Federally Qualified Health centers (FQHCs) and discuss the ongoing changes and opportunities facing their practices.

12. Reducing Disparities & Preventive Medicine’s Impact on COVID-19 (Part 2 of 2)

Carl Earl Lambert, Jr., MD, FAAFP, Christina Wells, MD, MPH, FAAFP, and Marian Sassetti, MD, FAAFP continue their discussion in part 2 of this podcast series addressing disparities in healthcare and the importance of preventative medicine in reducing them.  Today, the focus is on the primary care provider’s impact on COVID-19.  They will share what they think a primary care doctor's role is in helping to address and prevent disparities.  Their message is one of hope and the opportunity primary care providers have to make a positive, lasting change in their patients’ lives in regard to their health and wellness.

11. Reducing Disparities & Preventive Medicine’s Impact on COVID-19 (Part 1 of 2)

Carl Earl Lambert, Jr., MD, FAAFP, Christina Wells, MD, MPH, FAAFP, and Marian Sassetti, MD, FAAFP host this 2-part podcast series addressing disparities in healthcare and the importance of preventative medicine in reducing them.  The pandemic has brought the curtain down and clearly exposed major disparities we are still facing.  They invite you to join them as they address these issues with honesty, care, and compassion.

10. Understanding the COVID-19 Vaccines for Children under 5 Years to 6 Months Old & Addressing Vaccination Concerns for Parents

Daniel Johnson, MD and Christina Wells, MD, MPH, FAAFP host this expanded episode to discuss, in detail, the COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years to 6 months old .  They acknowledge that many physicians may be hesitant to recommend parents vaccinate their infants.  They will help listeners understand more about these vaccines so they are better equipped when recommending the COVID-19 vaccination and answering questions that parents may have. The COVID-19 vaccine has been studied more than any other vaccine in history.  Drs. Johnson and Wells will discuss the experiences they encountered in their practices and share information to help other clinicians include these vaccines as part of a regular patient visit.


We’re building this series based on the needs of our provider community. We want to hear from you! Send us your questions, concerns, and thoughts on COVID-19 vaccine implementation and our staff will work to address these throughout the series.

Submit Your Questions to the Beyond the Needle Team

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