Vaccination UPDATE – April 16, 2021

by Nathan Couvillon

Vaccination Update

TFW’s have been identified as a priority in Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout. Workers that work in close proximity of TFW’s have also been given a priority to receive the vaccine. Each individual Health Unit in each county is responsible for administering the vaccines and have different programs. In most cases, farms are being contacted directly to arrange vaccination appointments. Here are two updates we are aware of at this time:

WECHU will be assuming the registration


Niagara Region

Roles and Responsibilities of Employers and Workplace Owner-Operators

The role of farm operators in facilitating access to COVID-19 vaccinations is critical to this targeted effort. In recent Ministry of Health guidance for Phase Two Prioritization for COVID-19 Vaccinations, employers and workplace owner-operators are advised to support and facilitate vaccination operations where requested, promote awareness and education of vaccine for staff, and develop enabling policies to support staff vaccinations.

In your communication to workers, it should be made clear that vaccination is voluntary and requires informed consent. As such, workers have the right to refuse the vaccine and should not face reprisals or threats of reprisal (i.e. loss of employment and/or threat of loss of employment, either immediately or in a subsequent season).

Personal health information is the most restricted information when it comes to sharing, and any information collected by Niagara Region Public Health or Niagara Health cannot be shared unless for an explicit health care purpose. It is important to emphasize with workers that no personal information collected during a vaccination activity can legally be shared with the employer, immigration or enforcement.

 

Eligibility Criteria

Those who are eligible for prioritized access to COVID-19 vaccinations are those who have not yet received a first dose of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine and are:

International agricultural workers;

  • Canadian workers who have frequent and sustained in-person contact with temporary foreign workers (i.e. work alongside TFWs); and,
  • Canadian workers in the agricultural and farming sector who cannot work from

Individuals are not required to be a Canadian citizen or have an OHIP card to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

 

Dedicated Clinic Days

Niagara Health and Niagara Region Public Health have confirmed two (2) dedicated clinic days for this sector: Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25, 2021. Both clinics will be held at the Seymour- Hannah Sports and Recreation Centre, located at 240 St. Paul Street West in St. Catharines, and will operate from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

 

Vaccine Product Available

The COVID-19 vaccine available at the Seymour-Hannah clinic is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

 

Vaccine Education/Information and Staff Lists

Employers are requested to submit a staff list of those who are eligible and interested in receiving

prioritized access to a COVID-19 vaccine, to Niagara Region Public Health.

Please notify workers of the vaccine product type and clinic dates, and provide individual copies of all four (4) vaccine resources to each worker, at least 1-2 days before asking if they would like to be added to a list of those who wish to be vaccinated. These resources include:

  1. Ministry of Health: COVID-19 Consent Form (Spanish / English)
  2. Vaccine Bulletin: What You Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines (Spanish / English)
  3. COVID-19 Vaccine: Myths and Facts (Spanish / English)
  4. COVID-19 Vaccination After Care (Spanish / English)

Staff lists are required to be password protected and submitted to COVIDvaccinefarms@niagararegion.ca by Friday, April 16 at 5:00pm. See the attached template for details. Staff will begin contacting farm operators to book appointments the week of April 19-23. Those with the largest capacity for on-farm congregate living will be the first contacted in recognition of the unique logistical challenges associated with arranging safe transportation.


Windsor-Essex County

In most cases, members have completed an excel sheet and submitted the employees names that wish to be vaccinated. Windsor Essex County Health Unit – WECHU is now solely responsible for administering the vaccines. All information previously shared has been forwarded to the WECHU. Members will follow these protocols:

  • A survey will be sent to you to identify your farm and the members wishing to receive the vaccine
  • An excel sheet will be forwarded to you to provide additional details of each worker wishing to be vaccinated. Make sure you provide accurate and complete details of your employees. Return excel sheet to: tfwvaccinebooking@wechu.com
  • Priority will be given to TFW’s and then employees that work with TFW’s
  • Vaccinations will begin Monday April 19, 2021 and farms will be contacted directly by the WECHU
  • You will be responsible for transporting your workers in the cohorts they live and work in
  • Appointments will be scheduled according to cohorts
  • Workers MUST wear a 3-ply mask when attending the vaccination site. CLOTH MASKS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED
  • The process will take about 45 minutes to complete

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