COVID-19 Vaccine

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An illustration of two people wearing masks. On their left is written who can currently get the COVID-19? Vaccine? A button containing the word learn more.

Important news: Eligible residents will be able to book COVID-19 appointments next week 

The roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine will occur in three phases.

Learn more below about who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1Phase 2 and Phase 3.

Am I able to join a waitlist to be prioritized for the vaccine?

At this time, there is no sign-up or waiting list. Eligibility is based on the Government of Ontario’s three-phase distribution plan. The vaccine will be distributed to populations of highest priority and based on vaccine supply. We know many people are anxious to be immunized for COVID-19, including those who are considered higher-risk or have other underlying health conditions. Please continue to follow all public health guidelines to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

As more information becomes available it will be posted to the Province’s COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario page.

Important news: Eligible residents will be able to book COVID-19 appointments next week 

Who can currently get the COVID-19 vaccine?


At this time, individuals who are eligible during Phase 1 can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s important to note that it will be several months until a vaccine is available to the general public and receiving the vaccine does not mean an individual can stop any of the other prevention measures until we are clear about how effective the vaccines are at preventing COVID-19 transmission. The Ottawa Hospital administered the city’s first COVID-19 vaccine on December 15, 2020. Since then, thousands of vaccines have been administered in Ottawa to higher-risk populations and those that care for them in accordance with the Province’s phased approach to vaccine rollout. We must all continue to do our part to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in the community: limit your close contacts to those within your household, practice physical distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay home except for essential reasons and follow local and Provincial guidance.

Phase 1 

When: December 2020 to March 2021 and beyond.

Status: Vaccination is underway.

The following categories of people are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination during Phase 1. 

Learn more about each category and how to get vaccinated if you are eligible.

Staff and caregivers in high-risk retirement homes and residents in all retirement homes. Staff, caregivers and residents in Long-term care homes.

Get the right information about the COVID-19 vaccine by following these steps:

  1. Get informed by watching these videos:
  2. Find answers to your questions:
  3. Talk to your long term care, retirement home, or health centre. 
  4. Fill out the COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Consent Form

As part of Phase One of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program, the Ottawa Hospital (TOH) will be participating in the COVID-19 vaccine readiness program in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada. Long-term care and retirement homes have been selected to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Find out more here: 

Ottawa’s Mobile Vaccination Teams:

Battling COVID-19 in Long-Term Care:

Resident and staff information

Can a health care worker who lives in Quebec, but is working in Long-Term Care in Ontario (Ottawa) receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. We want to be able to protect the health of the residents in the LTC homes and so those employees would be eligible to receive the vaccine here in Ottawa.

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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

The Ottawa Hospital is currently offering a vaccination clinic for health care workers who are providing care in hospitals and long-term care homes.

Health care workers receiving vaccinations are prioritized based on risk of exposure, patient populations served and incidence of COVID-19 outbreaks, as outlined by the Ministry of Health. For more information about the prioritization of health care workers, please see Guidance for Prioritizing Health Care Workers for COVID-19 Vaccination (PDF).

For more information on the vaccination clinic for health care workers in Ottawa, please visit The Ottawa Hospital’s website or email vaccines@toh.ca.

Adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations

Ottawa Public Health is working with Indigenous-serving health centres to provide COVID-19 vaccination to Ottawa’s First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities.

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+ at St-Laurent Complex located at 525 Côté Street.

Who can book an appointment?

First Nation, Inuit and Métis community members who are aged 55 and older. You will be asked to provide proof of Indigenous identity/status. Examples include:

  • Status Card
  • Inuit Beneficiary Card
  • Métis Card
  • 60s Scoop Acceptance Letter

How do I book an appointment?

Call Ottawa Public Health at 613-691-5505 to book an appointment. Appointments will start on Monday, March 1 at St-Laurent Complex located at 525 Côté Street . 

Before calling to make your appointment, please complete the 
COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Screening Tool 
to ensure you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.

Where will I go for the vaccination?

You will go to St-Laurent Complex located at 525 Côté Street.

When can I book an appointment?

