COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in the EOHU Region

Read the message from the Medical Officer of Health on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

The EOHU continues to receive a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, which are being distributed in accordance with Ontario’s mandated vaccine roll-out plan. See General Information on COVID-19 Vaccines.

It will take time for COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed to everyone in the community. Currently there are no COVID-19 vaccine clinics available to the public within the EOHU region and there is no waiting list to receive the vaccine. The EOHU will notify the public as the vaccine becomes available to different population groups. Please follow us on social media and visit our website often at www.EOHU.ca/vaccines. We will also work with community and municipal partners to ensure residents within the EOHU region are informed.

Over time, the vaccine supply will increase so that all Ontarians who wish to be immunized will have access to a vaccine. It is anticipated that by this fall (or sooner), anyone in the EOHU region who wants a vaccine will have access to one. The timelines indicated below are estimates based on currently approved vaccines. As more vaccines are approved, timelines may be shorter. Visit the Government of Ontario's website for up-to-date information on the vaccine and implementation phases.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan for EOHU Region

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Current Status of Vaccine Distribution in the EOHU Region

Population Group

Start Date  Status
People aged 50 and older (born in 1971 or earlier) 2021-05-06 Planning
Essential workers who cannot work from home - First Group 2021-05-06 Planning
People aged 55 and older (born in 1966 or earlier) 2021-04-30 Underway
Licensed child care workers 2021-04-29 Underway
Pregnant individuals 18 years of age or older 2021-04-23 Underway
Indigenous populations 18 years of age and older living off-reserve 2021-04-21 Underway
Chronic home care recipients (18+) 2021-04-17 Underway
High-risk congregate living settings 2021-04-15 Underway
Education workers in elementary and secondary schools supporting students with complex special education needs 2021-04-12 Underway
Individuals with highest-risk or high-risk health conditions 2021-04-10 Underway
People aged 60 and older (born in 1961 or earlier) 2021-04-07 Underway
People aged 70 and older (born in 1951 or earlier) 2021-04-02 Underway
People aged 75 and older (born in 1946 or earlier) 2021-03-22 Underway
People aged 80 and older (born in 1941 or earlier) 2021-03-15 Underway
Indigenous populations 55 years of age and older living off-reserve 2021-03-14 Underway
Indigenous populations living on-reserve (Akwesasne) 2021-03-08 Underway
Retirement homes
Click to see the list of individual facilities that have received the COVID-19 vaccine to date.
2021-01-28 Underway
Health care workers
Click to see how Health Care Workers are prioritized.
2021-01-19 Underway
Long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes (including Akwesasne)
Click to see the list of individual facilities that have received the COVID-19 vaccine to date.
2021-01-13 Underway

Prioritization of Phase 2 Priority Populations

In Phase 2, vaccines will initially be made available to population groups based primarily on age and risk, including adults aged 60-79 years of age and groups recognised to have greater risk associated with hot spot communities, congregate living settings as well as highest and high-risk health conditions. Additional focused strategies will support vaccination of essential workers who cannot work from home and at-risk health conditions.

Immediate priority for first-dose vaccination:

The groups identified as immediate priority should be offered a vaccine first in Phase 2 of Ontario’s vaccination program. There is no relative prioritization within the immediate priority groups (i.e., they should be offered vaccinations concurrently).

  • Adults aged 60-79, starting with those 75-79 and decreasing in 5-year increments
  • Individuals with health conditions, starting with highest risk and high-risk health conditions
  • Residents, essential caregivers and staff of high-risk congregate settings
  • Adults aged 50+ in COVID-19 hot spot communities, starting with older individuals and decreasing in age

Next priority for first-dose vaccination:

The groups identified as next priority are those that should be offered a first dose of vaccine in Phase 2 of Ontario’s vaccination program when all reasonable efforts have been made to offer a first dose of vaccine to all those within the immediate priority group.

