Long Term Care Homes & Retirement Homes Immunization Tool Kit

Ottawa Public Health has created this virtual toolkit to support community partners in implementation and/or continuation of seasonal immunizations.

For COVaxON or inventory related help or information: email Ottawa Public Health COVaxON Support Team

For information on vaccine storage, ordering or administering: email Vaccine Distribution Centre 

Long-term care homes and retirement homes are critical partners in the management of seasonal respiratory illness. Residents of these institutions are vulnerable to severe complications from COVID-19 & Influenza. 

Infection control practices and vaccinations in these institutions are important to protect residents, staff and their caregivers.

General eligibility to administer COVID-19 and Influenza vaccines: 

  • Must be a Long-Term Care Home or Registered Retirement Home in Ottawa

  • Must have a designated vaccine fridge that meets the Ministry of Health vaccine storage and handling guidelines and has passed fridge inspections by Ottawa Public Health within the past 12 months 

  • For COVID-19 Only: Must commit to document COVID-19 vaccine administration in COVaxON 

Fall influenza vaccines are anticipated to be available to Long-Term Care Homes late September for immunization of residents, staff and caregivers. These immunizations will then be available to Retirement Home residents and staff as soon as we meet the needs for Long-Term Care Homes & Hospitals in our city.  
Announcements from the Ontario Ministry of Health will provide the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 boosters for the Fall. 

Steps to accessing COVID-19 and Influenza vaccines: 

Step 1: Ensure your home is eligible to administer vaccines

Retirement Homes:

If an organization already receives publicly funded vaccine(s) other than publicly funded influenza vaccine (excluding COVID-19 vaccine) they do not need to apply to the Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP). 

To administer publicly funded vaccines, a designated vaccine fridge must meet the MOH Vaccine Storage and Handling Guide and have passed a fridge inspection with Ottawa Public Health; with a fridge in good standing (monthly temperature log submission required). 

After receiving a pass on the current year’s vaccine fridge inspection, continue with the onboarding process in step 2. If you have not yet completed an inspection, contact Ottawa Public Health’s Vaccine Distribution Centre at vaccine@ottawa.ca requesting a vaccine fridge inspection. 

Long-Term Care Homes:

Long-Term Care Homes do not need to apply to participate in the Universal Influenza Immunization Program(UIIP). To administer publicly funded vaccines, a designated vaccine fridge must meet the MOH Vaccine Storage and Handling Guide and have passed a fridge inspection with Ottawa Public Health; with a fridge in good standing (monthly temperature log submission required). 

After receiving a pass on the current year’s vaccine fridge inspection, continue with the onboarding process, step 2. If you have not yet completed an inspection, contact Ottawa Public Health’s Vaccine Distribution Centre at vaccine@ottawa.ca requesting a vaccine fridge inspection. 

Step 2: For COVID-19 administration only: complete LOA and receive COVaxON Training; if you are only administering influenza vaccines, proceed to step 3

Letter of Agreement (LOA)  

Once your dedicated vaccine fridge has passed inspection and is in good standing, your organization will need to sign a Letter of Agreement (LOA) to administer COVID-19 vaccines. This is a legal letter for all external partners who request and administer COVID-19 vaccines from Ottawa Public Health (OPH). This agreement is a requirement from the Ontario Ministry of Health for all Long-Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes and Congregate Care Settings. This is a commitment to documenting COVID-19 vaccine administrations through COVaxON. 

Email covidimmunization_vaccinationcovid@ottawa.ca and/or ipac/pci@ottawa.ca if your organization is unsure if they have completed this documentation in the past or would like to initiate the process of completing a LOA.

COVaxON Training and Support 

COVaxON is Ontario’s provincial vaccination database for COVID-19 vaccines. All doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered must be documented in the COVaxON system.  

Ensure that your facility has active access to COVaxON prior to the day of your immunization event. 

COVaxON Training Support for Ottawa-area Homes 

  • A COVax SharePoint Site was developed for training purposes and gives COVax users who are registered under OPH’s authorized organization (AO) access to various COVax training materials, including demo session recordings, learning modules, job aids, tailored user training roadmaps, system change and much more. 

  • Should you require support such as access to the SharePoint site, please contact Ottawa Public Health’s COVaxON support team at covaxon@ottawa.ca or leave a voicemail at 613-691-5527 and they will get back to you as soon as possible.  

PLEASE NOTE: The mailbox is monitored Monday- Friday between 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.  

COVaxON Training and Technical Support 

  • The OntarioMD (OMD) offers COVaxON Training and user management support. For more information about OntarioMD COVaxON training, please contact:  

 OMD Support Team

COVaxON Technology Support

  • Phone: 416-849-9998
  • Toll Free: 1-888-333-0640
  • Email: covaxonsupport@ontario.ca
  • The support hours are Monday to Friday: 8 am to 5 pm       
Step 3: Ensure authorizing mechanism is available for Epinephrine, Influenza vaccine and/ or COVID-19 vaccine administration for nursing staff.

Directives and direct orders allow nursing staff to perform the controlled act of immunization.  

Medical Directive Templates: 

If your organization has an authorizing health professional who would like a template to assist them in the creation of their own medical directive, please email immunization@ottawa.ca. 

