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Getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario | COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario – Government of Ontario News



Why get vaccinated

Safe and reliable vaccines can help protect you and your family from covid 19. They will be an important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and allow individuals, families and workers to safely resume normal life.

When a large percentage of the population becomes immune to covid 19, the spread of the virus will slow down or stop. This is known as herd immunity.

Herd immunity is different for each disease. For example, to stop their spread:

  • approximately 80% of the population must be immune to polio
  • up to 95% of the population must be immune to measles

As evidence is evolving on covid 19 and vaccines, additional research is needed to determine how much of the population needs to be vaccinated to stop its spread.

Building immunity takes time

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines approved for use in Canada require two doses, administered a few weeks apart, for your body to develop adequate immunity.

Until vaccines are widely available for everyone to receive two doses and achieve herd immunity, we all must:

Please check back for regular updates as more details are available.

When vaccines will be available

We are rolling out a three-phase distribution plan to ensure Ontario is prepared to receive, store and administer covid 19 vaccines when they arrive over the next several months. It focuses first on vulnerable populations that are at greatest risk of covid 19 and severe illness and those who care for them.

After independent and thorough scientific reviews for safety, efficacy and quality, Health Canada has approved two vaccines for use in Canada:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech – approved on December 9, 2020
  • Moderna – approved on December 23, 2020

Learn about Ontario’s Vaccine Distribution Implementation Plan.

How we will distribute Pfizer-BioNTech vs Moderna vaccines

Both COVID-19 vaccines are fragile and must be stored and transported in special conditions to keep them stable and effective.

While you can store the Moderna vaccine at -20 degrees Celsius, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires colder temperatures, around -70 Celsius. This means the Moderna vaccine is easier to transport and store safely.

Because of this, we plan to administer the:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine primarily in hospitals in urban areas
  • Moderna vaccine in long-term care homes, congregate settings and more rural and remote communities

Phase 1

Vaccine readiness pilot: December 14, 2020

Ontario participated in a covid 19 vaccine readiness pilot with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Pfizer-BioNTech.

More than 2,500 health care workers who provide care in select long-term care homes and hospitals were vaccinated at University Health Network in Toronto and The Ottawa Hospital.

The purpose of the readiness pilot was to help:

  • inform our plan for receiving more vaccine doses during phase one
  • test the logistics of delivery, vaccine storage and handling, clinic management and post-vaccine surveillance
  • learn from people’s experience being vaccinated so we can improve future vaccinations

After the readiness pilot: December 2020 to early January 2021

Based on per capita allocations, Ontario is receiving approximately 90,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the federal government.

These doses are being delivered to up to 17 hospital sites (in addition to the University Health Network and the Ottawa Hospital).

Who can be vaccinated

Vaccines are available to health care workers and essential caregivers who work in:

  • hospitals
  • long-term care homes
  • retirement homes
  • other congregate settings caring for seniors
Clinic locations

The clinic locations include:

  • Grand River Hospital
  • Halton Healthcare
  • Hamilton Health Sciences
  • Humber River Hospital
  • Lakeridge Health
  • London Health Sciences Centre
  • Mackenzie Health
  • Michael Garron Hospital
  • Ottawa Hospital
  • Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
  • Scarborough Health Network
  • Southlake Regional Health Centre
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (selected to test the travel logistics in Northern Ontario and support the administration of the vaccine to Indigenous and remote communities)
  • Trillium Health Partners
  • University Health Network in Toronto
  • Unity Health Toronto
  • William Osler Health System
  • Windsor Regional Hospital

These vaccination clinics are not open to the public.

Expanding beyond the pilot: January 2021 and beyond

Additional hospital sites will begin providing vaccines in regions with the highest rates of covid 19 infection.

Who can be vaccinated

The vaccine will be available to:

  • health care workers
  • essential caregivers
  • long-term care home and retirement home residents
  • First Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, including Métis and Inuit adults
Clinic locations

We anticipate that by end of January, more than 20 hospitals across Ontario will be administering the vaccines.

Phase 2

Phase 2 will begin when more doses become available to Ontario. This is expected to begin later this winter.

During phase two, pending consultation, vaccinations will be expanded to:

  • all members of the groups in phase 1
  • additional congregate care settings (for example, shelters)
  • adults over 70 in expanded regions

Phase 3

Ontario will enter phase three when vaccines are available for everyone who wants to be immunized.