We will start taking calls for appointments on Thursday February 25 at 1 pm. 

The phoneline will be open:

  • Monday to Friday             7:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • Saturday to Sunday         8:30 am to 4:00 pm

When will the appointment be?

Appointments will be booked during the following hours:

  • Monday to Thursday               12:30 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Friday to Sunday                     10:00am to 4:30 pm

IMPORTANT: If you have any COVID-19 symptoms on the day of your appointment (cough, fever, trouble breathing, runny nose) please do NOT go to your appointment. Please call Ottawa Public Health to reschedule.

Adults receiving chronic home health care

NOTE: Starting February 27, we'll be using automated phone calls to contact Ottawa's home-care patients in some higher-priority neighbourhoods who are soon able to get their vaccine. If you get a call, kindly answer & follow the instructions to complete the screening and consent information located below.

Given limited vaccine supply, immediate access to all residents receiving chronic home health care is not possible at this time. The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health will undertake a phased approach, beginning with pop-up clinics in communities experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission.

The first pop-up clinics will open on Friday, March 5 to adults receiving chronic home health care living in specific high-risk communities. The first of these communities include:

  • Ledbury
  • Heron Gate
  • Ridgemont
  • Emerald Woods
  • Sawmill Creek
  • Riverview
  • Heatherington

Additional information on pop-up clinic locations and how to book an appointment will be available on Monday, March 1.

To prepare for vaccination, we recommend the following steps:

1. Find answers to your questions:

2. Plan your transportation option for getting to the pop-up clinic.

3. Fill out the COVID-19 vaccine screening and consent form.

4. Talk to your primary care provider if you have further questions.

Residents of all ages 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 your local news media.

Adults 80 years of age and older

Given limited vaccine supply, immediate access to all residents 80 years of age and older is not possible at this time. The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health will undertake a phased approach, beginning with pop-up clinics in communities experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission.

The first pop-up clinics will open on Friday, March 5 to adults 80 years of age and older living in specific, high-risk communities. The first of these communities include:

  • Ledbury
  • Heron Gate
  • Ridgemont
  • Emerald Woods
  • Sawmill Creek
  • Riverview
  • Heatherington

Additional information on pop-up clinic locations and how to book an appointment will be available on Monday, March 1​.

To prepare for vaccination, we recommend the following steps:

1. Find answers to your questions:

2. Plan your transportation option for getting to the pop-up clinic.

3. Fill out the COVID-19 vaccine screening and consent form.

4. Talk to your primary care provider if you have further questions.

Residents of all ages 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 your local news media.

Frequently asked questions 

My spouse and I are seniors that fall into separate age categories. Will we get vaccinated at the same time?
At this time, older adults fall under Phase 2 of the Government of Ontario’s vaccination roll-out plan. The Government of Ontario notes that phased distribution in older adults will be based on age, beginning with those 80 and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout. We expect the province to have further direction on Phase 2 implementation in the coming weeks.

As more information becomes available it will be posted to the Province’s COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario page.

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Phase 2

When: April to July 2021, based on vaccine supply.

Status: Vaccination has not yet started.

The following categories of people are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination during Phase 2. 

Learn more about each category and how to get vaccinated if you are eligible.

Older adults (decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout)

Information to be updated closer to April.

 

My spouse and I are seniors that fall into separate age categories. Will we get vaccinated at the same time?
At this time, older adults fall under Phase 2 of the Government of Ontario’s vaccination roll-out plan. The Government of Ontario notes that phased distribution in older adults will be based on age, beginning with those 80 and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout. We expect the province to have further direction on Phase 2 implementation in the coming weeks.

As more information becomes available it will be posted to the Province’s COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario page(link is external).

People who live and work in high-risk group settings (shelters, community living)

 Information to be updated closer to April.

Frontline essential workers (teachers, food processing industry, etc.)

Information to be updated closer to April.  Frontline essential workers, including: first responders, teachers and other education staff and food processing workers are expected to be offered vaccines in Phase 2 from April to August 2021. Specific timing will depend on the availability of vaccines, and the Province of Ontario is responsible for further defining the parameters of who is considered a frontline essential worker in the coming weeks. The Provincial task force will use the ethical framework and the best available data to identify other priority populations within this phase, based on available vaccine supply.

