Getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario

Safe and effective vaccines will help protect us against covid 19. Learn about them and when they will be available in Ontario for you and your family.

This page will be updated regularly. Last updated March 5, 2021.

When you can get the vaccine

Ontario has a three-phase plan that prioritizes vaccines for those at greatest risk of severe illness and those who care for them. We are currently completing Phase 1 of the plan.

Phase 1 High-risk populations
(approximately 1.8 million people)

December 2020 – March 2021
  • Congregate living for seniors
  • Health care workers
  • Adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations
  • Adult chronic home care recipients
  • Adults over 80 years old

Distribution through:
hospital site clinics, mobile teams, site-specific clinics, mass vaccination clinics

Phase 2
Mass deliveries of vaccines
(approximately 9 million people)

April 2021 – July 2021
  • Adults aged 60-79, in 5-year increments
  • High-risk congregate settings (shelters, community living)
  • Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers
  • Frontline essential workers
  • At-risk populations

Distribution through:
mass vaccination clinics, pharmacies, primary care, site-specific clinics, mobile teams, mobile sites, public health units

Phase 3
Steady state

August onwards
  • General population

Distribution through:
mass vaccination clinics, pharmacies, primary care, site-specific clinics, mobile teams, mobile sites, public health units

If there is limited supply, we will vaccinate people in the order in which they are listed. Learn how the priorities are determined.

All timelines are subject to change depending on vaccine supply.

Check with your public health unit

Each public health unit is developing a vaccine plan tailored to their own community’s needs. Local plans will align with Ontario’s vaccine distribution plan and ethical framework. Find your public health unit and check their website for details about vaccination in your area.

Find your public health unit
A person getting a vaccine shot from a healthcare worker with both wearing surgical masks

Ontario’s vaccination plan

  • Phase 1: high-risk populations (current phase)

    Timing: December 2020 to March 2021

    Who is eligible

    Current priority
    • Staff, essential caregivers and any residents that have not yet received a first dose in:
      • long-term care homes
      • high-risk retirement homes
      • First Nations elder care homes
    • Alternative level of care patients in hospitals who have a confirmed admission to a long-term care home, retirement home or other congregate care home for seniors
    • Health care workers identified as highest priority, followed by very high priority, in the Ministry of Health’s guidance on Health Care Worker Prioritization (PDF)
    • Indigenous adults in northern remote and higher risk communities (on-reserve and urban)
    Next priority
  • Phase 2: mass deliveries of vaccines

    Timing: April to July 2021, depending on availability of vaccines

    Who is eligible

    Older adults
    • Beginning with those 79 years of age and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout
    • Those 64 and under (without health conditions) may choose to access AstraZeneca
    People who live and work in high-risk congregate settings
    • Supportive housing
    • Developmental services or intervenor and supported independent living
    • Emergency homeless shelters
    • Homeless populations not in shelters
    • Mental health and addictions congregate settings
    • Homes for special care
    • Violence against women (VAW) shelters and anti-human trafficking (AHT) residents
    • Children’s residential facilities
    • Youth justice facilities
    • Indigenous healing and wellness facilities
    • Provincial and demonstration schools
    • On-farm temporary foreign workers
    • Bail beds and Indigenous bail beds
    • Adult correctional facilities
    Caregivers in select congregate care settings
    • Developmental services
    • Mental health and addictions congregate settings
    • Homes for special care
    • Children’s residential facilities
    • Indigenous healing and wellness facilities
    Essential frontline workers who cannot work from home
    • Elementary and secondary school staff
    • Police, fire, compliance, funeral, special constables and other workers responding to critical events
    • Childcare and licenced foster care workers
    • Food manufacturing workers
    • Agriculture and farm workers
    • High-risk and critical retail workers in grocery stores and pharmacies
    • Remaining manufacturing labourers
    • Social workers, including youth justice
    • Courts and justice system workers, including probation and parole
    • Lower-risk retail workers (wholesalers, general goods)
    • Transportation, warehousing and distribution
    • Energy, telecom (data and voice), water and wastewater management
    • Financial services
    • Waste management
    • Mining, oil and gas workers
    Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions
    • Organ transplant recipients
    • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
    • People with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised
    • Haematological malignancy diagnosed within the last year
    • Kidney disease with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) under 30
    • Obesity (BMI over 40)
    • Other treatments causing immunosuppression (for example, chemotherapy, immunity-weakening medications)
    • Intellectual or developmental disabilities (for example, Down Syndrome)
    • Immune deficiencies and autoimmune disorders
    • Stroke and cerebrovascular disease
    • Dementia
    • Diabetes
    • Liver disease
    • All other cancers
    • Respiratory diseases
    • Spleen problems
    • Heart disease
    • Hypertension with end organ damage
    • Diagnosed mental disorder
    • Substance use disorders
    • Thalassemia
    • Pregnancy
    • Immunocompromising health conditions
    • Other disabilities requiring direct support care in the community
    Essential caregivers
    • Primary caregivers for:
      • organ transplant recipients
      • hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
      • people with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised
      • haematological malignancy diagnosed within the last year
      • kidney disease with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) under 30
    Communities at greater risk
    • Black and other racialized populations
    • Hot spots with historic and ongoing high rates of death, hospitalization and transmission
  • Phase 3: steady state

