COVID-19 Vaccine Info: Healthcare Professionals

The Ontario government is ready to distribute COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are received, beginning with vaccinating vulnerable populations and those who care for them. As recommended by the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and in alignment with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, the province has identified key populations to receive the vaccine first, including long-term care and retirement home residents and the staff who provide care to these groups. 

Phase I:

Groups receiving the early vaccine doses in the first phase of the Ontario immunization program will include:

  • Residents, staff, essential caregivers, and other employees of congregate living settings (e.g., long-term care homes and retirement homes) that provide care for seniors as they are at higher risk of infection and serious illness from COVID-19;
  • Health care workers, including hospital employees, other staff who work or study in hospitals, and other health care personnel;
  • Adults in Indigenous communities, including remote communities where risk of transmission is high; and
  • Adult recipients of chronic home health care.

Phases II and III:

  • The second phase is expected to start in April when the bulk of vaccines, other than the Pfizer or Moderna, become available and will last for approximately 6 to 9 months. Ret.-Gen. Hillier noted the Vaccine Task Force will then ask the Premier and his Cabinet for recommendations to further determine priority populations beyond the vulnerable and healthcare workers.
  • The third and last phase is the ‘steady state,” in which the Task Force turns the operation into one that is identical to the flu or shingles vaccines, and where pharmacies, medical clinics and provincial health units will take over the role of the special vaccination sites that will characterize the first and second phase.
  • Because there are issues related to the storage and handling of the Pfizer vaccine, the province may have to create large vaccine centres. Hence staff at long-term care facilities will be the first focus since they may be unable to carry out vaccinations among long-term care residents as the vaccine may deteriorate if moved or shaken too much.

The Huron Perth Mass Vaccination Advisory Committee (HPMVAC) has representatives from Huron Perth Public Health, the Huron Perth and Area Ontario Health Team (representing more than 60 organizations including, but not limited to Hospital, EMS, Primary Care, Community and Home Care, Mental Health and Addictions Services, Long-Term Care) and municipalities.

The HPMVAC is working collaboratively to plan for administration and distribution of the vaccine based on the province’s distribution plan and ethical framework.

Resources:

COVID-19 Vaccine: Relevant Information and Planning Resources | Ministry of Health

Guidance on the prioritization of initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine(s) | National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI)

Ontario's Vaccine Distribution Implementation Plan | Government of Ontario

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine: Health Canada recommendations for people with serious allergies | Government of Canada