 

People with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers

 Information to be updated closer to April.

 

If I am the essential care giver of a child who has special needs or health issues that puts them at risk, where do I fit in? When can I expect to be vaccinated? 
The Province of Ontario has predefined teachers and other education staff as essential workers under Phase 2 of the provincial vaccination roll-out plan. The Province is responsible for further defining who else is captured and included under Phase 2. At this time, specific information about the prioritization for caregivers of children with disabilities is not available, but we expect the province to have further direction on Phase 2 implementation in the coming weeks.

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Phase 3

When: August 2021 and beyond, depending on availability of vaccines

Status: Vaccination has not yet started.

The following categories of people are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination during Phase 3. 

Learn more about each category and how to get vaccinated if you are eligible.

General public
Information to be updated closer to August. Prioritization within the general population based on the province of Ontario’s ethical framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

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Vaccine safety and effectiveness


What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a viral infection that primarily affects the lungs. Some people may have a mild illness. Others may get very sick, including older adults or those with a pre-existing health condition. Very rarely, some children can get a serious inflammatory condition. The long-term effects of COVID-19 are not fully known. Some people are at greater risk of getting COVID-19 because of their work or living conditions. 

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Do the COVID-19 vaccines work? 

Two COVID-19 vaccines are currently approved in Canada. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine can be given to people 16 years of age and older, including older adults. Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine can be given to people 18 years of age and older, including older adults. In clinical trials, both vaccines were higher than 90% effective.   

There is a small chance that you may still get COVID-19 after being vaccinated. As such, it is very important to continue with public health measures such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, and staying home if you are sick. Health care and other staff must still wear personal protective equipment (PPE) even after they have been vaccinated.  

How do mRNA vaccines work?

American Sign Language - How do mRNA vaccines work?

COVID-19 vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) which provides instructions to cells in our bodies to make a viral protein from the coronavirus called a “spike protein”. The mRNA provides the instructions that allows the cell to make the spike protein, and then the immune system is activated to recognize the spike protein as being different from the body’s own proteins and initiates an immune response. The mRNA is then degraded by normal cellular mechanisms and the spike proteins are destroyed by the immune system.  mRNA vaccines are used to prevent COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. COVID-19 vaccination along with public health measures will offer the best protection from the spread of COVID-19.

How different is this COVID-19 vaccine from the influenza (flu) vaccine?

No, the Covid-19 and influenza vaccine are separate products. COVID-19 vaccine will not protect you against influenza. The seasonal influenza vaccine changes every flu season. When you receive your annual flu vaccine, you are protected only from the specific influenza strains that are circulating for that given season that are covered by the vaccine.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is a vaccine used to prevent COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

What happens if I miss my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or I receive my second dose after the recommended time interval between doses?

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that the doses be given at the recommended intervals. 

To make sure that the vaccine provides the best protection for most people, the second dose of the vaccine may be delayed for some. It is preferable that the second dose is still given within 42 days of the first dose. 

As a general vaccination principle, a series does not need to be restarted, if it was interrupted (which would lead to longer time between doses).  For most other vaccines, delays between doses do not reduce how well the vaccine will work. In general, you should not be concerned if you experience a delay between doses. 

Iwill take time for your body to build protection after you have received the vaccine. It will be months before enough people are vaccinated and the spread of COVID-19 is no longer a concern. Public health measures such as mask wearing, physical distancing and hand washing are still required after being vaccinated. 

Do both doses in the vaccine series need to be the same COVID-19 vaccine? 

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that the vaccine series be completed with the same COVID-19 vaccine product. There is not enough information on whether a second dose with a different vaccine product will offer the same protection.  

However, the same type of COVID-19 vaccine may be given if:  

  • a second dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine is not available or   
  • it is unknown which vaccine was taken first   

For example, both doses should be an mRNA vaccine. The Pfizer BioNtech and Moderna vaccines are both mRNA vaccines.   

