Guidance for Immunization Service Providers During COVID-19
April 29, 2020
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To: Local Health System Partners
FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION
Communication with Public Health
We are streamlining our communication with area health care providers and henceforth will use email to communicate Advisory Alerts with you. If you have not already done so, please send your professional/office email address(es) to us at Health_Protection@phsd.ca immediately. These addresses will be used for the purposes of communicating urgent public health information.
Immunization Services During COVID-19
With the declaration of an emergency in Ontario to help contain the spread of COVID-19 many changes have occurred that impact the delivery of immunization services. Below is interim guidance from the Ministry of Health to help direct your immunization practices during COVID-19. A copy of the full document is attached for your reference.
- Take every opportunity to vaccinate eligible patients presenting for urgent health needs and/or other essential appointments:
- Infants and children for 2, 4, 6, 12, 15 and 18-month routine vaccines
- Adolescents and adults including pregnant women eligible to receive Tdap
- Seniors for pneumococcal vaccination
- Persons at high-risk as per the publicly funded schedule (including infants of HBsAg positive mothers)
- Health care workers who require hepatitis B and MMR vaccine
- Vaccinate all eligible persons who are inpatients of hospitals or residents in institutions where clinical care is continuing to be provided or where home care is provided.
When offering immunization services ensure that proper infection prevention and control measures are in place to reduce the spread of infection in your office setting. Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Primary Care in a Community Setting (version 4 amended with link below), includes: screening of all patients for respiratory illness (at time of appointment booking and upon arrival to the office), limiting the number of persons attending an appointment (one adult accompanying a child), use of a non-medical mask by persons presenting to your office setting, physical distancing and health care provider use of personal protective equipment (based on risk assessment). Where possible, limit patient time in the waiting room by providing all services in the same clinic room. Clean and disinfect equipment and the environment between patients. Visit the Ministry of Health website for updates to guidance for primary and other care settings: https://www.phsd.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Gudiance-Immunization-Services-April-19-20-updated-04-21-20.pdf
Vaccine Storage and Handling
- Continue to record minimum, maximum and current temperatures twice daily in refrigerators storing publicly funded vaccine
- Maintain small inventories of vaccines
- Continue to report all cold chain incidents as soon as they are discovered
- Maintain vaccine returns and vaccine wastage at your office until further notice
Longer-term guidance for the provincial immunization program (i.e. program eligibility and catch-up) is forthcoming from the Ministry of Health and will be shared as it is received.
Please contact the Immunization Program at 705.522.9200, ext. 458 with any questions you may have.
Original Signed By
Dr. Penny Sutcliffe
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer
This item was last modified on June 30, 2020