Ottawa Public Health notifies eligible residents of clinic and registration options through a targeted approach which may include door-to-door and floor-to-floor (apartment buildings) outreach and posters in the neighbourhood. These pop-up clinics are not advertised widely to the greater public as the intent is to reach individuals in specific areas within priority neighbourhoods.
Throughout the COVID-19 response, the primary goal has been to protect the people most at risk for hospitalization and death as a result of COVID-19. Assessment of socio demographic data earlier in the pandemic highlighted the disproportionate impacts some communities faced and continue to experience throughout the pandemic. To address these differences, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the Ottawa Health Team launched a COVID-19 Community Response focusing on specific neighbourhoods. Neighbourhoods were selected based on socio demographic factors as highlighted by the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study (ONS) data coupled with rates of COVID-19 in the community.
As has been widely publicised, the province identified “hot spots” across Ontario for vaccine prioritization based on the first three digits of a postal code. These provincially identified “hot spots” did not include a postal code in Bay Ward. Although some of these local “hot spots” incorporate some of the high-priority neighbourhoods previously identified by OPH, the Medical Officer of Health has the authority to further focus on neighbourhoods, like the three in Bay Ward, based on local considerations. Therefore, the Emergency Operations Centre will continue to focus its efforts on priority neighbourhoods previously identified for the vaccine rollout.
Priority Neighbourhood Plan:
The Priority Neighbourhood Taskforce has been leading the overall strategy to increase access, minimize barriers and offer an increasing level of support for those with more disadvantage. Some of the barriers that exist within the priority neighbourhoods, which are among the lowest income communities in Ottawa, include:
- Inability to book time off or lack of childcare required to get a vaccine
- Language barriers
- Access to technology and technical challenges booking through the provincial system
- Need for additional supports, such as the help of a social worker
- The limited appointments available in the provincial system.
- A desire to wait for availability to open to all age groups to limit vaccination to “one trip” with all family members
Supports provided to date:
To date, the vaccine distribution used a variety of mechanisms to address these barriers. These included:
- Increasing access to Community Clinics
- Supports to complete the online booking process
- Transportation supports through partners
Opportunities to access vaccine outside of Community Clinics:
- Pop-up clinics that did not require online bookings
- Ottawa Health Team led mobile vaccination clinics within 15 Ottawa Community Housing buildings
- Vaccination to homebound residents
- Partnerships with local health organizations for focused clinics, such as the Bruyère clinic for AIDS Committee of Ottawa clients and with Local Agencies Serving Immigrants clients
- Request to the Provincial government to prioritize pharmacy clinics in priority neighbourhoods
Increase awareness of opportunities:
- Outreach to community partners
- Information sessions and town halls in 9 languages
Current neighbourhood strategy priorities:
The Priority Neighbourhood Taskforce is reviewing the impact of the recent opening of appointments to all residents over 12 years old on the priority neighbourhoods.
In the meantime, the neighbourhood strategy will continue to focus on three key areas:
- Tailored options to address barriers experienced by residents that continue to be the hardest to reach
- Booking and transportation support into existing vaccine clinic options
- Continuing to build confidence in vaccine
The Priority Neighbourhood Taskforce is working with partners to identify options to meet the needs of people with the greatest barriers to accessing the vaccine, especially the 1st dose. In some areas, this may include pop-ups that include the school age population and their families, where projected coverage rates remain low. These pop-ups will apply learnings from the previous pop-up clinics, which focused on a very specific population and where communications were conducted through direct outreach. However, as these will be very focused on specific neighbourhoods, residents are encouraged to not wait for a pop-up clinic to come to their community. The implementation of these clinics will depend on data from local neighbourhoods and will consider the other supports and immunization channels available to residents within a particular geographical region. Resources will be allocated to the specific areas that require the most support, and not all priority neighbourhoods may receive a pop-up clinic.
If you are frustrated with the provincial booking system in relation to postal codes, you can share your feedback with your MPP Jeremy Roberts so that he may have this addressed at his level of government.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 613-721-8075
For more information
We will provide further updates about second doses and new appointments when they are available. Sign up for the COVID-19 vaccination update e-subscription for regular news on the vaccine roll-out.
The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health are committed to ensuring any resident who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will receive one.
Visit Ottawa.ca or OttawaPublicHealth.ca for more on Ottawa’s vaccination distribution plan, including information about: