Updated guidance for immunization services during COVID-19
September 17, 2020
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To: Local health system partners
FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION
On August 25, 2020, the Ministry of Health released an updated version of its immunization guidance entitled “Guidance for Immunization Services During COVID-19,” previously sent to you on April 29, 2020. This Advisory Alert is intended to highlight key information from the updated document to further direct your immunization practices during COVID-19. A copy of the full document is available for your reference and has been posted on the Ministry of Health website at: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/2019_guidance.aspx#guidance
Assess your patient’s vaccine needs and provide vaccines at your earliest opportunity
- Prioritize those due and overdue for vaccines, especially infants and children requiring a primary vaccine series and those at increased risk for vaccine preventable diseases.
- Provide catch-up vaccines for missed doses:
- An interruption of a vaccine series or delays between doses can be caught up as outlined in Tables 4 to 23 of the Ontario Publicly Funded Schedule (referred to hereafter as “the schedule”). Special considerations not found in the schedule include:
- RotaTeq® – A series of 3 vaccine doses, with the first dose at ≥ 2 months (min. 6 weeks) and ˂15 weeks of age. The second dose can be given 2 months after the first (min. 4 weeks) and the third dose 2 months after the second (min. 4 weeks) and at age ≤32 weeks of age.
- School program vaccines: The eligibility for these vaccines has been extended until August 31, 2021, for those students who did not receive their vaccines in schools:
- Hepatitis B—Impacted cohorts are those students entering Grade 9 in the 2020/21 school year (born in 2006)
- Gardasil 9®— Impacted cohorts are female students who graduated in the 2019/20 school year (born 2002).
These vaccines may be ordered for your eligible cohort of students using the special release processes outlined on our vaccine order form, found here: https://www.phsd.ca/professionals/health-professionals/immunizations-ordering
- Zostavax II®—Eligibility has been extended until December 31, 2021, for 70-year-olds who are turning 71 in 2020 or 2021 (born in 1949 or 1950).
The schedule is available at:
http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/immunization/schedule.aspx. Table 22 and 23 outline the interrupted vaccine series catch-up steps for Prevnar 13® and the tetanus-containing vaccines which are given in accordance with age when first dose received.
Refer to the schedule for considerations when administering different types of vaccines for the same disease (conjugate and polysaccharide), when administering live vaccines (concomitantly versus at a separate time), and for minimum interval considerations for students under the Immunization of School Pupil’s Act.
General COVID-19 screening (passive and active) and enhanced infection control measures for COVID-19 must continue to be practised in your office setting. This includes patient accommodation (avoiding or reducing waiting room time, limiting the number of people attending the appointment, physical distancing), use of personal protective equipment and patient face coverings, environmental cleaning and disinfection. Refer to the Ministry of Health COVID-19 guidance documents for the health sector for the most current information. http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/dir_mem_res.aspx
Vaccines may be ordered through your usual ordering process.
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
NOTE: All Advisory Alerts are found on our website.
This item was last modified on October 27, 2020