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Which vaccines are approved in Canada?

Learn about each vaccine, how it works, how it is given, ingredients, allergies, possible side effects, safety monitoring

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Reasons to get vaccinated

Why should I get vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread and reduce the impact of infectious diseases, whether it is the seasonal flu (influenza) or childhood infections. Safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19 are becoming available to protect us against COVID-19. While many people infected with COVID-19 experience only mild illness, others may get a severe illness or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience the illness of COVID-19.

What percentage of the population needs to get vaccinated to have “herd immunity”?

Herd immunity is when enough people have protection that makes it unlikely a virus or bacteria can spread and cause disease. This protection can be either from a previous infection or vaccination. As a result, on average, the whole population within the community is protected. But those who are not protected because they have never had the disease, didn’t get vaccinated or the vaccine didn’t protect them could still get sick. This is why it is not a good idea to rely on herd immunity to protect yourself instead of getting vaccinated.

The percentage of people who need to have protection to reach herd immunity varies by disease. 

Some estimates for COVID-19 suggest it may be near 60 to 70%. However, herd immunity calculations may not be reliable in the context of COVID-19 because of many unknowns. The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing asymptomatic infection remains unknown right now. For this reason, herd immunity calculations will only give an estimated target for vaccination programs.

Until the effects of the COVID-19 vaccines have been fully studied, it is best to not assume that vaccinations will protect others. We must continue to protect ourselves and others by:

  • wearing a mask
  • physical distancing
  • practicing hand hygiene
  • staying home and getting tested when sick

These measures will help to continue to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVID19Vaccine

Can people who have already tested positive for COVID-19 get a COVID-19 vaccine?  

Yes. Those who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 should still be vaccinated and people do not need COVID-19 testing prior to vaccination.  

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people can still get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.  

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity developed after having an infection, called natural immunity, is different from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long. We need more information on how well the vaccine works to be able to assess how long immunity from the vaccine will last.

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Myths

Can the mRNA vaccine alter a person’s DNA?
No. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause a COVID-19 infection?

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use, use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. The goal of each of the vaccines is to teach the immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign of the immune response to vaccine.

It usually takes the body a few weeks to build immunity after receiving a vaccine. It is possible that someone could become infected with the COVID-19 virus before or just after getting the vaccine and get sick. This happens because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection in the body. Learn more about COVID-19.

How do I know if the vaccine is halal?

Many companies are making vaccines and the first two COVID-19 vaccines approved in Canada from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna do not contain gelatin or pork products. 

Vaccines that may become available later may include gelatin or pork products, and as more information becomes available for these, consult with religious leaders about which specific vaccines are recommended. It is important to know there will be approved vaccines in Canada that do not contain gelatin or pork products.

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Safety

Has the vaccine been shown to cause Bell’s palsy?
No. A direct connection with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes temporary facial paralysis, has not been established. The Pfizer study examined 38,000 patients and found four cases of Bell’s palsy among those who received the vaccine, but this is in keeping with the normal observed incidence of Bell's palsy in the population. The COVID-19 vaccine, like all vaccines, continues to be monitored for adverse events. 
Is it true that the COVID-19 vaccine only stops someone from having COVID-19 symptoms, but they could still pass the virus to others without knowing (asymptomatic transmission)?  

Studies of COVID-19 vaccines have shown that they are very effective at preventing people from becoming sick with COVID-19.However, right now we do not have enough information to show us how likely it is that someone who has been given a COVID-19 vaccine can develop an asymptomatic(no symptoms) COVID-19 infection and pass it to others.  

While there is early evidence suggesting that the vaccine may also reduce COVID-19 transmission, NACI is recommending that everyone continue to practice public health measures (e.g. wearing a face mask and physical distancing) regardless of whether or not they received a COVID-19 vaccine. More information on the vaccines ability to reduce COVID-19 transmission is expected in the near future.  

This means the vaccines will protect those who receive it from getting sick, but it is possible that someone who has been vaccinated could still carry the virus pass the virus on to othersalthough it would likely be at a much lower rate.  

