COVID-19 Vaccination information

This page answers questions about the administration of COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario.

The Ministry of Health is working with vaccination sites to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to the public. Individuals wanting to help with the vaccination efforts can register and apply through the Ontario Matching Portal.

During the vaccine rollout, it is important to continue to follow public health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

  • The Ministry of Health has created an exemption in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 to allow Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses and specified pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine without an order.  
  • Under the exemption, nurses can delegate the controlled act of administering a vaccine to an unregulated care provider. To learn more about delegation see CNO’s Authorizing Mechanisms practice guideline
  • CNO does not a have a role in training and educating nurses specifically related to giving vaccines. Employers are responsible for ensuring their staff:
    • have the appropriate training necessary to perform specific activities e.g. administering vaccines.
    • have access to the appropriate PPE
    • have clear policies to follow related to vaccination efforts, such as those related to appropriate documentation and medication safety
  • Nurses are responsible to ensure they have the appropriate knowledge, skill, and judgment to safely administer vaccines and to refrain from performing the procedure if they are not competent to do so.
  • Public health measures work best when used in combination (e.g. vaccination, masking, physical distancing, hand washing)
  • Health Canada sets high standards for drug review, approvals and monitoring processes.
  • Nurses are accountable to role model and follow public health directives that keep patients safe, including knowing the evidence to dispel myths and misinformation so that you can have a conversation with patients in a helpful way. 


  • When talking to patients about any treatment, nurses ensure they include patients as partners in their care decisions and set aside adequate time to listen to patients and address concerns and/or correct misconceptions.
  • Vaccines are one of the ways we fight COVID-19. Like any other drug/vaccine/treatment, there are benefits and risks. Nurses should discuss the benefits and risks of vaccines versus the risks of diseases.
  • Nurses can employ the following strategies when having difficult discussions with patients:
    • continually seek to understand the patient’s health care needs and perspectives
    • ask open-ended questions
    • acknowledge the patient’s concerns about the health care system and his/her experiences as a patient;
    • For more information, please see the Conflict Prevention and Management guideline



Is the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for nurses?

The Ontario government has issued a directive that affects COVID-19 immunization workplace policies for individuals who are employed in hospitals, community, home care settings and ambulance services starting Sept. 7, 2021. Long-term care settings already have vaccine immunization policies in place.  Please refer to your employer policies.

Nurses working in the settings identified in this directive are required to follow the precautions and procedures listed. If a nurse chooses not to follow the requirements it will be up to the employer to determine next steps.

CNO strongly recommends  nurses to get vaccinated. Vaccines produce protection against diseases as a result of the body developing an immune response. This immunity helps people fight the virus if exposed. Vaccinations are an evidence-based public health intervention and we encourage all individuals to get vaccinated.

By getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you are not only protecting yourself, but you are also protecting those you care for, and the health care system’s capacity to deliver needed services during the pandemic.

Vaccination Resources


Directive #6: Resource Guide 

Page last reviewed October 08, 2021