What's new (March 1)
New provincial direction for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine
The provincial government recently increased the number of people who could receive a vaccine in Phase 1 of its three-phase COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. Specifically, Ontario residents born in the year 1941 or earlier will be eligible for vaccination in March, subject to vaccine availability. Adult recipients of chronic home care are also eligible as part of Phase 1, among others. First Nation, Inuit and Métis community members who are aged 55 and older are also eligible.
What this means for adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations
First Nation, Inuit and Métis community members who are aged 55 and older are currently eligible for vaccination. Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team is providing vaccinations for Inuit. To book an appointment or for more information, call 613-740-0999.
Ottawa Public Health is partnering with Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health to provide a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for First Nation, Inuit and Métis community members aged 55 and older at St-Laurent Complex, located at 525 Côté Street. Call Ottawa Public Health at 613-691-5505 to book an appointment.
Please note that eligible First Nation, Inuit and Métis community members will be asked to provide proof of Indigenous identity/status. Examples include:
- Status Card
- Inuit Beneficiary Card
- Métis Card
- 60s Scoop Acceptance Letter
For more information, please visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/IndigenousVaccine.
What this means for Ottawa residents born in the year 1941 or earlier and adult recipients of chronic home care
Unfortunately, there are not enough vaccines available to vaccinate all the residents in Ottawa that belong to these groups at this time. Ottawa Public Health has done an extensive review to determine who is most at risk to COVID-19 so that vaccines can be prioritized in these areas.
As a result, pop-up vaccination clinics are being set up in neighbourhoods where the risk is highest.
Which neighbourhoods are getting the vaccine?
The first neighbourhoods to be eligible for the vaccine are:
- Emerald Woods
- Heron Gate
- Sawmill Creek
Only residents who were born in or before 1941 or who are recipients of adult chronic home care and who live in these neighbourhoods will be able to book an appointment.
How to book and where to book an appointment
If you meet these requirements and live in one of these neighbourhoods, you must book your appointment in advance. Walk-ins cannot be accepted.
To confirm that you are eligible for vaccination, please visit Ottawa Public Health's COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Screening Tool.
Call 613-691-5505 to book your appointment. This number can serve residents in multiple languages.
The COVID-19 pop-up clinics are as follows:
- Friday, March 5; Saturday March 6; Sunday March 7
Albion Heatherington Recreation Centre
1560 Heatherington Road
- Monday, March 8; Wednesday March 10; Saturday, March 13
AMA Community Centre
1216 Hunt Club Road
- Tuesday, March 9; Friday, March 12
Sawmill Creek Community Centre
3380 D’Aoust Avenue
You will need an OHIP card or proof of age and proof of address to get your vaccination. If you do not have an OHIP card, proof of age and address could be identification like a driver’s license or passport, and a bill with your postal code on it, like a hydro bill. You will also need to complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Consent Form.
Accommodations will be made for residents who need help with accessibility and all sites are accessible.
Transportation to pop-up clinics
Residents who are eligible for vaccination are encouraged to make a transportation plan in advance of their appointment. This could include asking a family member or caregiver to provide you with a ride to your designated pop-up clinic. It could also include booking a ride with Para Transpo if you use this service. If a transportation option is not available to you, you can request a ride to and from the clinic when you book your appointment. City partners will be able to assist with transportation for those who cannot make their own transportation plan.
Ottawa Community Transportation, a network of community partners, is providing transportation to and from the pop-up clinic. This service is free. COVID-19 protocols are in place to ensure the safety of the rider and the driver, and wearing a mask is mandatory. Ottawa Community Transportation will contact you directly to provide all the information.
How was the decision made to vaccinate in these neighbourhoods?
Rates of COVID-19 are on average five times higher than in the rest of Ottawa in neighbourhoods that have been identified for pop-up clinics. In some cases, they are 16 times higher. Risks for hospitalization and death are also higher. If we limit hospitalizations in these communities, it will not only benefit the residents who live there, it will help all residents by making sure our health systems aren’t overwhelmed.
Only residents who meet the criteria will be vaccinated
Under the province’s direction, caregivers, partners or roommates of people who were born after 1941, of those receiving chronic home care, or of Indigenous individuals who do not meet any of the above criteria are not eligible at this time.
Vaccinations will be rolled out to more neighbourhoods where the risk of COVID-19 is highest in the coming weeks.
Community clinics will open for all Ottawa residents who were born in or before 1941 or who are adult recipients of chronic home care when there are enough vaccines in Ottawa. This is expected to take place in late March. If there is enough vaccine supply, community clinics could open sooner.
COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
Along with continuing to follow public health guidelines, getting vaccinated is an important step people can take to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in our community. Ottawa Public Health’s website includes information about vaccine safety, effectiveness, myths and misinformation and more.
Vaccines will not be mandatory, but when supply permits, everyone who is able to receive the vaccine will be strongly encouraged to do so.
Residents who are not yet eligible for the vaccine are encouraged to follow announcements on the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health websites and social media channels, and from local news media.
The City is ready to receive and continue to administer more COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are available.
The City’s rollout will follow the Province of Ontario’s plan to distribute the vaccine in three phases. Ottawa Public Health has established a Vaccine Sequence Strategy Task Force to advise on how to implement the sequence of vaccines. The Task Force includes representation from groups highly affected by COVID-19, such as newcomers to Canada, Indigenous residents, racialized people, older adults and healthcare workers.
Phase 1: In progress
Eligible high-risk populations:
- Staff and caregivers in high-risk retirement homes and residents in all retirement homes. Staff, caregivers and residents in long-term care homes.
- Priority health care workers identified in the Ministry of Health’s guidance on Health Care Worker Prioritization, including hospital employees, staff who work or study in hospitals and health care personnel
- Adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations
- Adults receiving chronic home health care
- Adults 80 years of age and older
Current status and short-term lookahead
Second doses of the vaccine have now been administered in all 28 long-term care homes, and first doses provided at all 82 designated retirement homes. Progress depends on vaccine supply, but work is ongoing to vaccinate priority groups including retirement home staff and residents, priority health care workers, Indigenous adults and adults receiving chronic home care.
Given limited supply, immediate access to all residents aged 80 and older in this population group is not possible. Initially, pop-up clinics will be set up to offer initial doses for adults 80+ living in communities where the risk of COVID-19 is highest.
The number of vaccines received and doses administered are available in the ‘Vaccination and Testing’ section of Ottawa Public Health’s Daily COVID-19 Dashboard. These numbers are updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Phase 2: April to July 2021, based on vaccine supply
- Older adults (decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout)
- People who live and work in high-risk group settings (shelters, community living)
- Frontline essential workers (teachers, food processing industry, etc.)
- People with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers
Phase 3: August 2021 onward, depending on availability of vaccines
- Vaccine is administered to the general public
- Prioritization within the general population based on the province of Ontario’s ethical framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution
The City is preparing up to seven community clinics to augment the Ottawa Hospital clinic and the clinic coming to the Queensway Carleton Hospital. Altogether, these clinics will have capacity to administer about 380,000 vaccines per month when vaccine supply increases. Vaccinations being done by mobile vaccination teams, pop-up clinics, pharmacies and primary care providers will add to that total.
Community clinics: Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA: 265 Centrum Boulevard | St-Laurent Complex: 525 Côté Street | Ottawa City Hall: 110 Laurier Avenue West |Horticulture Building: 1525 Princess Patricia Way | Canterbury Recreation Complex: 2185 Arch Street | Nepean Sportsplex: 1701 Woodroffe Avenue | Eva James Memorial Community Centre: 65 Stonehaven Drive
Hospital Clinics: The Ottawa Hospital – Civic Campus: 1053 Carling Avenue | Queensway Carleton Hospital: 3045 Baseline Road
Pop-up clinics are set up at a site for multiple days but are not permanent. Throughout the vaccination rollout, pop-up clinics will be set up in different areas of the city to get the vaccines to people in high-risk areas and where eligible residents may have a harder time accessing a clinic.
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are administered in two doses, several weeks apart. The distribution of vaccines must be carefully managed to be sure residents can receive their second dose within the appropriate timeframe.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be kept at extremely cold temperatures.
Thawing the vaccine can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. Once the vaccine is drawn into the syringe, it must be administered within six hours. These logistical requirements make moving it from its main storage point a challenge.
Mobile Vaccination Teams
To respond to these challenges while getting the vaccine to the people who need it most, the Emergency Operation Centre has created mobile vaccination teams that include specially trained paramedics, community physicians and public health staff, among others. These teams were deployed to vaccinate residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes.
Throughout the vaccination rollout, mobile vaccination teams will be deployed to reach targeted populations, including homeless and rural residents. They are currently being used to vaccinate residents in retirement homes.
These mobile vaccination teams work closely with Ottawa Public Health and the city’s hospital network. Pharmacists from The Ottawa Hospital and CHEO have been training members of the mobile vaccination teams in the process of vaccine dilution. This is an important step to ensuring the City can roll out the vaccination program in the safest and most efficient manner possible, based on the supply made available by other levels of government.
Roles & Responsibilities
The federal government is responsible for approving COVID-19 vaccines, buying them and distributing them to the provinces and territories.
The Province of Ontario distributes doses to the various cities and regions. It is also responsible for determining the sequence of who gets the vaccine. Priority is given to the people who are at highest risk: residents of long-term care homes, caregivers, health care workers, etc. This work is already underway in Ottawa.
The City of Ottawa is supporting the administering of the vaccine to residents locally. The City’s Emergency Operations Centre is mobilized and brings together Ottawa Public Health, the Ottawa Hospital, and other partner organizations to coordinate this work.
The City is creating flexible plans that can be scaled up or down depending on vaccine availability.
More details will be released as soon as they are available.
In the meantime, COVID-19 continues to spread in our community. While the vaccination program does offer very real hope for the future, everyone must continue to follow public health guidelines: wear a mask, stay two metres apart from those outside your household, wash your hands frequently and stay home when you are sick.