How was Health Canada able to approve the COVID-19 vaccine so quickly – did they lower their safety standard for vaccines?

The reason the COVID-19 vaccine was approved quickly is not because safety standards have changed, it’s because Health Canada shortened the administrative and organizational process of vaccine authorization. The safety requirements in clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine were just as strict as the regular process for any other vaccine.

Is getting the COVID-19 vaccine voluntary?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccines will not be mandatory, but you are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.
How do I decide if vaccination is the right choice for me and my family?
Feeling worried or hesitant is completely normal when something is new. Vaccination is a personal choice, and one that most Canadians agree is an important part of maintaining good health and for disease prevention.
Why should I get vaccinated against COVID-19?
Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread and reduce the impact of infectious diseases. Safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19 are becoming available to protect us against COVID-19. While many people infected with COVID-19 experience only mild illness, others may get a severe illness or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not considered to be at increased risk of severe complications. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience the illness itself.
Can people who have already tested positive for COVID-19 get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. Those who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 should still be vaccinated and people do not need COVID-19 testing prior to vaccination.

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Public health measures

Once a person is vaccinated with the series of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, can they stop following public health measures like wearing a mask, physical distancing and self-isolating when they become sick?

No. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue practicing public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. That means covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often and never touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others and self-isolating when sick.  

Health care and other staff must still wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when working, even after they have been vaccinated. 

COVID-19 vaccination along with public health measures will offer the best protection from the spread of COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change the recommendations everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision. 

Why would I want to get the COVID-19 vaccine if we are still required to follow public health measures even after vaccination?

The main reason to get vaccinated is to protect your own health. Vaccines add a valuable layer of protection against COVID-19 infection which can lead to severe illness and death. More people vaccinated means fewer COVID-19 infections in the community. This is important in helping to reduce the burden on the health care system. This would mean less people in the hospital, less patients in ICU and more capacity for hospitals to resume surgeries and treatments. 

At this timewe do not know if the vaccine prevents people from getting COVID-19, that they could then pass on to others. What we have learned from other vaccines is when more people are vaccinated and immunethis should eventually mean a higher likelihood of indirect protectioto those who are not immune to the disease.  

How long can we expect public health measures to be in place after COVID-19 vaccination in the community?

It is not known at this time. As we know public health measures such as mask wearing, physical distancing and hand washing help to limit the spread of COVID-19. Individual public health measures  will be strongly recommended for as long as they are needed. Measures in place at businesses and schools could be lifted over time depending on levels of community transmission.

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Allergies, side effects and medical conditions

Can people with severe allergies to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine receive the vaccine?

No. People with a history of severe allergic reaction to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine should not receive the vaccine. 

Visit the Health Canada web page to learn who should not received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?

American Sign Language - What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?

The most frequent side effects are injection site pain, fatigue and headache. Some people who got the vaccine in trials also reported muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. These symptoms were usually mild or moderate and went away within a few days. These are all expected reactions to vaccines because of the immune response. They are very similar to those reported following the seasonal influenza vaccination.

You can find more information on the side effects for each vaccine here: Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

If a person develops an adverse reaction, what should be done?

No serious safety concerns have been causally linked to COVID-19 vaccines approved in Canada.

If someone experiences an adverse event following immunization, they should report it to a healthcare professional (e.g., family doctor).

An adverse event following immunization (AEFI) is an unwanted or unexpected health effect that happens after someone receives a vaccine, which may or may not be caused by the vaccine.

Healthcare professionals should complete the Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) Form and send it to the local public health unit.

Public health surveillance of AEFIs is important for timely detection of rare vaccine safety issues. For more information visit the OPH page on AEFI reporting.

Expected side effects for each vaccine product are listed on the vaccine product monograph; common side effects could be found under ‘Side effects and risks’.

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Precautions

Can I receive the COVID-19 Vaccine if I am pregnant, breast/chestfeeding or immunocompromised? 