Vaccines will not be mandatory, but you are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

The federal government has advance agreements with several manufacturers to purchase covid 19 vaccines once the scientific studies are completed and the vaccines are approved for use in Canada.

Ontario is ready to receive and distribute more covid 19 vaccines as soon as they are available.

Who will be able to get vaccinated first

Since there will be limited supply in the first few months of the vaccine program, some groups will be able to get a covid 19 vaccine in the early phases.

Early doses of the vaccine will be available for:

  • residents, staff, essential caregivers (including family caregivers) and other employees who work in congregate living settings providing care for seniors as they are at higher risk of infection and serious illness from covid 19
  • health care workers, including hospital employees, other staff who work or study in hospitals and other health care personnel
  • adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations where infection can have disproportionate consequences, including those living in remote or isolated areas where risk of transmission is high
  • adult recipients of chronic home health care

As further information becomes available from clinical trials and from Health Canada approvals, the groups for which the vaccines are authorized for use could change.

Ontario will also prioritize regions with the highest rates of covid 19 infection – those in the Red – Control and Grey – Lockdown zones when we receive the vaccines.

These priorities are based on advice from the:

We are also developing an ethical framework to guide our decisions on vaccine distribution. It will be released in the coming weeks.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force

The covid 19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force is advising Ontario as it plans the immunization program and delivers vaccines.

The task force is advising and providing recommendations on:

  • how to deliver, store and distribute vaccines
  • support for our partners in the health care system to deliver vaccinations in phases, beginning with vulnerable populations
  • clinical guidance to administer the vaccine and track vaccine uptake
  • reporting data and technology to provide timely, relevant and accurate information to health care providers, decision-makers and the public
  • public education and community outreach efforts to encourage people to get the vaccine


  • General (retired) Rick Hillier, former Chief of Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces (chair)
  • Mario Di Tommaso, Deputy Solicitor General, Community Safety, Commissioner of Emergency Management (vice-chair)
  • Helen Angus, Deputy Minister of Health (vice-chair)
  • Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald of Taykwa Tagamou Nation
  • Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious diseases consultant and internist, Toronto General Hospital
  • Linda Hasenfratz, CEO, Linamar Corporation
  • Dr. Dirk Huyer, Ontario’s Chief Coroner and Coordinator of Provincial Outbreak Response
  • Angela Mondou, President and CEO, TECHNATION
  • Mark Saunders, former Toronto Police Chief
  • Dr. Maxwell Smith, bioethicist and assistant professor, Western University
  • Dr. Homer Tien, trauma surgeon and President and CEO, Ornge
  • Dr. Regis Vaillancourt, Director of Pharmacy, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Ex-officio members 

  • Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Public Health
  • Matt Anderson, President and CEO, Ontario Health
  • Shawn Batise, Deputy Minister, Indigenous Affairs Ontario
  • Lynn Betzner, Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Affairs & Associate Secretary of the Cabinet
  • Laurie LeBlanc, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Transportation
  • Giles Gherson, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
  • Karen Hughes, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Government and Consumer Affairs
  • Richard Steele, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Long-Term Care
  • Denise Cole, Deputy Minister for Seniors and Accessibility

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Norway warns of vaccination side-effects, deaths in some patients over 80 – Global News



Norwegian officials have adjusted their advice on who gets the COVID-19 vaccine in light of a small number of deaths in older people, leaving it up to each doctor to consider who should be vaccinated.

The Norwegian Medicines Agency on Thursday reported a total of 29 people had suffered side effects, 13 of them fatal. All the deaths occurred among patients in nursing homes and all were over the age of 80.

The agency listed fever and nausea as side effects which “may have led to the deaths of some frail patients,” Sigurd Hortemo of the Norwegian Medicines Agency said in the body’s first report of the side effects.

Read more:
No serious side-effects from COVID-19 vaccines so far, Health Canada says

More than 30,000 people have received the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine in the Scandinavian country since the end of December, according to official figures.

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“We are not alarmed by this. It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients,” Steinar Madsen, medical director with the agency, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

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“Doctors must now carefully consider who should be vaccinated. Those who are very frail and at the very end of life can be vaccinated after an individual assessment,” he added.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Ontario to complete long-term care home vaccinations in high-risk zones in upcoming weeks'

Coronavirus: Ontario to complete long-term care home vaccinations in high-risk zones in upcoming weeks

Coronavirus: Ontario to complete long-term care home vaccinations in high-risk zones in upcoming weeks

Earlier this week, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said that “any side effects of the vaccine will be outweighed by a reduced risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 for elderly, frail people.”

