Setting Ontario’s vaccination priorities

Learn what the priorities for Ontario’s covid 19 vaccination plan are based on.

Last updated: May 3, 2021

Why get vaccinated

Safe and reliable vaccines can help protect you and your family from covid 19. They are 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:

  • 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:

Get vaccine facts and vaccine safety information in multiple languages.

How we set vaccination priorities

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, decisions about priority are guided by:

Collecting sociodemographic data

As part of our commitment to building safe and healthy communities, Ontario is collecting sociodemographic data on a voluntary basis from individuals who get the covid 19 vaccines. 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.

This email is only for questions about sociodemographic data. If you have questions about covid 19 vaccines, read more online or call 1-888-999-6488.

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

  • Dr. Homer Tien, trauma surgeon and President and CEO of Ornge Air Ambulance (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
  • Mark Saunders, former Toronto Police Chief
  • Dr. Maxwell Smith, bioethicist and assistant professor, Western University
  • 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 Services
  • Richard Steele, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Long-Term Care
  • Denise Cole, Deputy Minister for Seniors and Accessibility

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