National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that if a risk assessment with a health care provider deems that the benefits outweigh the potential risks, and if informed consent includes discussion about the absence of evidence on the use of COVID-19 vaccine then a complete series of COVID-19 vaccine may be offered to the following populations: 

  • Adolescents 12 to 15 years of age (Pfizer BioNTech Vaccine) 

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding/chestfeeding 

  • Immunosuppressed due to disease or treatment or suffering from autoimmune disorder 

What should I consider before receiving the vaccine? 

  • Wait to get vaccinated if you have a fever or are sick with COVID-19 symptoms. This will help avoid confusing symptoms from other illnesses with vaccine-related adverse events. It also helps to decrease COVID-19 transmission at an immunization clinic
  • Are you on long-term anticoagulation therapy? National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendations support that most people can be safely immunized without stopping their anticoagulation (blood thinner) therapy
  • If you have a bleeding disorder, NACI recommends that you make sure it is well managed before immunization
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I recently got my flu (influenza) shot, or another vaccine? 

National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) currently recommends that people wait for at least 14 days after being given another vaccine (e.g. the influenza vaccine) before receiving the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are both mRNA vaccines. NACI also recommends that people wait for 28 days after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before getting another vaccine. In summary, the COVID-19 vaccine should be given 14 days after receiving any previous vaccine and additional vaccines should not be given for 28 days after the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Finally, NACI does not recommend that COVID-19 vaccines be given at the same time as other vaccines.  

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Vaccine distribution plan


Who is determining who can get a COVID-19 vaccine and when? 

The Government of Canada is responsible for approval and procurement of COVID-19 vaccine supply. The Government of Ontario is responsible for the distribution of these vaccines across the province. The Ethical Framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution(link is external) guides how the provincial government prioritizes and distributes vaccines across Ontario.

The City’s Emergency Operations Centre and Ottawa Public Health are doing everything possible to ensure Ottawa residents who want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be able to access it as quickly and efficiently as possible, dependent on vaccine supply and in alignment with the provincial framework. The total amount of vaccines that will be distributed to the City of Ottawa and precise delivery dates are not yet known. These decisions are made by the province and subject to vaccine procurement from the federal government.

Currently, the province has advised that they are adjusting vaccination plans in response to shipment delays. For the latest information, please refer to the following web page:

Government of Ontario: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario.

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Where will I be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Various strategies will be used to distribute and administer vaccines across Ottawa, based on the quantity and type of vaccines received throughout 2021. The primary locations and strategies will include hospital clinics, community clinics, pharmacies, mobile vaccination teams, primary health care providers like family doctors and by other health care professionals such as nurses working in congregate living settings, including long-term care homes and shelters.

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 are not yet open but can be operational within 72 hours in the event large amounts of vaccines become available.

Where will the community clinics be located?

  • Horticulture Building,1525 Princess Patricia Way
  • Eva James Memorial Centre, 65 Stonehaven Drive
  • Peter Clark Facility, 255 Centrum Boulevard
  • Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroffe Avenue
  • Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West
  • St-Laurent Complex, 525 Côté Street
  • Canterbury Recreation Complex, 2185 Arch Street
  • The Ottawa Hospital - Civic Campus, 1053 Carling Ave
  • Queensway Carleton Hospital, 3045 Baseline Rd
  • Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA, 265 Centrum Blvd

In addition to community clinics, mobile vaccination teams will continue to be deployed as needed to reach targeted populations, including homeless and rural residents. Pop-up clinics will also be set up at select sites for multiple days but are not permanent. They will be located in neighbourhoods experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission.

When will the community clinics open?

Timelines for opening community clinics will depend on vaccine supply and community clinics will be opened incrementally as supply increases. Under the province’s phased approach to vaccine roll-out, these community clinics are unlikely to be fully operational until Phase 2 (starting April 2021), dependent on vaccine availability.

Once fully operational, these community clinics will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week and have the capacity to administer a total of nearly 11,000 immunizations per day.

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Pop-up clinics

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.

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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. 

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Is there a list I need to be on to get the vaccine?

No. The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health will undertake robust public information campaigns to keep residents informed on the vaccine rollout locally.

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How will I be notified when it's my turn to get the vaccine?

