COVID-19 Vaccines & Accessibility By Brain Injury Canada
2. What is the COVID-19 vaccine? The COVID-19 vaccine is a medical tool that can provide 90-95% protection against the coronavirus disease. It is administered in two doses, and is available free of charge to all Canadians. This vaccine is helping reduce fatal illness, long-term effects, and giving Canadians the opportunities to reconnect with loved ones; regain access to rehabilitation and supports; and resume daily activities.
3. Accessing the COVID-19 vaccine There is a lot of information out there about the benefits of vaccination and how to make a decision. Brain Injury Canada has many of these resources on our website to help with the process so you can make the choice that is right for you. But if you have made the decision to get vaccinated… How do you access the vaccine?
4. Accessing the COVID-19 vaccine Some cities have a lot of information about accessibility and vaccines. Information they have provided includes: ● A COVID-19 vaccine accessibility assessment ● Accessibility design standards for each vaccination clinic ● In-home vaccination options ● The ability to ask for or bring a support person ● Details for caregivers on how to help with the vaccination process
5. Accessing the COVID-19 vaccine Unfortunately, not every city, province, and territory has that level of information easily available on their website. Vaccine appointments are booked differently in each province and territory. As a result, there are no nation-wide standards on providing information about accessibility and the COVID-19 vaccine.
6. Accessing the COVID-19 vaccine This means it is up to each person to make their own accessible vaccination plan. Use the following step-by-step plan to customize your own COVID-19 accessible vaccination plan in your province/territory.
7. Step One: Identify your accessibility needs Depending on your accessibility needs, not every clinic or participating pharmacy will be able to provide you with a vaccine appointment. It is important to have a list of what you absolutely need in order to get your appointment. ● Can you safely leave your home? If not, you need to ask about in-home vaccination ● Do you need a caregiver/support person? ● Do you need help with communication? ● Do you need a ramp and power buttons? ● Are you sensitive to bright lights, loud noises, or other sensory stimuli?
8. Step Two: Search for your local health authority The federal government has released a helpful list of provincial/territorial COVID- 19 vaccination websites that can help you find your local booking system. Access the list of provinces/territories You can also use an internet search engine to search the following: [Province/territory] health authority + COVID-19 vaccine For example: Manitoba health authority + COVID-19 vaccine
9. Step Three: Look for information on accessibility Once you are on the website for your provincial/territorial health authority, you will need to start looking for accessibility information. Every website is different, which means there’s no standard place for accessibility information. Here are some words you can look for on the website to point you towards the right information: ● Accessible/accessibility ● Homebound or in-home ● Support(s) ● Disability
10. Step Three: Look for information on accessibility If you find the information you needed and know that the clinics will be able to meet your needs, you can progress to booking an appointment through the provincial/territorial online booking system. Make sure you have an email address you can check, your health card, and a calendar with you when you make the appointment. While in some cases you may not need your health card, it is best to be prepared.You can also ask a caregiver, friend, or family member for help making the appointment. If you did not find the information you needed, you will need to move onto Step Four: Contacting your health authority.
11. Step Four: Contacting your health authority Health authorities have various ways to communicate with the public. The most direct way is to call them. Their telephone numbers are located at the bottom of their websites or under ‘Contact Us’. Make sure before you call (or email) your health authority that you know what questions you are going to ask. You can also ask someone to contact the health authority on your behalf.
12. Step Five: Booking your vaccine Depending on the conversation you have with your local health authority, you may have booked your appointment online or over the phone. Make sure that once you have booked your appointment, you write down the date, time, location, and the confirmation code.
13. Step Six: Confirm transportation If you have to travel to your vaccine appointment, but are unable to drive, you need to make sure you have transportation plans in place. Transportation options can include: ● Asking a caregiver, friend, or family member to drive you ● Taking a taxi or rideshare service (like Uber or Lyft) ● Taking public transportation ● Booking para transportation
14. Step Seven: Make a vaccination appointment kit Before your appointment, make sure you have everything you need to get your vaccination. This would include: ● Your health card ● Your appointment confirmation ● A confirmation of accessibility accommodations, if applicable ● Your wallet/purse ● A cell-phone in case you need to make a call or text ● A face mask ● Transportation confirmation, if applicable Remember, wear a short-sleeved shirt to your appointment, and bring a sweater if you feel chilly.
15. Step Eight: Get vaccinated The vaccination itself only takes a few minutes. You will be asked some simple questions about your health, and be given the vaccination. You will then be asked to sit in a waiting area for 15 minutes to monitor for any unusual symptoms. You will then be able to go home.
16. Repeat the process for both doses Once you have received a dose of the vaccine, keep your record of vaccination somewhere safe and easy to remember. You will then follow this step-by-step process again for your second dose.
17. Have a question about the COVID-19 vaccine? Brain Injury Canada has developed several resources, including an FAQ article about the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit braininjurycanada.ca to find this information.