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Immunization Delivery during COVID-19

Routine vaccination is an essential service. Immunization can prevent illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits, hospitalizations and further strain to the health care system. It's important to provide routine immunizations as best as possible despite the circulation of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health has provided guidance for immunization services during COVID-19. We'll update this information as new guidance becomes available.

Immunization planning

Ensure adequate assessment and vaccine inventory so that each patient receives all indicated vaccines, minimizing the need for additional health care visits.

Groups requiring immunization

Anyone who is:

  • Due for any vaccine
  • At increased risk for acquiring and / or transmitting vaccine preventable diseases
  • At risk of vaccine preventable disease complications
  • Missing vaccine doses

When to immunize

  • Take all opportunities to immunize and offer vaccines when combined with other visits
  • More than one vaccine product can be administered safely in the same visit and will not affect vaccine efficacy. For full details on exceptions to this, consult the Canadian Immunization Guide.
  • Administer post-exposure prophylaxis (measles, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, meningococcus and varicella) for probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19 or their close contacts without delay

Catch-up vaccines for missed doses

Use the product monographs and tables 4 to 21 in the Publicly Funded Immunization Schedules for Ontario to help with determining intervals between doses that are delayed or off-schedule.

Most vaccines are generally straightforward when providing catch-up doses, such as provide the dose at the earliest opportunity with no need to restart a series. There are some exceptions:

  • The interrupted schedules for vaccines that contain tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, and Hib, as well as the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine are complex when the schedule has been interrupted
  • The recommended and minimum interval table for the rotavirus vaccine

Since several vaccines have age- or grade-based eligibility, some individuals may have missed their opportunity to receive the recommended vaccines under the routine publicly funded program. The Ministry has released updated guidance for routine immunization services during COVID-19. Review pages 11-13 of the Ministry's guidance document for more information on applicable vaccines, eligible cohorts, and how long individuals have to receive the missed vaccine doses.

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