We thank all employees who have helped us become a fully vaccinated workplace. Employees should closely monitor guidance from their region and public health authority to stay informed on the latest developments related to vaccines. Vaccination recommendations continue to evolve, and additional doses or boosters may be required to ensure continued immunity against COVID-19. Our team is actively monitoring the changing landscape and is committed to providing employees with updates and information, however; local/regional/provincial public health offices are the best sources of information.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Employees
Regional breakdown: vaccine eligibility
The vaccination roll-out across the country varies greatly among provinces and territories:
- Closely monitor guidance and eligibility criteria through your local public health authority. Information and links to trusted resources in your province can be found in the chart below.
- Let us know about changes in your area. If you hear about changes in your area, please let us know as soon as you can to help our team respond by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Vaccines”.
- Take advantage of opportunities to be vaccinated in your community outside of Canadian Blood Services’ efforts. Please review eligibility criteria, such as age and individual health considerations through the chart below to learn more about when you may be eligible to receive the vaccine in your area.
Information is changing daily. Please check this page regularly for the latest updates.
|Region||Approach to vaccine access||Trusted website to access up-to-date information|
B.C. is taking a centralized approach to vaccine distribution. Meaning, public health authorities are directly responsible for administering and determining who is eligible to receive the vaccine, which will predominantly follow age criteria.
Registration system is open for anyone 12 years of age and older Learn more and register here: Home (gov.bc.ca)
Ensure you are registered using the provincial booking system. If you have registered, you will get an email, text message or phone call when it's time to book your second dose.
The first round of invitations will be sent to people who received their first dose in March or April.
After that, invitations will be sent to people according to when they received their first dose. For example, if you had your first dose in early May, you'll get invited to book an appointment in late June.
Like your first appointment, you'll select a location, date and time. You must have an appointment before you arrive at a clinic.
More info here: Get your second vaccine dose - Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca)
Vaccine Eligibility (bccdc.ca)
Alberta is taking a centralized approach to vaccine distribution. Meaning, public health authorities are directly responsible for administering and determining who is eligible to receive the vaccine, which will predominantly follow age criteria.
Everyone 12+ can get vaccinated now.
Information on age and general eligibility:
COVID-19 vaccine program | Alberta.ca
To book, you have three options:
· AHS online,
· Pharmacy program: COVID-19 Immunization Program | Alberta Blue Cross
Anyone who has had a first dose of vaccine 28 days ago or longer will be eligible to receive their second dose. Visit https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/page17295.aspx to book your appointment today.
COVID-19 Immunization Booking | Alberta Health Services
Sign up to be notified when it is your turn COVID-19 vaccine program | Alberta.ca
Saskatchewan is taking a centralized approach to vaccine distribution. Meaning, public health authorities are directly responsible for administering and determining who is eligible to receive the vaccine, which will predominantly follow age criteria.
Anyone 12 years of age or older is eligible. Book an online appointment option or phone-in option.
Maximum interval of four months.
As supply increases, the interval will decrease with the goal of meeting the manufacturer’s second dose interval recommendation.
Second Dose Eligibility: Currently residents 40+ or anyone who received their first dose before May 15, 2021 are available at participating pharmacies across the province, through the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) drive-thru and walk-in clinics as well as through clinics operated by Indigenous Services Canada and the Northern Inter-tribal Health Authority (NITHA).
|Vaccine Delivery Phases | COVID-19 Vaccine | Government of Saskatchewan|
All employees are eligible to be immunized.
· bring a health card and work ID to the appointment.
· If you cannot locate your work ID, a recent pay stub can be used for identification. You can also use the essential service letter available on EDA
BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
· 12 years of age and older.
If you are eligible to be receive a vaccination, you can now book your vaccine appointment online for any of the supersites and pop-up clinics, quickly and conveniently.
· you'll need to create an account with your email address and health card number.
· You can link more than one person to the same account, so that you can book for family members and loved ones as they become eligible.
· You will need to print and complete a consent form.
If you don't have an email address, the call centre continues to be available at 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC) to book appointments at supersites and pop-up clinics.
· Daily hours of operation are from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
· You will be screened to ensure you meet current eligibility criteria when you call to book an appointment.
Further information, including FAQ and information on what to bring to your appointment are located here.
Individuals who are eligible to receive their second dose will be contacted directly. Booking for second doses is now open to those who are eligible, this includes anyone who received their first dose of vaccine on or before May 23, 2021: Province of Manitoba | Eligibility Criteria (gov.mb.ca)
Province of Manitoba | Eligibility Criteria (gov.mb.ca)
Registration system is now open for anyone 12 years of age and older, register here: How to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment (ontario.ca)
A stable and reliable supply of COVID-19 vaccines has allowed the province to quickly expand eligibility and access to Ontarians to receive the vaccine ahead of schedule, providing a strong level of protection against the virus.