  • Remaining individuals with at-risk health conditions
  • Essential workers who cannot work from home starting with those in the First Group and then proceeding to those in the Second Group


Phase 2 Priority Population Group Descriptions

High-Risk Congregate Living Settings

  • Residents and all frontline workers in high-risk congregate living settings.
  • High-risk congregate living settings refer to residential facilities where a high-risk client population live or stay overnight and use shared spaces (e.g., common sleeping areas, shared bathrooms, shared kitchens, communal dining spaces).
  • Includes homeless populations not in shelters.
  • Includes workers who may be volunteers, learners, and third-party workers who regularly work in the setting (e.g., agency workers, other third-party workers).
  • Includes workers who are actively in their roles at the time of planned or anticipated vaccination. Workers that have been redeployed should be assessed based on their place of work or role at the time of planned or anticipated vaccination.
  • Includes essential caregivers for developmental services, mental health and addictions congregate settings, homes for special care, children’s residential facilities, and Indigenous healing and wellness facilities.
  • Essential caregivers are those identified through an organization’s caregiver definition, or where no policy or definition is in place, assumes primary individuals providing direct, frequent and sustained in-person personal care and/or assistance with activities of daily living to a resident of a congregate living setting.
  • Does not include any staff that are fully working from home or virtually.

High-Risk Congregate living settings include:

  • Supportive housing
  • Developmental services / intervenor including supported independent living(SIL)
  • Emergency homeless shelters
  • Other homeless populations not in shelters
  • Mental health and addictions congregate living (e.g., supportive housing, hospital psychiatric patients)
  • Homes for special care
  • Employer-provided living accommodations for temporary foreign agricultural workers
  • Adult correctional facilities
  • Violence Against Women (VAW) shelters
  • Anti-Human Trafficking (AHT) residences
  • Children’s residential facilities
  • Youth justice facilities
  • Indigenous healing and wellness
  • Bail beds & Indigenous bail beds
  • Provincial and demonstration schools/ Consortium Centre Jules-Léger

Individuals with Health Conditions

  • Individuals with health conditions (as listed below), and up to one primary essential caregiver for those in the Highest-Risk Health Conditions group and for certain individuals in the High-Risk Health Conditions Group.
  • An essential caregiver is someone providing direct, frequent and sustained in-person personal care and/or assistance with activities of daily living to the individual.
  • The list of health conditions is not exhaustive. Health care practitioners will use their best medical judgement to vaccinate patients with health conditions not listed (e.g., rare diseases) that may put them at similar or greater risk to listed conditions.

Highest-Risk Health Conditions:

  • Organ transplant recipients
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
  • Neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis)
  • Haematological malignancy diagnosed <1 year
  • Kidney disease eGFR< 30
  • All pregnant individuals 18 years of age or older

High-Risk Health Conditions:

  • Obesity (BMI > 40)
  • Other treatments causing immunosuppression (e.g., chemotherapy, immunity- weakening medications)
  • Intellectual or developmental disabilities (e.g., Down Syndrome)

At-Risk Health Conditions:

  • Immune deficiencies/autoimmune disorders
  • Stroke/cerebrovascular disease
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • All other cancers
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Spleen problems ( e.g., asplenia)
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension with end organ damage
  • Diagnosis of mental disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Thalassemia
  • Immunocompromising health conditions
  • Other disabilities requiring direct support care in the community

Essential Workers Who Cannot Work From Home

  • All frontline workers who cannot work from home in sectors that are integral to the ongoing functioning of the economy, including justice and social services, critical infrastructure, agri-food and essential goods production and the supply chain.
  • Frontline workers are those that hold public-facing roles or must work in-person with other workers in their workplace in order to deliver essential goods or services and where protective measures such as maintaining a physical distance of 2m from others are not always possible.
  • Includes frontline workers providing response to time-critical service disruptions and preventive maintenance.
  • Does not include any workers that are mostly working from home or virtually.
  • Includes workers that may be working part-time or reduced hours.
  • Includes workers that may be volunteers, learners, and third-party workers regularly working in the setting (e.g., agency workers, other third-party workers).
  • Includes workers who are actively in their roles at the time of planned or anticipated vaccination. Workers that have been redeployed should be considered based on their place of work or role at the time of planned or anticipated vaccination.

