How do I get the coronavirus vaccine in northeastern Ontario?

CTVNewsNorthernOntario.ca has everything you need to know about receiving the COVID-19 vaccines in northeastern Ontario, including locations, how to register, and who is next in line. This information will be updated as new details become available.

WHO CAN GET VACCINATED RIGHT NOW?

The following groups can make an appointment to get vaccinated against COVID-19:

  • Staff and essential caregivers of long-term care homes
  • Residents of retirement homes
  • Alternative level of care patients currently in hospital who have confirmed admission to a long-term care facility, retirement home or other congregate care settings for seniors
  • Indigenous adults in northern remote and higher-risk communities both on and off-reserve
  • Health-care workers as outlined by Ontario's Ministry of Health

Highest priority

  • All hospital and acute care staff in frontline roles with COVID-19 patients and/or with a high risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • All patient-facing health-care workers involved in the COVID-19 response
  • Medical first responders
  • Community health-care workers serving specialized populations

Very high priority

  • Acute care and other hospital settings
  • Congregate living settings
  • Community care with high risk of exposure and serving specialized patient populations
  • Other health-care services for Indigenous populations
  • Community care with a high-risk of exposure and serving the general population
  • Laboratory services

Eligible people are pre-qualified and entered into a booking system that is confirmed when making an appointment.

Long-term care home residents who have received the first dose will also be receiving their second doses.

WHO IS NEXT IN LINE?

  • Adults 80 years and older
  • Staff and caregivers in retirement homes and other congregate care settings for seniors
  • All Indigenous adults
  • Adults receiving chronic home care
  • Health care workers in the "high priority" level: community health care workers with a lower risk of exposure and serving special populations, non-acute rehabilitation and therapy health care workers, and then all other public health workers

HOW WILL I FIND OUT WHEN I CAN RECEIVE THE VACCINE?

Each health unit is responsible for creating its own strategy for vaccination rollout.

Currently, northern health units are working with partner agencies to identify eligible residents to ensure they book their appointment.

WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

As part of their individual strategies, each local public health unit will outline where residents can sign up to receive their vaccine.

The Ontario government is developing a web portal where residents can register to get vaccinated. A customer service desk will also eventually be available for those not comfortable using the online tool.

On Feb. 24, the head of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine task force said the web portal and call centre will be ready to go live on March 15.

Some health-care workers can sign up for their appointment through a virtual timesheet.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE REGISTERING?

You will be asked to stay for 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine to monitor for any adverse events.

As with all other medications and vaccines, the COVID-19 shot can cause side effects – the most frequent adverse reactions were typically mild or moderate in intensity and resolved within a few days.

Some of the potential side effects include; pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle or joint pain, chills, fever, swollen glands, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, enlarged lymph nodes in your underarm.

WHO HAS ALREADY RECEIVED THE VACCINE?

  • Long-term care home residents and First Nation elders

WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MY APPOINTMENT?

  • Ontario health card
  • If you do not have an Ontario health care you are asked to bring another piece of photo identification that is government-issued, such as a drivers licence, passport, status card or other provincial health cards
  • Face mask
  • Immunization record to keep track of this vaccine and others
  • Assistive devices, as needed
  • Reading glasses and/or hearing aid, if required
  • Support person, if required
  • You should take your regular medication and eat meals as usual
  • Do not wear any scented products
  • Wear a loose-fitting top so health-care provider can easily access your arm for the vaccination

WHEN DO I GET MY SECOND DOSE?

Initially, Ontario residents receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were advised to receive their second dose 21 days after the first dose. As well, those receiving the Moderna vaccine were advised to receive their second dose within 28 days of their first.

On Feb. 14, the province said all second dose appointments for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be conducted within 35 days and no later than 42 days of receiving the first dose to increase availability during a supply-limited time. This timeline does not apply to residents of long-term care, high-risk retirement and First Nations elder care homes, as well as residents of other types of congregate care homes for seniors and those 80 years of age or older.

WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?