While COVID-19 vaccines will be offered to everyone who wants one by the end of 2021, Ontario’s Vaccination Plan has prioritized the initial doses for those who need it most.
Information on the COVID-19 vaccines is evolving but this page will be updated when new information is available.
The most important thing we can all do now is take the time to learn more about the vaccines and make informed choices for ourselves and our families.
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines:
COVID-19 vaccination in Hamilton
Hamilton’s health sector partners are working together to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are distributed effectively and equitably when they arrive locally. They are focused on implementing the provincial framework to ensure prioritization of key populations and an efficient vaccine rollout. Plans will be informed by direction from the provincial and federal governments.
Vaccine distribution in Hamilton
- Staff, residents and essential caregivers from long-term care homes
- Staff, residents and essential caregivers from retirement homes
- Alternative level of care patients in hospitals who have a confirmed admission to a long-term care home, retirement home or other congregate care home for seniors (ongoing)
Currently being vaccinated
- Populations from Phase 1 of the Province’s Prioritization Framework
- Health care workers, in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s guidance
- Shelter populations
- Adults age 60+, including those who live in their own home or are currently in hospital
- Adults age 50+ who live in hot spots in Hamilton
- Adults who are age 55+ through pharmacies
- Indigenous adults
- Adult recipients of chronic home care, as identified by the Local Health Integration Network
- Seniors in congregate living (ie. shared dining), including two essential caregivers
- Homebound individuals, as identified through homecare partners and primary care providers
Next to be vaccinated
- Special Education workersthe Province is working with the school boards to identify these individuals and provide them with further instructions on booking.
- Faith-based leaders
- Staff & residents of high-risk congregate settings (e.g. community living)
- Frontline essential workers
- Individuals with highest and high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers
- At-risk populations
Hamilton’s vaccine distribution plan
Given the limited availability of vaccines at the present time and in order to ensure that those at highest risk from serious illness due to COVID-19 are protected first, the provincial and federal governments have established a priority list of who will get which vaccine and in what order.
How will I know where to go to get my vaccine and when I’m eligible?
Details will be posted here, as well as shared broadly through social media, media and direct outreach.
Why are Indigenous people being prioritized to get the vaccine?
Indigenous communities can be a higher risk of COVID infections and complications given colonialism and racism. Colonialism has impacted Indigenous healthcare, housing, drinking water supplies and access to traditional practices and foods.
COVID infections can spread easily in crowded and in multi-generational households where masking and physical distancing can be difficult or impossible to carry out. Indigenous Services Minister Miller noted that “regardless of where you call home, Indigenous peoples are 3.5 to 5 times more at risk of suffering severe or even life-threatening consequences of COVID-19.”
Can I sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine?
Vaccines are currently only available to individuals and groups identified in the provincial plan. Please review information above to determine which groups and individuals Hamilton is currently vaccinating to see if you are currently eligible, and timelines for remaining groups and individuals to receive their vaccination.
When will I get my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
In alignment with provincial direction, effective March 10, 2021, second doses for the COVID-19 vaccine have been extended to a 16-week interval. This follows the recommendation from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). The 16-week interval for the second dose applies to the three two-dose vaccines currently approved by Health Canada (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca). Extending the intervals for second dose will preserve supply to increase the number of individuals benefiting from a first dose.
The following groups will continue to receive vaccine at the initial intervals as described in the product monographs:
- residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, Elder Care Lodges and Assisted Living facilities who are at the greatest risk of both exposure to COVID-19 and serious illness and death; and,
- remote and isolated First Nation communities given the potential seriousness of COVID 19 infection in these communities with limited available health care facilities and resources.
This means that if you have received your first COVID-19 vaccine and are awaiting a second dose (and you don’t fall into the above groups), you will receive notification that your second vaccine appointment is cancelled. Beginning the week of March 15, you will receive a call to reschedule your 2nd appointment.
COVID-19 vaccines at Hamilton pharmacies
Twenty-one pharmacies in the Hamilton area are administering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to community members 55 years of age and over (born in or before 1966) who are in good health.
Vaccinations at pharmacies are by-appointment only, walk-ins are not permitted. Eligible community members 55 years of age and older can call or visit the websites of participating pharmacies to make their appointment. You must have a Ontario photo health (OHIP) card, or other form of valid government-issued identification. The start date for each pharmacy varies.
It is vital that everyone, even those who have been vaccinated, continue practicing public health measures including:
- staying home if you have any COVID-19 symptoms
- getting tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms or have been in close contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19
- limiting gatherings to only members of your immediate household
- maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet or 2 meters from others outside of your immediate household
- wearing a mask or face covering indoors and outdoors when not able to maintain physical distancing
- washing hands frequently
How can I help once I get vaccinated?
- Share your story.
- Tell others why you are getting vaccinated and encourage them to do the same.
- Have conversations about COVID-19 vaccine with family, friends and coworkers.
- Continue to follow public health measures.
Get your COVID info on social?
Many people rely on social media to get information. We want to help you find reliable, truthful, and accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines, so follow these accounts to stay informed:
Resources to help you decide if the information you’re getting is fact:
- Mythbusting on Youtube (Coronavirus Prevention Network)
- COVID19MisInfo.org portal (Social Media Lab, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University)
- Myths & Misinformation – COVID-19 Information Guide (University of Toronto Libraries)
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