First Group of Essential Workers Who Cannot Work from Home

  • Remaining elementary/secondary school workers (including educators, custodial, school bus drivers, administrative staff)
  • Workers responding to critical events (including police, fire, special constables, children’s aid society workers, emergency management, critical infrastructure restoration workers)
  • Enforcement, inspection and compliance roles (including by-law enforcement, building inspectors, food inspectors, animal welfare inspectors, border inspection officers, labour inspectors / WSIB field workers)
  • Remaining individuals working in licensed childcare settings (including all licensees, employees and students on educational placements who interact directly with children in licensed childcare centres and in authorized recreation and skill building programs, licensed home child care and in-home service providers, employees of home child care agencies)
  • Foster care agency workers (including customary care providers)
  • Food manufacturing and distribution workers
  • Agriculture and farm workers
  • Funeral, crematorium and cemetery workers

Second Group of Essential Workers Who Cannot Work from Home

  • Essential and critical retail workers (including grocery, foodbank and non-clinical pharmacy workers, Service Ontario workers, Service Canada and Passport Canada workers, wholesalers and general goods, restaurant workers, LCBO)
  • Workers in manufacturing industries directly involved in supporting the COVID-19 response, construction including infrastructure, and other essential businesses and services where facilities are at heightened risk for COVID-19 outbreaks and spread
  • Social workers and other social services staff providing in-person client services (including   youth justice workers, OW and ODSP case workers)
  • Courts and justice system workers (including probation and parole workers)
  • Transportation, warehousing and distribution workers (including public transit workers, truck drivers supporting essential services, marine and rail cargo and maintenance, highway maintenance)
  • Electricity (including workers employed in system operations, generation, transmission, distribution and storage)
  • Communications infrastructure workers (including cellular, satellite, landline, internet, public safety radio)
  • Water and wastewater management workers
  • Financial services workers (bank branch staff)
  • Veterinarians and veterinary teams
  • Waste management workers
  • Oil and petroleum workers (including those working in petroleum refineries; those involved in the storage, transmission and distribution of crude oil and petroleum products and those needed for the retail sale of fuel)
  • Natural gas and propane gas workers (including those working in the compression, storage, transmission and distribution of natural gas and propane)
  • Mine workers (including those needed to ensure the continued operation of active mines)
  • Uranium processing workers (those working in the refining and conversion of uranium, and fabrication of fuel for nuclear power plants)

Prioritization of Phase 1 Priority Populations

Ontario made adjustments to its vaccination plan in light of the unexpected reduction in supply of vaccines. Given the expected gradual increase in Ontario’s vaccine supply, the next target groups within the Phase 1 priority populations have been identified for vaccination:

Immediate priority for first-dose vaccination:

Next priority for first-dose vaccination:

When all reasonable steps have been taken to complete first-dose vaccinations of all staff, essential caregivers and residents of long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes, first-dose vaccinations may be made available to the remainder of the Phase 1 populations:

Second Dose Intervals:

To increase the availability of first doses during this supply-limited time, all second doses for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines will be administered up to 16 weeks after the administration of the first dose, in accordance with the latest NACI recommendations.

Priority Health Sectors and Workers

The Guidance for Prioritizing Health Care Workers for COVID-19 Vaccination identifies Health Care Workers (HCW) as a priority population for Phase 1 of Ontario’s vaccination program.

The following levels of priority (Highest, Very High, High, Moderate) have been identified by the Ministry of Health and should be used to sub-prioritize health care workers. There may be overlap between the priority levels, and efforts should be made to follow the sequencing and provincial direction as closely as possible starting with individuals who fall into the Highest Priority level.

