Over the past year we have awaited news of a COVID-19 vaccine and now that vaccines are becoming available, you may have questions about them.
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.
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.
Information on the COVID-19 vaccines is evolving but this page will be updated when new information is available. Follow @ONThealth for the most immediate vaccine updates for Ontario.
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.
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.
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.
In the first few months of Ontario’s vaccine rollout, the vaccine will be available for:
- Residents, staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care 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.
- Highest Priority health care workers, followed by Very High Priority health care workers, in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s guidance.
- Indigenous adults in northern remote and higher risk communities (including on-reserve and urban communities).
The next priority groups for vaccination in the first phase include:
- Adults 80 years of age and older.
- Staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes and other congregate care settings for seniors (e.g., assisted living).
- Health care workers in the High Priority level, and in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s guidance.
- All Indigenous adults.
- Adult recipients of chronic home care.
The next phase of the vaccine rollout will include older adults (age 60+), frontline essential workers, individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers, at-risk populations and other adults (age 16-59).
It will be several months until a vaccine is available to the general public. We will post additional information as it becomes available. Read more about Hamilton’s vaccination plan.
How will I know where to go to get my vaccine and when I’m eligible?
If you are eligible for the first round of vaccine distribution, correspondence will come from your employer informing you about your vaccine eligibility, where to go and what to do on the day so that you can get vaccinated in a setting with COVID-19 protocols in place. Details for other groups about how to get the vaccine will be communicated as soon as it available.
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 priority groups identified in the provincial plan. If you are eligible for a vaccine, your employer, care facility or Public Health will contact you to book an appointment. Ontario’s vaccination plan is available at: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-vaccines-ontario
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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