It added that “for very frail patients and terminally ill patients, a careful balance of benefit versus disadvantage of vaccination is recommended.”

In its report, the Norwegian Medicines Agency said that 21 women and eight men had side effects. Beside those who died, the agency said nine had serious side effects without a fatal consequence and seven had less serious side effects. The nine patients had allergic reactions, strong discomfort and severe fever while the less serious side effects included severe pain at the injection site.

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Read more:
Coronavirus vaccine a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for LTC homes

Overall, Norway has seen 57,279 cases and reported 511 deaths.

Across the world, officials expect deaths and other severe side effects to be reported after any mass vaccination campaign given the huge numbers of people involved. But determining whether or not the vaccine caused deaths can be very challenging and requires that all other potential causes be ruled out first.

The United Kingdom and the United States have also reported a number of cases of side effects that had fatal consequences.

The European Medicines Agency said Friday that it will receive and consider monthly safety reports from companies authorized to sell vaccines, starting in January with the Pfizer jab.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Canadian home sales see a record December — and a record 2020 –



National home sales set an all-time record in December, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported Friday.

Sales were up 47.2 per cent compared to December 2019, the largest year-over-year increase in monthly sales in 11 years.

The spike in sales from November to December, 7.2 per cent, was driven by gains of more than 20 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Greater Vancouver.

It was a new record for the month of December by a margin of more than 12,000 transactions.

For the sixth straight month, sales activity was up in almost all Canadian housing markets compared to the same month in 2019.

It was also a record for the entire year.

Average home price up 17%

Almost 552,000 homes traded hands over Canadian MLS systems — a new annual record. It was an increase of 12.6 per cent from 2019 and 2.3 per cent more than the previous record year, 2016. 

The actual national average home price was a record $607,280 in December, up 17.1 per cent from the final month of 2019.

The CREA said that excluding Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, two of the most active and expensive markets, lowers the national average price by almost $130,000.

This chart by the Canadian Real Estate Association shows the dip in sales as the pandemic began and the subsequent rebound. (Canadian Real Estate Association)

Many of the areas with the biggest price gains last month were in Ontario, including Belleville, Simcoe, Ingersoll, Woodstock and the Lakelands region, where prices were up more than 30 per cent from December 2019.

Areas with more modest price growth included Calgary and Edmonton, where prices rose 1.5 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively.

TD expects sales and prices to cool

“What a fitting end to a surprisingly strong year,” TD Bank economist Rishi Sondhi said in a note to clients. “Relative strength in high-wage employment, record low mortgage rates, rising supply of homes available for purchase and solid demand for larger units all supported exceptional sales and price growth last year.

“Looking ahead, we’re expecting sales and prices to cool somewhat from their robust pace in the first quarter. However, December’s surprisingly strong performance makes hitting our forecast a tougher proposition.”

Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s senior economist, said in a statement that Canada faces a “major supply problem” in 2021.

“On New Year’s Day there were fewer than 100,000 residential listings on all Canadian MLS systems, the lowest ever based on records going back three decades,” he said.

“Compare that to five years ago, when there was a quarter of a million listings available for sale. So we have record-high demand and record-low supply to start the year. How that plays out in the sales and price data will depend on how many homes become available to buy in the months ahead.”

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Quebec confirms it will delay second vaccine dose for CHSLD residents and staff – Montreal Gazette



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On Feb. 15, Quebec will begin vaccinating seniors ages 80 and over who live at home.

Health officials told the Montreal Gazette this week that they aren’t ready to release details about the next phase of vaccination plan.

Public health authorities say they’re closely monitoring seniors in CHSLDs who have received the first dose to make sure it’s still effective weeks later, said Richard Massé, a public health epidemiologist.

Massé defended Quebec’s decision to ignore a recommendation by the National Advisory Committee on Vaccination, which said if provinces delay administering the second dose due to logistical or epidemiological reasons, it should be given with 42 days of the first dose.

On Thursday, Canada’s Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, which includes the Chief Medical Officer of Health from each province and territory, also weighed in on Quebec’s plan, saying if the second dose is extended beyond 42 days, “the impact on people vaccinated must be closely monitored.”

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