COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for Employers

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Last updated on March 1, 2022

This page is being updated to reflect Ontario entering the next phase of reopening and recent changes to O. Reg 364/20.

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Ottawa Public Health (OPH) appreciates all the effort your workplaces have put into preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

This toolkit provides basic information on what you need to know about COVID-19 vaccination, the best way for workplaces to build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines, to increase uptake among employees, and to establish supportive policies and best practices. Promoting vaccines at work is beneficial because it can reduce employee absences, ensure sustained workplace productivity, prevent employees from getting COVID-19, and boost workplace morale.

COVID-19 Booster Dose Eligibility

Individuals aged 18 and over are now eligible to schedule their booster dose appointment through the Ontario’s booking portal, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, participating pharmacies and primary care settings.

COVID-19 Vaccination for all children aged five to 11

Health Canada has authorized the use of Comirnaty (the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine) in children aged five to 11.

We know that employers/employees are eager to immunize their children to protect them from COVID-19 and to reduce the sick leave that parents must take to take of their children when they are sick, and to reduce disruptions to in-person learning and other activities. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is working with CHEO, Kids Come First, physicians and families to support this process.

Employers can support working parents to get their children vaccinated by:

  • Share credible information about the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Share information on how to book an appointment.
  • Offer paid time off work for parents to bring their children to vaccination appointments.     

Parents of children aged five to 11 can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the COVID-19 vaccination portal and OPH’s booking system. Clinic locations and hours are available at

Please share this update about Ottawa Public Health’s details on the plan to vaccinate children ages five to 11 and Dr. Etches’ Special Statement.

COVID-19 vaccine clinics that will be held in a school setting will not occur during instructional time. Families will be invited to participate in school pop-up clinics. Children will NOT be vaccinated without a parent or legal guardian present.

Vaccination policies in the workplace

For employees:



A checkmark on a clipboard next to a vial of covid-19 vaccine

How to create a vaccine policy

While the proof of vaccination is no longer required for most indoor settings, businesses may choose to continue to require proof of vaccination from their patrons. It is the responsibility of a business or organization to assess whether they may be in a position to continue imposing these restrictions from those seeking their services. This decision for businesses to impose greater restrictions, in accordance with the law, is not within the City of Ottawa’s purview.

For businesses that wish to implement their own proof of vaccination policy, Ottawa Public Health has released a how-to guide to assist employers in the development and implementation of their workplace vaccination policies.

This guide provides employers with key considerations to support the development and implementation of their own workplace vaccination policies. Businesses and workplaces are encouraged to use this guide and policy example as they develop their own policies. These recommendations are voluntary, and are not intended to be legally enforceable under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.

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For clients/patrons:

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How can employers support vaccination efforts?

  • Lead by Example – Employers are encouraged to take the vaccine themselves if eligible and encourage employees to follow their lead. This could instill trust and help build confidence in the vaccines within your workplace, leading to increased uptake. Spread the word using OPH’s Community Immunity Facebook profile picture frames or graphics.
  • Communicate clearly – Create a communication plan to share credible and transparent facts about COVID-19 vaccines. Sharing basic information with employees can increase their understanding of the vaccines. This will be more effective if you share the information in a variety of ways e.g., virtual townhalls, webinars, COVID-19 fact sheets, email newsletters, stickers, posters, etc.
  • Identify Workplace Vaccine Champions – Encourage influential workers and leaders at the workplace to be vaccine champions and ensure that they reflect the diversity of the workforce.
  • Consider offering time off for your employees to get their vaccine. When possible, offer flexible sick leave options for employees experiencing side effects after vaccination.
  • Consider staggering employee shifts to account for time off taken to get vaccinated and avoid worker shortages.
  • Help your employees to book their appointment or to locate a clinic near them for a walk-up appointment.
  • Be patient - Allow some time for workplace vaccine confidence to grow. When hesitant employees see other coworkers get vaccinated, it may help boost their confidence to also get vaccinated.
  • Engage Employees – Consider hosting listening sessions for Q&As, to gather feedback and answer basic questions from staff. OPH has prepared a guide on How To Talk Vaccines to help you increase vaccine confidence.

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Where can employees get vaccination?

There are several different ways to access vaccine appointments in Ottawa:

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What to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine

Thank you for getting vaccinated! This is an important step towards building our community immunity. While we learn more about the virus, the variants, and the protection offered from the vaccines, it’s important to continue following COVID-19 public health measures at home, in the workplace and in the community. COVID-19 vaccination along with public health measures will offer the best protection from the spread of COVID-19.  

Please consult these resources for more information on what you can do after getting your vaccine: 

For additional information on post-vaccination behaviour, visit OPH’s Frequently Asked Questions

Returning to work post-vaccine

Daily COVID-19 screening should continue for all staff post-vaccine.

Employees can come to work even if they screen positive for the following symptoms within 48 hours after receiving their vaccine, if these symptoms are mild, only began after vaccination, and the employee feels well enough to work:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • muscle ache
  • joint pain

For more information on side effects, visit OPH’s frequently asked questions.

These symptoms are common in the first 24-48 hours after vaccination and do not require individuals to self-isolate or go for testing. But the symptoms need to be mild (e.g., does not affect usual activities) and after immunization individuals should self-isolate and go for testing for COVID-19 as soon as possible if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever and/or chills  
  • Any respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, runny or congested nose, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, loss of taste or smell)
  • Digestive issues like nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Falling down often


  • Symptom(s) last or develop more than 48 hours after vaccination
  • Symptom(s) persist or worsen for more than 48 hours after the first symptom onset
  • The symptomatic individual has had close contact with a case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • Symptoms begin to affect the individual’s ability to do their usual activities 
  • Symptoms are judged by a health care provider to be severe and/or not in keeping with a COVID-19 vaccination reaction

Ottawa Public Health continues to recommend that anyone with symptom(s) of COVID-19 consult with a health care provider if they have questions or concerns.

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Sample messages to share with employees

These sample social media messages can be shared via your workplace’s internal networks or on your businesses external platforms to help spread the word about #CommunityImmunity.

We also encourage you to share content from Ottawa Public Health’s social media: TwitterFacebookInstagram.

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Additional Resources

  1. COVID-19 Vaccine (OPH)
  2. COVID-19 vaccine safety (Province of Ontario)
  3. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination (Province of Ontario)
  4. Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations (PDF, Province of Ontario)
  5. Q&A document on proof of vaccination (PDF, Province of Ontario)
  6. Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination plan (Province of Ontario)
  7. Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination (OPH)
  8. What to expect when you get a COVID-19 vaccine (Province of Ontario)
  9. Scams and Misinformation (OPH)
  10. COVID-19 Community Events
  11. COVID-19 Vaccine Promotion Toolkit (Province of Ontario – Ministry of Health / Ministry of Long-Term Care)
  12. Vaccines for COVID-19 (Government of Canada)
  13. COVID-19: Vaccination awareness resources (Government of Canada)
  14. COVID-19 Vaccine Bookings to Open for All Children Aged Five to 11 (Province of Ontario)
  15. Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 vaccines for Children (Province of Ontario)

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