Highest Priority
Sectors and Settings

Frontline health care workers in the following sectors and settings (including custodial, reception, and other staff):

  • All hospital and acute care staff in frontline roles with COVID-19 patients and/or with a high-risk of exposure to COVID-19, including those performing aerosol-generating procedures:
    • Critical Care Units
    • Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Departments
    • COVID-19 Medical Units
    • Code Blue Teams, rapid response teams
    • General internal medicine and other specialists involved in the direct care of COVID-19 positive patients
  • All patient-facing health care workers involved in the COVID-19 response:
    • COVID-19 Specimen Collection Centers (e.g., Assessment centers, community COVID-19 testing locations)
    • Teams supporting outbreak response (e.g., IPAC teams supporting outbreak management, inspectors in the patient environment, redeployed health care workers supporting outbreaks or staffing crisis in congregate living settings)
    • COVID-19 vaccine clinics and mobile immunization teams
    • Mobile Testing Teams
    • COVID-19 Isolation Centers
    • COVID-19 Laboratory Services
  • Medical First Responders (ORNGE, paramedics, police and firefighters providing medical first response).
  • Community health care workers serving specialized populations including:
    • Needle exchange/syringe programs & supervised consumption and treatment services
    • Aboriginal Health Access Centers, Indigenous Community Health Centers, Indigenous Interprofessional Primary Care Teams, and Indigenous Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics
    • Special considerations for the following:
      • Community Health Centers serving disproportionally affected communities and/or communities experiencing highest burden of health, social and economic impacts from COVID-19
      • Highly critical health care workers in remote and hard to access communities, e.g., sole practitioner
    • Home and community care health care workers caring for recipients of chronic homecare and seniors in congregate living facilities or providing hands-on care to COVID-19 patients in the community

Very High Priority
Sectors and Settings

Frontline health care workers in the following sectors and settings:

  • Acute care and other hospital settings (patient care areas not included in Highest Priority (e.g., surgical care, obstetrics, etc.)).
  • Congregate settings (assisted living, correctional settings, residential facilities, hospices and palliative care settings, shelters, supportive housing (outside of Highest Priority level)).
  • Community care with high risk of exposure and serving specialized patient populations (Community Health Centers, Home and community care (outside of the Highest Priority level), Adult day programs for seniors).
  • Other health care services for Indigenous populations (Community agencies with patient-facing providers delivering any type of health services to First Nations communities and Indigenous Peoples that are not captured in Highest Priority).
  • Community care with high risk of exposure and serving the general population (Birth centres, Community Based Specialists, Death investigation professionals, Dentistry, Gynecology/obstetrics, Midwifery, Nurse practitioner-led clinics / contract nursing agencies, Otolaryngology (ENT), Pharmacies, Primary care, Respirology (Respiratory Therapy), Walk-in clinics,).
  • Laboratory services

High Priority
Sectors and Settings

Frontline health care workers in the following settings and sectors:

  • Community care with lower risk of exposure and serving special populations (developmental services, mental health and addictions services).
  • Community care with lower risk of exposure and serving general population Campus health, Community diagnostic imaging, Daycare/school nursing, Dietary / nutrition, Independent health facilities (e.g., Opticians/Optometry, Podiatry, Audiology, medical and surgical specialties), Naturopathy / Holistic care, Social work, Sexual health clinics).
  • Non-acute rehabilitation and therapy (Chiropractic, Chronic pain clinics, Kinesiology, Occupational therapy, Physiotherapy, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Registered massage therapy / Acupuncture, Other therapy).
  • Public health (all other public health).

Moderate Priority
Sectors and Settings

Non-Frontline health care workers (e.g., those working remotely and who do not require PPE to work).

Notifying the public as population groups become eligible

Information is rapidly changing. To help the public know what to expect, the EOHU will provide updates as quickly as possible about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, timelines, and eligibility. Once mass immunization clinics begin, the EOHU along with community and municipal partners, will share information about the clinics, including how and where to get vaccinated. Keep informed:

Related information

Eastern Ontatio Health Unit / Bureau de santé de l'Ontario