Right now, vaccine supply is limited. As supply is expected to increase in the coming months, the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health will be communicating through various media channels on who is eligible to present where for vaccination.

Can I volunteer to assist with vaccine distribution?

Ottawa Public Health is seeking physicians and community/primary care immunizers for COVID-19 vaccination at long-term care, retirement homes and other congregate care settings on a volunteer basis. If you or your organization are interested in offering to help support the vaccine rollout as immunizers, please contact COVIDimmunizers@ottawa.ca.

At this time, plans have not been finalized for the use of volunteers to assist with immunization clinics given the availability of vaccine supply remains unknown. However, those looking for information on volunteering can contact COVID19Volunteer@ottawa.ca. If volunteers are needed, you may be contacted to assist.

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Other questions

How are we engaging the community and specific groups like Indigenous, seniors, racialized communities?
Ottawa Public Health has established a local Vaccine Sequence Strategy Task Force to advise the City’s Emergency Operations Centre on how to implement the sequence of vaccines given local context, including maximizing uptake among groups sequenced ahead of others. This Task Force includes representation from groups highly affected by COVID-19, such as newcomers, Indigenous, racialized people, older adults, and healthcare workers. The Vaccine Sequencing Task Force relies on the framework established by the Province of Ontario.
What can I do now and how can I help?

It will be several months until a vaccine is available to the general public. In the meantime, it is essential that we all continue to do our part to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in the community: limit your close contacts to those within your household, practice physical distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay home except for essential reasons and follow local and provincial guidance.

Until vaccines are widely available, it remains important to take steps to protect yourself, your loved ones and our community against COVID-19. Learn more about things you can do to reduce virus spread by following OPH on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To keep up-to-date with the latest information, follow “COVID Decoded” with Dr. Trevor Arnason, on OPH’s YouTube channel.

How long until “things are back to normal”?

COVID-19 vaccination, along with continued public health measures, will offer the best protection from the spread of COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines afford before determining any change in public health guidelines. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect these decisions.

Once a person is vaccinated with the series of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, they should continue following public health measures like wearing a mask, physical distancing and self-isolating when they become sick.

What mental health resources are available to those feeling anxious about vaccine availability?

The COVID-19 situation can be very stressful. It is OK to not be OK.

If you are in crisis, please contact the Mental Health Crisis Line (24 hours a day/7 days a week) at 613-722-6914 or if outside Ottawa toll-free at 1-866-996-0991.

Please visit Ottawa Public Health’s Mental Health and COVID-19 page for an extensive list of resources, including a printable version of a Mental Health and COVID-19 Resource List.

I am an older adult, but I don’t live in a long-term care or retirement home. When can I be vaccinated against COVID-19? 

On February 14, 2021, the Province of Ontario provided updated direction on the sequencing of Phase 1 priority populations for COVID-19 vaccination. Adults aged 80 and over (not living in congregate homes for seniors) are now part of Phase 1 of the provincial rollout plan, once supply increases. Previously, these older adults were in Phase 2.

Given limited vaccine supply, immediate access to all residents in the Phase 1 population group is not possible. The City and Ottawa Public Health will undertake a phased approach, beginning with pop-up clinics in communities experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission. Vaccinations for the broader community of adults 80 years and older will begin later in March, pending vaccine supply.

Older adults, beginning with those 79 years and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout, are expected to be offered vaccines, depending on their availability, as part of Phase 2 of the province’s framework for prioritization.

For more information on the Provinces three-phased vaccine distribution implementation plan, please refer to question number 7. 

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More information


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Contact Information

Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 telephone line

  • Monday to Friday, from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • Weekends, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Translation is available in multiple languages
  • Telephone: 613-580-6744 follow the prompts to the COVID-19 telephone line
  • TTY: 613-580-9656

Emergency Services

  • If you are in distress (e.g., significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to the Assessment Centre or a COVID-19 Care clinic. Go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.

See someone not respecting COVID-19 rules?

How to access help during COVID-19

  • 211 Ontario can help you find financial and social support during COVID-19
  • Telephone: 2-1-1

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