Ontario is now accelerating second doses for all Ontarians.
Your appointment for your accelerated second dose must be at least:
Timing of second dose appointments may vary based on local considerations, vaccine supply and the date of your first dose appointment.
Acceleration and prioritization of the second dose of vaccine is the responsibility of local public health and more info on how you get your second dose can be found here You can also consult your local public health unit for guidance on administration of second doses.
All employees are eligible.
To book at a Peel Public Health Community clinic, click here: https://peelregion.inputhealth.com/ebooking.
To book at a William Osler clinic, click here: COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic - William Osler Health System (williamoslerhs.ca)
All employees are now eligible. Info here: COVID-19: How to Get Vaccinated – City of Toronto
All employees are eligible. Info here: COVID-19 Vaccine Screening Tool - Ottawa Public Health
All employees are eligible. Info here: Vaccine Eligibility — Middlesex-London Health Unit
All employees are eligible. Info here: COVID 19 Vaccine and Immunization (simcoemuskokahealth.org)
Public Health Unit Locations - Public Health Units - Health Services in Your Community - MOHLTC (gov.on.ca)
*** Operational frontline employees who reside in Quebec but work in Ontario
Ottawa Public Health is including individuals who live in Quebec but work in Ontario as priority healthcare workers as long as they are operational frontline employees.
To be considered for a vaccination appointment, operational frontline employees residing in Quebec should CALL Ottawa Public Health directly at 613-691-5505.
Quebec residents will NOT be able to use the Ontario vaccine booking system without a residential Ontario postal code.
If you are experiencing difficulties, please contact us at email@example.com.
|Ottawa public health – vaccines.|
New Brunswick is taking a centralized approach to vaccine distribution. Meaning, public health authorities are directly responsible for administering and determining who is eligible to receive the vaccine.
Anyone 12 years and older is eligible to book an appointment.
Anyone who received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days ago can now book an appointment for their second dose.
|New Brunswick Vaccines|
Nova Scotia is taking a centralized approach to vaccine distribution. Meaning, public health authorities are directly responsible for administering and determining who is eligible to receive the vaccine which will predominantly follow age criteria.
Most Nova Scotians will receive their vaccine by age group. Those 12 years and older are now eligible.
BOOK AN APPOINTMENT:
· All appointment bookings will be available by age group.
· All appointments must be booked in advance. Do not go into a vaccination clinic unless you have booked an appointment.
· Book your appointment at: Coronavirus (COVID-19): book your vaccination appointment - Government of Nova Scotia, Canada
Nova Scotians who received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on or before May 1 can now reschedule their appointments for earlier dates.
Notices will be sent by email to the account provided at the time of booking. Those who did not provide an email are encouraged to call 1-833-797-7772 to add an email address to receive the rescheduling notice.
|Nova Scotia Vaccines|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||
Newfoundland and Labrador is taking a centralized approach to vaccine distribution. Meaning, public health authorities are directly responsible for administering and determining who is eligible to receive the vaccine.
Public vaccination clinics are being led by Regional Health Authority Public Health teams. Details and eligibility (currently anyone 12 years and older) for vaccination clinics in each Regional Health Authority can be found here: Get the Shot - COVID-19 Vaccine (gov.nl.ca)
Canadian Blood Services employees may register and book an appointment using this link: Pomelo Platform (healthmyself.net)
Everyone is able to schedule an earlier appointment for their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Your second dose appointment should be scheduled at least 8 weeks after you receive your first dose.
COVID-19 Immunization Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador - COVID-19 Vaccine (gov.nl.ca)
Priority Groups - COVID-19 Vaccine (gov.nl.ca)
|Prince Edward Island||
P.E.I. is taking a centralized approach to vaccine distribution. Meaning, public health authorities are directly responsible for administering and determining who is eligible to receive the vaccine.
How to book appointments and specific information on eligibility (anyone 12 years and older: Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | Government of Prince Edward Island
The initial vaccines that will be available to Prince Edward Island will require a person to receive two doses. This means every person vaccinated will have to get a second dose up to 4 months after their first dose.
How and when will I be notified of my second dose appointment?
For individuals who received their first dose at a clinic, you will be contacted by Skip The Waiting Room with details about your second dose as follows:
· if you received your first dose in March or April, you should have already been contacted (if you have not, please call the toll-free vaccine booking line at 1-844-975-3303)
· if you received your first dose in May, you will be contacted by the end of June
· if you have or are receiving your first dose in June, you will be contacted in July.
