Covid-19 Immunizations: To find out who is currently eligible and how to book a vaccination appointment, visit the Vaccine Eligibility page.
Safe and effective vaccines will help protect us against COVID-19. The COVID-19 Immunization Program is a coordinated effort across the province. See below to learn more about the various roles, what you can do as an individual, and what is currently happening with the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.
The Ontario government is leading the roll-out of the COVID-19 Immunization Program across the province. It is advised by the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force which oversees the delivery, storage and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. This Task Force includes representation from various key stakeholders.
Key Provincial COVID-19 Vaccine Roles
- Liaise with the Federal government on vaccine supply and distribution.
- Set policy direction on the use of different vaccines that are currently available and new ones as they become available.
- Establish the phases of the vaccine roll-out for Ontario and determine priority groups for each.
- Develop and implement the Indigenous vaccination strategy along with Chiefs of Ontario, Indigenous Affairs Ontario, and other Indigenous stakeholders.
- Engage key stakeholders at the provincial level to support vaccine administration, including pharmacies and primary care providers.
- Determine vaccine allocations and distribute vaccine across the province.
- Work with public health units who are leading the roll-out at the local level, as well as hospitals who have also played a significant role in vaccine administration.
- Produce, distribute and regularly update supportive guidance documents and information materials for use by health units and other partners.
- Develop, implement and update the COVAX information system to manage vaccine inventory, administration of doses, scheduling, reporting, etc.
- Develop and implement the provincial COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling system.
TBDHU is leading the roll-out of the COVID-19 Immunization Program in Thunder Bay and District. This is in partnership with the many local organizations in Thunder Bay and District communities, including (but not limited to) Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) and other hospitals, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), primary care providers, Indigenous communities and their care partners, and community health centres.
Key TBDHU COVID-19 Vaccine Roles
- Liaise with the Ontario government to provide input into provincial planning, provide local context, and advocate to address local issues as needed.
- Coordinate with local partners to:
- increase capacity to deliver COVID-19 vaccines.
- orient providers on vaccine storage, handling and administration.
- address any logistical issues related to vaccines.
- Collaborate with other organizations to ensure that all priority groups identified in each phase of the provincial vaccine programs have access to vaccines.
- Plan for the expansion of vaccine opportunities as supply increases.
- Manage vaccine inventory and other supplies.
- Administer vaccines to identified priority groups via mass immunization clinics, mobile teams, and smaller clinics as needed.
- Provide assistance with clinics at partner organizations as needed.
- Monitor for adverse effects following immunization (AEFI’s) for the continued surveillance of vaccine safety.
Safe and reliable vaccines can help protect you and your family from COVID-19. Vaccines help to build up your immunity to the virus, so your body will fight it off more easily if you are exposed to it. This can reduce your risk of developing COVID-19, and will help prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death as a result of COVID-19 infection.
COVID-19 vaccines are an important tool to help stop the spread of the virus, build immunity in individuals and communities and brings us closer to resuming normal life.
The Vaccine Information for Individuals page has more information on the currently approved vaccines, vaccine approval process, vaccine effectiveness and safety, and getting vaccinated.
- Priority groups in Phase 2 of the provincial COVID-19 vaccine program are gradually becoming eligible, including:
- Older adults.
- High-risk congregate settings (such as shelters, community living).
- Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers.
- Those who cannot work from home, such as frontline essential workers, including first responders, education staff and the food processing industry. Group 1 has been prioritized.
- At-risk populations.
- Pregnancy was added to the list of Highest Risk health conditions on April 23, 2021.
- The AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine is being administered by select pharmacies across the province. More pharmacies will be added as supply increases.
- The dosing interval between the first dose and the second dose of currently available vaccines has increased to 16 weeks as instructed in this memo from Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health and recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). For more information, see the NACI rapid response: Extended dose intervals for COVID-19 vaccines to optimize early vaccine rollout and population protection in Canada.
- The Provincial COVID-19 Vaccine Booking System launched March 15, 2021.
In Thunder Bay and District
- Mass immunization clinics in Thunder Bay began March 1, 2021 and have recently expanded to adults aged 50 and over and Group 1 of essential workers who cannot work from home.
- Select local pharmacies are offering vaccinations with the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine for adults aged 40 and over. Interested individuals can visit the COVID-19 Pharmacy Vaccine Locations website to find a participating pharmacy.
- Vaccination, through TBRHSC, is being offered to individuals with the highest and high risk health conditions as outlined in Phase 2 Prioritization for COVID-19 Vaccination: Pages 17-18.
- Vaccination, through TBRHSC and SNEMS, is being offered to high-risk congregate living settings as outlined in Phase 2 Prioritization for COVID-19 Vaccination: Pages 15-17
- TBDHU is partnering with Family Health Teams and Community Health Centres in district communities to deliver vaccines to eligible groups. See the District Vaccination Clinics page for details.
- Vaccination, through SNEMS, is being offered to homebound residents who are eligible to receive a vaccine, as well as eligible caregivers. See the Vaccine Eligibility page for details.
- The Essential Workplace COVID-19 Vaccine Pre-registration Survey was launched on April 27, 2021 to collect information from businesses and organizations whose staff are considered essential frontline workers who cannot work from home to inform vaccine planning and preparedness activities for Thunder Bay and District.
- Child care workers (in licensed child care settings), education workers (including custodial and administrative staff) and all school bus drivers are eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Details were provided by employers.
- Implementation of vaccine programs is ongoing with urban Indigenous health care partners, including the Mindimooyenh Vaccination Clinic, the Thunder Bay Urban Indigenous Vaccination Clinic and the Matawa Health Co-operative Clinic.
- TBDHU is coordinating with 14 First Nation communities and Indigenous health care partners to plan and deliver vaccines. This is different from Operation Remote Immunity which has completed all first dose vaccinations, and is in progress delivering second doses, in remote Indigenous communities.
- Older adult residents living in congregate settings, such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, and assisted living facilities in Thunder Bay and District have all received their second doses. Immunization continues to be available for new residents, staff and essential caregivers.
- The majority of health care workers in Thunder Bay and surrounding areas have been offered first doses of vaccinations as per their priority level outlined in the Ministry of Health's Guidance for Prioritizing Health Care Workers for COVID-19 Vaccination. Immunization continues to be available for those who are now eligible e.g. new employees, newly consented, returning from a leave.
Vaccines by the Numbers
Government of Canada
- Vaccines for COVID-19
- Vaccines and Treatment for COVID-19: Progress
- What you need to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine for Canada
Ontario Ministry of Health
- Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
- COVID-19 Vaccines in Ontario
- Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine in Ontario
- COVID-19 Vaccine-Relevant Information and Planning Resources