    Timing: August 2021 and beyond

    Who will be vaccinated

    • Remaining Ontarians over 16 years old who wish to be vaccinated

How to get a vaccine

We are currently vaccinating people in the Phase 1 priority groups.

Most people in Phase 1 will be notified when they are eligible to book an appointment for a vaccine through their:

  • residence or care provider
  • place of work

If you’re aged 80 or older and you don’t live in a care home, you may be able to book a vaccine appointment through your public health unit. Find your public health unit and contact them for information.

If you are not in one of these groups, please do not try to book an appointment yet.

You will be screened to make sure you meet the current eligibility criteria.

Collecting sociodemographic data

As part of our commitment to building safe and healthy communities, Ontario will begin collecting sociodemographic data on a voluntary basis from individuals who get the covid 19 vaccine. We are collecting this data to:

  • get a more complete picture of who is being vaccinated across the province
  • make sure vaccines are provided in a way that is equitable
  • show us where we need to provide more information to address any gaps
  • help ensure that we are reaching everyone who wants to be vaccinated

When you get the vaccine, you may be asked to share information about your:

  • race
  • ethnicity
  • language
  • income
  • household size

Providing this information will be completely voluntary, and safeguards will be in place to protect your privacy.

You will be able to receive the vaccine whether you provide the information or not.

If you change your mind about allowing your information to be used, you can contact the Ministry of Health at heia@ontario.ca. If you withdraw your consent, we will stop using your sociodemographic data in the future.

Where to get vaccinated

Vaccines have been delivered to all 34 public health units, as well as some local hospitals in Ontario communities. Each public health unit is responsible for implementing a local vaccine plan, together with health sector partners in their communities, in keeping with Ontario’s Ethical Framework and guidance provided on the phases of Ontario’s vaccination program. Each region’s plan and model of delivery will look a little different to reflect local needs, populations and capacity.

To vaccinate people as quickly as possible, vaccinations are available at:

  • hospital clinics
  • municipally-run vaccination sites
  • on-site clinics for:
    • northern and remote First Nation communities
    • on-reserve Indigenous residents
    • adult chronic home care recipients
  • mobile sites for:
    • congregate living facilities
    • urban Indigenous communities

Based on guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and the province’s Ethical Framework for Vaccine Distribution, Ontario will offer AstraZeneca to populations aged 60-64, with decreasing age in small age groups, at:

  • pharmacies
  • primary care
  • mass vaccination clinics
  • other suitable sites

How we are prioritizing vaccinations

Ontario’s plan prioritizes vaccines for those at greatest risk of severe illness and those who care for them.

Our strategy to vaccinate the population is based on:

  • age
  • risk due to:
    • health conditions
    • congregate settings
    • hot spots (areas with higher rates of death, hospitalization and transmission)
    • not being able to work from home

This is because evidence shows that vaccinating primarily based on age, with some adjustment for high risk groups, will prevent more:

  • deaths
  • hospitalizations
  • ICU admissions
  • cases of covid 19

To make sure Ontario’s vaccine program is equitable and fair, our decisions about priority are guided by:

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, build immunity in Ontario and allow us 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.

The vaccines approved for use in Canada:

  • require two doses for your body to develop infection-fighting response
  • will help prevent death and serious illness due to covid 19
  • are anticipated to be effective against the original strain of the virus and the identified variants

Until vaccines are widely available and enough people have been fully vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus, we all must:

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 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

Members

  • 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
  • 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
  • Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health, Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington

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

Related