We want to ensure that every single community in Ottawa is protected against COVID-19. To this end, we are working to ensure everyone has access to vaccines. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has partnered with the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study (ONS) to map neighbourhood-level COVID-19 vaccination rates.
This map provides a snapshot of COVID-19 vaccination among people 12 years and older across Ottawa, based on ONS neighbourhoods. We are seeing disparities in vaccine rates across neighbourhoods. Using this data, OPH continues to work with community partners including the health care sector to address inequities in accessing the COVID-19 vaccine. OPH and partners have been developing tailored options for specific neighbourhoods to ensure that anyone who wants the vaccine can get it.
When sharing information about neighbourhood coverage, we need to highlight that there are underlying structural and systemic inequities and barriers that prevent people from accessing services. These inequities are long standing and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, have left some communities at increased risk for infection and with fewer protection measures. Further, many Indigenous, Black and other racialized peoples have reduced trust in public institutions, including our health care system, due to systemic racism. This lack of trust can also impact vaccine access and uptake. We will continue to work to ensure all communities have access to the health information they need to promote their health and the health of their families.
Long-term solutions are needed to address underlying social determinants of health such as racism, income, housing, and employment to increase health equity among all populations. In the meantime, it is necessary to work with communities to protect against further infection and ensure equitable and safe access to vaccination.
Some of the barriers which residents and partner organizations have shared with Ottawa Public Health include:
- Inequitable access: to transportation, to a clinic or pharmacy, to childcare, to a health card, to technology (for accessing information or booking), and to information or services in their language (without English or French fluency).
- (Lack of) time: working conditions and life circumstances limit some people’s ability to take time off from work and other obligations in order to wait in line with the booking system, at a drop-in clinic, or other clinic.
- (Lack of) trust: some communities may not trust health institutions or the government; people may put more trust in their cultural and religious leaders who have diverse perspectives about vaccinations.
- Inequitable access to clear and accurate, information: some people faced barriers in navigating the rapidly changing information available to the public; others expressed challenges in finding up-to-date, plain-language information about topics such as: long-term vaccine effects, mRNA vaccines, vaccination for children, and the importance of second doses.
- Unclear or mixed messages: changing guidelines and advice have undermined confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine-related information. Although evidence-based, there has been inconsistent information about who qualified for pop-up clinics; changing advice on vaccine mixing and intervals; changing advice concerning the safety and use of different vaccines; and the importance of keeping up public health measures such as mask-wearing post-vaccination.
- Misinformation: circulating on the web, in media and social media platforms, especially about the COVID-19 vaccine and its side effects.
There are complex reasons for how and when people choose to get vaccinated. OPH recognizes everyone has diverse needs to make informed decisions to promote their health and safety. We will work to better understand the people’s needs and best support their access to accurate health information.
People and communities who have been most impacted by COVID-19 and have lower vaccine rates might face stigma. OPH has developed guidelines on how to avoid stigmatizing language when communicating about COVID-19.Please take a moment to review OPH’s position statement on stigma.
- The map provides a snapshot of cumulative COVID-19 vaccination among Ottawa residents based on geography established by the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study (https://www.neighbourhoodstudy.ca/). Data are current as of August 30, 2021.
- The neighbourhoods reflect where people live (by their postal code), they do not necessarily reflect where residents received their vaccine.
- Data were extracted by OPH from COVaxON, the provincial asset for recording vaccinations administered in Ontario, using intellihealth Ontario. COVaxON allows for continuous prospective and retrospective updates of vaccination information. For this reason, these data are a snapshot in time, reflect the most accurate information that OPH has at the time of reporting, and may differ from other sources.
- Residents are attributed to neighbourhoods based on their postal code and, if postal code is missing, on their address, if available. Residents with a postal code that straddles more than one neighbourhood are allocated to neighbourhoods based on the relative size of the population residing in each of the straddled neighbourhoods. If there is no postal code or address information for an individual believed to reside in Ottawa, the resident is not attributed to a neighbourhood. For this reason, the number of first doses administered by neighbourhood does not sum to the total number of first doses administered among all Ottawa residents.
- In rural settings, the geographic boundaries of postal codes may span multiple health units. Since a client cannot be shared between health units, each postal code is attributed to a specific health unit by the Ministry of Health. This can cause artificially higher or lower vaccination rates in rural neighbourhoods as some non-Ottawa residents will be attributed to rural Ottawa neighbourhoods and some rural Ottawa residents will be attributed to other health units (i.e. excluded from our Ottawa resident counts), respectively. For these reasons, we are continuously monitoring and reviewing neighbourhood attributions in rural neighbourhoods using a client’s residential address, when available, and working with neighbouring health units to identify incorrectly attributed clients.
- Estimates of the number of residents 12 years of age and older (12+), by ONS neighbourhood, are based on data provided by ICES using the Registered Persons Database (RPDB), which has basic demographic information for anyone who has ever received an Ontario health card number. The total 2020 12+ population for Ottawa was downloaded from intellihealth, Ontario Ministry of Health, on December 7, 2020.
- Rates calculated from very low numbers of vaccinations are unstable and should be interpreted with caution. Rates calculated from very low numbers of vaccinations fluctuate so much that we cannot use them to compare different areas or make predictions over time. For this reason, vaccination coverage is not presented for neighbourhoods with 12+ populations of less than 1,000 or for which the total number vaccinated is less than 5.