On December 9, 2020 Health Canada authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, made by Pfiezer-BioNTech. Several other vaccines are currently at various stages of regulatory approval by Health Canada. 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 and Pfizer- BioNTech. The first COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Canada on Monday December 14, and a Personal Support Worker (PSW) was the first resident of Ottawa to receive the vaccine on Tuesday, December 15. Health care workers providing care at 10 Ottawa long-term care homes have been selected to receive the initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Ottawa.
The City of Ottawa’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force (CVDT) continues work on a plan for vaccine distribution as it awaits further details from the provincial and federal governments.
There will be a phased and scheduled vaccination campaign to make COVID-19 vaccine available to everyone in Ottawa, however, it will take many months before large segments of the population are vaccinated. We are confident that residents of Ottawa will keep doing their best to protect their friends, family and coworkers while the vaccinations continue.
OPH has launched a COVID-19 Vaccine page at OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVID19Vaccine with information on the Ottawa context, how the vaccine works, as well as precautions and considerations for residents to be aware of.
COVID-19 Safe Voluntary Isolation Site Program
On Thursday, December 17th, the Ottawa Safe Voluntary Isolation Site Program was announced. This will be a welcoming and secure temporary home for people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to self-isolate, especially those who cannot do so safely in their own homes.
With the capacity for up to 107 rooms, those choosing to stay at the centre will be offered a comfortable private room, meals, and transportation to and from the site before and after their self-isolation period. There are no costs associated to their stay. This is an opportunity for these individuals to rest and recover, without fear or anxiety of transmitting the virus to their family, loved ones, roommates and others they live with. People with COVID-19 infections will be prioritized, but other individuals may also be eligible, for example health care workers and international travelers who face barriers to self-isolating where they usually live, or who may be living in a setting experiencing an outbreak. OPH staff will identify those who qualify through the case management and contact tracing process, and the decision to stay at the centre is completely voluntary.
The site will operate from December 21 until June 30, with a possibility of extension. Please note the exact location is undisclosed to protect the privacy of the clients and reduce stigma.
The centre is an important part of Ottawa Public Health’s efforts to reduce community transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Voluntary isolation is a proven way to help reduce the risks of spreading the virus among household contacts. Please share this important new information with your constituents. Those who are in need of the services of the new centre or are in need of additional mental health supports while isolating can reach out to Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
OPH would like to express gratitude to the local hotel operator for use of the site, and funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada and federal government.