needle being injected into vial of vaccine

This Version Posted: January 15, 2021

Vaccines are safe and proven effective to protect against diseases – and now they are available in the fight against COVID-19. Please read further for more information about COVID-19 vaccine approval and availability.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Approval

Health Canada has approved COVID-19 vaccines for use in Canada. These include the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and a vaccine developed by Moderna. Health Canada has determined COVID-19 vaccine – like any others – meets its strict safety and quality requirements for regulating and approving vaccines.

Creating a new vaccine can take years. However, the progress on COVID-19 is happening quickly for many reasons, including: advances in science and technology; international collaboration among scientists, health professionals, researchers, industry and governments; and increased funding to find a vaccine.

Vaccine Availability

The local Health Unit is working closely with the Province, local hospitals, health care partners, and long-term care and retirement homes to prepare for a safe and orderly rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in this region. It’s expected the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine will arrive locally in early February.

Due to limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Ontario, the Province has outlined a three-phase approach to provide vaccines to people.

In Phase One, priority is being given to offer vaccines to high-risk groups first, including residents/staff of long-term care homes and other health care workers. Priority is also being given to provide COVID-19 vaccines first to parts of Ontario with the highest COVID-19 infection rates.

As the supply of COVID-19 vaccine increases, the Ontario government will move to Phase Two of vaccine distribution — likely in the spring and summer — making it more widely available, including in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. During Phase Two, the following groups will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Older adults, beginning with those 80 years of age and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout.
  • Individuals living and working in high-risk congregate setting.
  • Frontline essential workers (e.g., first responders, education workers, food processing industry);.
  • Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers.
  • Other populations and communities facing barriers related to the determinants of health across Ontario who are at greater COVID-19 risk.

In Phase Three, starting in late summer, COVID-19 vaccines will be widely available for anyone who wants to receive one.

While the COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory in Ontario, you are strongly encouraged to get one when it is available. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and will be free to everyone. When a large percentage of people become vaccinated or immune to COVID-19, the spread of the virus will slow down or stop.

What To Do Right Now

Until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, you must continue to:

  • Stay home if sick.
  • Only leave home for essentials like groceries and medical matters.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel.
  • Wear a mask or face covering that covers your nose, mouth and chin when inside public places.
  • Practise physical distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart from anyone outside your immediate household
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Practise other COVID-19 prevention measures.
Additional Resources

Learn more on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, development and safety: