Last Update: February 11, 2021 Answers are based on the current information available. As the situation remains dynamic, please visit the Government of Ontario’s website for the latest updates.
The following questions were those most frequently asked by residents and Members of Council from January 4th to present. These FAQs will be updated as new details emerge from all levels of government.
Planning and Distribution
1. Who is determining who can get a COVID-19 vaccine and when? *(Updated)
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
2. Where will I be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19?
3. 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
The City will open additional clinics if vaccine supply allows. The City, in collaboration with Ottawa Public Health, will also deploy mobile vaccination teams to areas of the city that are disproportionally impacted by COVID-19.
4. When will the community clinics open?
The City’s community clinics are not currently in operation. They are ready to open, subject to vaccine availability. Under the province’s phased approach to vaccine roll-out, these community clinics are unlikely to be operational until Phase 2 (starting March 2021), dependent on vaccine availability. More details will follow in the coming weeks.
Once open, the four pre-identified community clinics will have the capacity to administer 1,200 vaccines per day at each clinic. They will operate 7-days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. to ensure resident access.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. When will I be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and who comes next in Ottawa?
The Province has started to roll out a three-phased vaccine distribution implementation planas follows:
Phase 1 – Starting December 2020: Limited doses of the vaccine available for residents, essential caregivers, staff and other employees of long-term care homes, retirements homes, and other congregate settings caring for seniors at high-risk; eligible health care workers in accordance with the Ministry of Health guidance; first Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, and adult chronic home care recipients. COVID-19 Vaccine
Phase 2 – Starting March 2021: Increasing stock of vaccines, available to older adults, beginning with those 80 and older, people who live and work in high-risk congregate settings (for example, shelters, community living), frontline essential workers, including first responders, teachers, food processing workers, individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers, and other populations and communities who are at greater COVID-19 risk.
Phase 3 – Starting August 2021: Vaccines available widely across Ontario for anyone in the general population who wants to be immunized. These timelines are subject to change subject to possible additional vaccine approvals and supply. Please check the provincial website for the latest on vaccine distribution in Ontario. These decisions are made by the Province and subject to vaccine availability from the Federal government. For more information on vaccine sequencing in Ottawa, please visit Ottawa Public Health’s website.
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
8. When will people in Ottawa start getting vaccinated against COVID-19?
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.
9. When can the general public get vaccinated against COVID-19?
Starting August 2021, and depending on availability of vaccines, it is anticipated that all remaining eligible Ontarians in the general population who wish to be vaccinated will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine.
10. 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?
Older adults, beginning with those 80 and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout are expected to be offered vaccines starting in March 2021, depending on the availability of vaccines.
11. I am an essential worker. When can I be vaccinated against COVID-19?
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 March 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.
12. My spouse and I are seniors that fall into separate age categories. Will we get vaccinated at the same time? *(New)
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 Ontariopage.
13. 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? *(New)
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.
14. Am I able to join a waitlist to be prioritized for the vaccine? *(New)
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.
Vaccine Information & Safety
15. Is getting the COVID-19 vaccine voluntary?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccines will not be mandatory, but you are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. Will I need to continue wearing mask after being vaccinated?
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 measuresto 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.
22. 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.
23. Can I volunteer to assist with vaccine distribution? *(New)
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.
24. What mental health resources are available to those feeling anxious about vaccine availability? *(New)
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.