Step 4: Immunizer training on vaccine administration, vaccine products and their preparation

If your organization is interested in copies of Ottawa Public Health’s immunization competency modules for external providers please email immunization@ottawa.ca to request the following modules:  

  • Module 1 Consent and Documentation 

  • Module 2 Vaccine Storage, Handling and Giving 

  • Module 3 Vaccination Emergencies 

Other Learning Resources:  

Management of Adverse Events 

Vaccine Administration Practices: Canadian Immunization Guide 

The Education Program for Immunization Competencies (EPIC): Canadian Paediatric Society   

COVID-19 vaccine products: 

Prior to administration ensure familiarity with the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance which provides important guidance for health care providers administering COVID-19 vaccine including eligibility and summaries of vaccine product formulations. 

Additional Information Sources: 

Vaccine Product Monographs for currently available COVID-19 vaccines:  

These monographs include information on:  

  • Storage, handling and preparation of vaccine 

  • Administration guidelines including dosing, routes etc. 

  • Contraindication, side effects and warnings 

Health Canada Resources: 

Influenza vaccine products:

Please check back here for updated information when the 2023-2024 Universal Influenza Immunization Program is launched in early Fall. 

Step 5: Organize and set clinic dates

Ottawa Public Health has compiled the following documents to assist you in hosting a clinic, please feel free to utilize these documents to support the organization of immunization services. 

Following the launch of 2023-2024 UIIP campaign, Vaccine Consent Forms, Fact Sheets and Receipts will be available here. 

Step 6: Order vaccine and supplies
  • COVID-19 vaccines: complete the Covid-Related Vaccine Order Form; at least 48 hours before immunization date

  • Vaccine supplies (needles, syringes, cotton balls) can also be ordered on the Covid-Related Vaccine Order Form

  • The Authorized Organization name and number can be found in the vaccination event within COVaxON under your facility. 

image of COVaxON page with areas listing authorized organization name and number highlighted for web-page viewers to identify where to find this information 

Following the launch of the 2023-2024 UIIP campaign: Vaccine ordering forms will be available on ottawapublichealth.ca/hcp.

Vaccine Distribution Centre Contact Information

Should you require support with vaccine supply:

  • Email:
    • vaccine@ottawa.ca
  • Phone:
    • COVID-19 vaccine - 613-580-3000
    • Influenza vaccine - 613-580-6744 (choose options 1, 8 then 3)
Step 7: Immunization Clinic Day Reminders
  • Ensure staff login into COVaxON prior to the clinic to ensure their password has not expired; accounts that have been inactive for 30 days will need to have their password reset. Contact covaxon@ottawa.ca to request a password reset.
  • Have consent forms (if using) available and completed by resident or (power of attorney, if applicable) prior to administration.
  • Record immunizations given for COVID-19 in COVaxON
  • Report immunizations given for COVID-19 in Daily Tally Sheet

Influenza can be recorded and documented as per your facilities policy.

Frequently asked questions

Which vaccine products are available for COVID-19 vaccination?

The list of approved vaccines can be found in the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance, and Ottawa Public Health will fulfill vaccine orders based on current availability of vaccines. We will reach out if changes need to be made to your order.

What are the current recommendations for boosters?

Please visit Ontario’s website on COVID-19 vaccines for the latest guidelines.

Our residence does not have registered staff to administer COVID-19 or Influenza immunizations, what are our options?
  • Seek immunization from residents’ regular health care provider.
  • Contact local pharmacies to inquire if they can provide immunizations to your residents, whether in the pharmacy or they may offer the option of hosting a clinic in your residence. 

Some known options for pharmacies are:

  • Valley Health Pharmacy
  • Shoppers Drugmart on Dalhousie
  • Half Moon Bay Pharmac

Visit https://www.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations for a full list of pharmacies offering COVID-19; list of participating pharmacies for influenza will be posted on our website following the launch of the 2023-2024 UIIP campaign.

Note: currently due to legislative limitation pharmacists are unable to host in-house immunizations for influenza in Long-Term Care Homes Facilities.

  • Posters to direct residents to local pharmacies
  • Direct residents to an Ottawa Public Health Clinic
  • Consider organizing a clinic with available nursing agencies
    • GEM Health Care Services
    • Lifemark Workplace Health and Wellness
    • ParaMed Inc.
    • Access Healthcare Services Inc.
Can Ottawa Public Health (OPH) visit my organization for this training support and/or to help administer vaccines?
  • Unfortunately, OPH doesn’t have the capacity to provide in-person immunization support to LTCH and RH. We are shifting back to pre-pandemic operations and staffing capacity. Many organizations were onboarded over the last few years with OPH support, and we hope your organization continues to build on this experience and knowledge transfer.
  • By providing this online resource you can continue to access needed information to offer seasonal immunizations in your organization. OPH will provide external support to organizations to ensure vaccine supply and access to up-to-date COVID-19 & Influenza immunization information to support your organization to build and maintain capacity to deliver immunizations directly or in collaboration with community partners.
Can we transport vaccines between our multiple sites?

More Information

  • General immunization information for residents: COVID-19/FLU

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