Individuals who received their first of the COVID-19 vaccine at a partner pharmacy, you will be contacted by that same pharmacy about your second dose appointment.
Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | Government of Prince Edward Island
COVID-19 Vaccines and Immunization Phased Approach | Government of Prince Edward Island
Approved vaccines in Canada
Widespread immunization presents the best option to protect people from COVID-19 and, overtime, to lift the restrictions in place to keep people safe and healthy. To date, four vaccines have been approved for use by Health Canada.
- Learn about the Pfizer vaccine
- Learn about the Moderna vaccine
- Learn about the AstraZeneca vaccine
- Learn about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
How do COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work?
Do COVID-19 vaccines have side effects?
How were COVID-19 vaccines developed so quickly?
I would like to book my vaccine appointments. Where do I start?
Access to and timing of your first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is the responsibility of local and regional public health authorities. It is dependent on local vaccine supply, vaccine type received for the first dose, and case counts locally amongst other factors.
For instance, in some provinces, your second dose appointment may be booked automatically when receiving your first dose; or you may be contacted to schedule your second dose appointment; or you may have to contact the vaccination site. It all depends on your local public health’s authority's vaccine plan and booking system. We encourage staff to monitor updates in your area and seek the opportunity to get your first and second dose of the vaccine when available and appropriate as determined by local public health authorities.
Please continue to check the employee vaccine portal, where you can find out vaccine eligibility in your province.
Will our safety measures/PPE change with the rollout of the vaccine?
As we start to see more Canadians being vaccinated, you may be wondering whether adhering to the safety protocols we’ve all become accustomed to is still necessary. To put it simply — yes, it is. Whether you have personally been vaccinated, or everyone around you has received the vaccine, safety measures such as mandatory masking, physical distancing, wellness checkpoints and hand hygiene continue to play a critical role in reducing the transmission of COVID-19.
Based on recent National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) guidance, there is insufficient evidence on the duration of the protection of COVID-19 vaccines and the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing asymptomatic infection and reducing transmission. For this reason, here at Canadian Blood Services, all current COVID-19 mitigation strategies in our environments will remain in place. Positive case numbers, and public health and government guidance for vaccinated (two doses) individuals will likely continue to evolve over the summer and will inform our own policies and guidance going forward. We will continue to evaluate practices as the pandemic evolves, and we will revisit our restrictions in the fall.
Safety is our highest priority. For more information on our COVID-19 safety measures, visit blood.ca/wellness and learn more about our COVID-19 response for employees, including PPE, vaccines and more on your COVID-19 portal.
When can employees who are having side effects (ex: fever) after receiving the vaccine return to work/pass the wellness checkpoint?
The COVID-19 vaccination may result in side effects which affect our employees’ ability to work. If you think you are experiencing an adverse reaction from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, please speak with your manager/supervisor for further guidance.
If you develop symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as a fever, you should remain away from work, inform your manager, seek testing with your local public health authority and follow local public health guidance.
Please reach out to OHS/EHS to coordinate when it is safe for you to return to work. Once you are eligible to return, they will provide you with further guidance about passing the wellness checkpoint at your site.
Will I be able to take time off work to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
As an organization, we are encouraging all employees to be vaccinated as soon as possible, and we recognize that there may be cases where eligible employees are only able to schedule their vaccination appointment during their regular working hours.
To support our teams, employees will be paid for their regular scheduled time if they need to be away from work to attend a vaccination appointment. Please notify your manager/supervisor as far in advance as possible, so operational needs can be coordinated.
Is it safe to receive blood or blood products from a donor who has had the COVID-19 vaccine?
Our ultimate priority is the health of the patient. As part of our mandate to provide a safe, accessible blood supply to Canadians, medical and scientific professionals at Canadian Blood Services carefully review and assess each vaccine authorized for use in Canada. Health Canada has not recommended or imposed any restriction on the use of the four approved COVID-19 vaccines and blood donation. All new vaccines are assessed by the medical professionals at Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, in conjunction with recommendations by Health Canada, and informed by scientific evidence.
Health Canada has indicated that no blood donor deferral is required for any of the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines. This is consistent with Canadian Blood Services’ donor eligibility criteria for other non-live vaccines, for which no donor deferral is required, and is in line with the practice of other blood operators.
Blood collected from donors who have received any of the current Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines has not been associated with any adverse transfusion reaction that has been attributable to vaccination of the donor.
Is there a deferral period for donors after they received the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Donor Selection Criteria Manual (DSCM) working group has conducted a review of the approved vaccines for COVID-19 as well as those under development and have determined these will not impact donation eligibility. Meaning that no deferral will be required at this time.
