Results from the funded study: Best Practices for Mitigating the Impact of SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern

Pillar 8
Public Health, Health Systems and Social Policy Impacts

Soon after Health Canada authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine for use in Canada in early December 2020, each of the provinces and territories launched a vaccination campaign with the objectives of saving lives and ending the pandemic. This report provides an overview of measures taken in Ontario to roll out and promote the uptake of the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine to adults during the first year of vaccine availability.

The report describes the vaccination program in Ontario’s:

  • Governance;
  • Underlying principles;
  • Prioritization of population groups;
  • Efforts to ensure access;
  • Public communication strategies; and
  • Actions to establish sufficient infrastructure and health workforce capacity.

One of a series of provincial case studies, this report can be used to understand Ontario’s program in depth, as well as to compare and contrast provincial COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

Ontario’s decentralized rollout provided its 34 public health units with the flexibility to support local needs and its unique hot-spot approach re-allocated additional doses to high-risk communities. The province leveraged its vast network of community pharmacies relatively early during its vaccination campaign, and gave Ontarians the opportunity to choose their preferred vaccines and vaccination locations. However, the many and varied booking options caused some frustration and confusion. As of November 6, 2021, 85% of adults in Ontario had received two doses, which equalled the national average.

Fitzpatrick, T., Allin, S., Camillo, C.A., Habbick, M., Mauer-Vakil, D., Muhajarine, N., Roerig, M., & Rowein, S. (2022). COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout: Ontario. CoVaRR-Net and North American Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout Monitor.

Read the full report