August 2021

All the latest on COVID-19 vaccines

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, our website is updated frequently with the latest information. Here’s where you can find the latest:

Supporting patients

Vaccinations are an evidence-based public health intervention and the decision to get a vaccine supports patient safety. If you’re looking for resources to inform your conversations with patients or support your own decision-making, our vaccine information page has help.

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.

If you need to have a difficult discussion with a patient, you can use strategies such as continually seeking to understand their health care needs and perspectives, asking open-ended questions, and acknowledging their concerns about the health care system and their experiences as a patient.

Following public health protocols

As the province enters new stages of its reopening plan, it’s important to stay vigilant against the spread of COVID-19 by continuing to follow current public health protocols. Nurses are accountable for supporting evidence-based public health prevention and protection measures. These include vaccinations, masking, handwashing and social distancing.

As nurses, you are leaders in your community. The public’s trust in you may extend to your views on health matters communicated on social media and other forums. Nurses have a professional accountability to:

  • use accurate sources of information based in scientific theory and evidence, to inform their professional service and practice

  • support patients and the public to make informed health care decisions, including decisions about public health prevention and protection measures

  • role model and follow public health directives that keep patients and the public safe.

Finding your local health unit’s vaccine plan

Each public health unit in Ontario has developed a rollout plan to meet their community’s needs while adhering to the provincial guidelines. To make it easy for you to find information about the COVID-19 vaccine, we have created a centralized webpage where you can find your local health unit’s vaccination plan.

Administering the vaccine

Nurses do not need an order to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The Ministry of Health has created an exemption in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 to allow RNs, RPNs and specified pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine without an order. Under this exemption, nurses can delegate the controlled act of administering a vaccine to an unregulated care provider.

This exemption only applies to nurses practicing in certain organizations that have an agreement with the Minister of Health related to administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. These include municipally run vaccination sites, hospital sites, mobile vaccination sites, pharmacies, clinics, primary care settings and community locations such as community health centres and aboriginal health access centres.

Before administering the vaccine, ensure you have the appropriate knowledge, skill and judgment to do so. If you do not feel you have the knowledge, skill and judgment to safely administer the vaccine and manage any outcomes, do not administer.

If you have questions about this exemption or your accountabilities for administering COVID-19 vaccines, read our FAQs.

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