The DSCM working group is also monitoring how other countries are managing donor deferrals, such as the EU and US (FDA)
Will donating blood reduce the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine?
No — there is no suggestion or evidence in the research available that donating blood will reduce the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.
To understand this a little better, it is important to know why blood donation won’t impact the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and how vaccines develop immunity on our bodies in the first place.
Even though our blood can provide lifesaving products and services to patients in need, donating does not remove the vaccine from the body. It also won’t deplete the body of important immune fighting cells and antibodies that are formed in response to the vaccine.
Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. This type of infection doesn’t cause major illness, but it does cause the immune system to produce special white blood cells and antibodies that will remember how to fight that disease in the future. These immune responses are stored throughout the body, in the blood and certain organs like the spleen.
A very small number of white blood cells might be in the blood that is taken during blood donation, but that amount would not be enough to affect the bodies “memory” or antibodies responsible for fighting the disease.
To put it in perspective, average adults have about five to six liters of blood in their bodies, and whole blood donation requires only about 500 mL. The human body is constantly producing more blood, including the white blood cells required for our immunity against all infections.
What if a someone requiring a transfusion wants to receive blood from a donor who hasn’t been vaccinated?
In Canada, there is no regulatory requirement or blood quality or safety standard that requires that the vaccination status of the blood donor be indicated on the label of a blood product. This is because the blood of donors who have received non-live vaccines does not pose a risk to patients who receive a blood transfusion. The labeling information for donated blood is limited to information that is relevant to the appropriate selection and safe use of the product, including the blood group, and other information as required by Health Canada or recommended by relevant blood safety standards.
Blood donated by individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine is not associated with a risk for COVID-19 infection and the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not transmissible by blood. Further, there are no known or suspected harmful effects of blood from a vaccinated individual to a recipient. Finally, all blood donations must meet all safety criteria and donors must be well and healthy on the day of donation without exception.
If a patient requires a blood transfusion, the patient or their legal guardian should discuss their concerns with their healthcare provider. Every patient has the option to accept or decline transfusion, following the hospital’s informed consent policy, processes, and procedures.
With most Canadians being fully vaccinated, what do we know about booster requirements?
In general, booster shots are used to increase the body's antibody response to a virus after the immune system has been "primed" by the initial vaccination (for example, like the tetanus shots we need to get every 10 years). Additional vaccine doses can also help the body fight off different variants of a virus (like the yearly flu shot).
Vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, are working on developing and testing the safety and efficacy of booster shots against Sars-CoV-2 and potential new COVID-19 variants.
Some countries, including the UK and Israel have issued guidance around plans to begin issuing booster shots. In the UK, the Joint Commission on Vaccination and Immunisation has indicated that should a booster shot be required, a third shot would be offered to vulnerable individuals starting in September. In Israel, people over 60 who have already been vaccinated will be offered a booster shot beginning August 1.
Currently, countries such as Canada, the US and the EU have not recommended that a booster vaccine is required; however, Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, has indicated that this is something they are watching very carefully as the data evolve.
The World Health Organization has stated that the organization is still researching whether a booster shot is needed to increase protection. If a booster is determined to be required, the WHO has indicated that it would likely only be for select groups of recipients, like the elderly.
How susceptible are children under the age of 12 of catching COVID-19 as they can’t be vaccinated yet? Are they safe to be around groups of people who are fully vaccinated?
SARCoV-2 infections have been reported in all age groups, including infants, children, and adolescents. However, the knowledge around children’s susceptibility to COVID-19 infection is evolving and their susceptibility to infection and transmissibility related to adults is still unknown and may even be changing as new variants evolve. This means that we don’t really know if children have the same risk of catching COVID-19 as adults do, although the rate of infection is thought to be likely similar. We also don’t know if children are as likely to spread COVID-19 as adults are, although some evidence suggests they are less likely to transmit infection. What is known, is that most children who have COVID-19 experience only mild disease or remain asymptomatic.
Because many children with COVID-19 may not have symptoms, this means that we can’t rely on symptoms to test and isolate infected children. Any individual who is not fully vaccinated should keep taking steps to protect themselves and others, like wearing a well-fitted mask and staying physically distanced from others in public settings and screening for symptoms.
Other key points:
Anyone who is able to be vaccinated should be, to protect those who are unable to be vaccinated or those who are unable to mount an appropriate immune response to a vaccine. This includes children less than 12 years of age as well as some immune compromised individuals.
Currently, none of the COVID-19 vaccines are licensed for use in children less than 12 years of age. However, clinical trials studying their use in younger children are underway with results anticipated in the late summer and early fall.