The focus of vaccinations on hot-spots and certain employment classifications, like educational workers, have created policy changes in the vaccination distribution strategy. OTA has adapted to that strategy by reaching out to the Medical Officers of Health in the defined hot-spots : Regional Municipality of York, Durham Region, Halton Region, Hamilton, Niagara, Ottawa, Simcoe-Muskoka, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin Guelph, Windsor-Essex, Toronto, South Western Region, and Region of Peel.
In its communication to the Medical Officers of Health, OTA has recommended the following:
While OTA will be working with the various regions that choose to work with the association on the above strategies, it is also important for members to track changes in their respective regions regarding policy changes to vaccination priorities. For example, in York Region residents aged 45-54 in high priority communities (postal codes L4L, L6A, L4K, L4J and L3s) are currently eligible to book a vaccination appointment at york.ca/covid19vaccine. Any employees who live in one of the postal code areas and are between the ages of 45-54 are currently eligible to book an appointment. OTA will continue to post this type of information from all regions in its newsletter/website as it becomes available. Members who have questions or updated information of a similar nature from their region are asked to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the most updated information on the provincial vaccination policy please visit: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/ontarios-covid-19-vaccination-plan
On a related matter, OTA has recently been made aware of situations involving commercial vehicle drivers who were denied access to a vaccine appointment in certain regions because they are cross-border drivers. As OTA understands, these individuals met the age requirements to be vaccinated, but were told that because they had crossed the border with the United States, they would not be eligible to receive a vaccine unless they quarantined for at least two weeks prior to making an appointment. OTA has reached out to those regions and the policy has now been adjusted to ensure no truck drivers are denied access to the vaccine for merely crossing the border. The Province of Ontario has also committed to contacting all medical officers to prevent further occurrences of truck drivers being denied access to the vaccine for crossing the border. If your drivers are denied access to the vaccine for no other reason than they crossed the border for work, please contact email@example.com and provide him with the details including location of vaccination centre where the driver was denied.
The Government of Canada recently hosted an information session regarding the COVID vaccination. The Canadian Trucking Alliance forwarded a number of questions in advance of this session. Below are some of the questions that were answered during the Q/A period.
If you have a question that is not listed below, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and staff will endeavor to get the answers. Additional information from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on the vaccines will continue to be published once available.
PHAC has also provided some additional materials to distribute regarding COVID-19:
Will drivers be included as frontline workers and get priority access to the vaccine?
The federal government can only make national recommendations, but the decisions on which groups of people/sectors/essential workers etc. get priority access will continue to be made by the provinces and territories.
Will drivers be able to get access to their second shot of the vaccine within 21 days of their first? Canada seems to be the only country following the four-month policy for the second dose.
The current four-month policy is consistent with what has been implemented in the United Kingdom based on how well a single dose has worked. Extending the interval between doses offers good protection for as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, and will help to decrease community transmission rapidly.
In some instances, there is a better immune response with the delayed interval, but a person is not as well protected between the first and second dose. It will not take four months for most people to obtain the second dose of the vaccine, a process which will begin in mid-June for some people.
Is PHAC considering a vaccine passport to travel across Canada (within provinces) and into the US?
This topic continues to be discussed within the federal government, although no decisions have been made. There are competing opinions and considerations about how this may infringe human rights, while balancing the needs of public health.
Would it be correct to call the vaccine a “shot” more along the lines of a flu shot, as opposed to a vaccine, such as for measles or polio?
The words vaccines/shots/immunization can all be used interchangeably and help the body respond to the threat of a virus. The research is still very new regarding whether the vaccine will be needed every year, how long two doses of the vaccine will last, and how they will work against new variants. There is also the possibility that periodic booster shots may be required.
Can a person that is vaccinated still pass the virus on to others in the infectious stage?
Vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna are 90-95 percent effective against symptomatic and asymptomatic infection/spread; they will also prevent transmission, but they are not perfect. There will continue to be people who become infected after vaccination, but with a much smaller risk of spreading the virus.