A Challenging Start to 2022, More Resources and a Continued Call to Get More Shots in Arms

Dear Members,

2022 has not started off the way we had hoped with the rapid increase in Omicron cases and the shift back to online learning for our kids. As Ontario struggles through what looks to be the most challenging wave of this pandemic, we remain heartened and continually in awe of the dedication of our teams in ensuring you do everything you can do keep your patients and community safe.

When there was a call by the province for an #AllHandsOnDeck pivot during the December holiday season, you didn’t hesitate and did everything you could to support getting as many people vaccinated as possible. In fact, during the week of December 20 to 26 we saw the number of vaccines being given in primary care double – during a time where people should be rightfully getting some much-needed rest and downtime with the family. You can read the Vaccine Implementation Primary Care Update analysis by the Ministry which details the vaccine distribution up to January 3, 2022.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in our quick survey at the end of the year when the call to action was put out – your quick response provided a positive narrative to government officials on just how much primary care has and continues to participate in all efforts of the pandemic response.

For teams who are still struggling with getting vaccines or want to participate in your public health vaccine clinics but do not know where to get assistance, the Ministry has provided a list of the PHU operational contacts who you can connect with. If you’re having any issues, please let us know ASAP so we can work with the Ministry to provide a resolution.

A lot of information was released during the last few weeks so below are some important information you may find helpful – please note that we anticipate an updated Primary Care Guidance Document to be released in the next few weeks.

Ministry of Health guidance documents

Just a reminder that any updates to the Ministry Guidance Documents can be found here.

Updated Directive #1 and PPE
On December 15, Public Health Ontario issued an Interim IPAC Recommendations for Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Care of Individuals with Suspect or Confirmed COVID 19 which provides a summary of PPE recommendations.

Given the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) has issued a revised Directive #1 for Health Care Providers and Health Care Entities (December 21, 2021) instructing the move to wear a well-fitted surgical/procedure mask, or a KN95 respirator, or a non fit-tested N95 respirator (or equivalent) if not yet fit-tested. For questions you may have around Directive #1 read this Q&A document (December 24, 2021) which goes into more details.

Primary care teams can order N95s via the Ontario Health Critical Personal Protective Equipment portal – from the dropdown menu, select “N95 Mask for Regular Supply”. The requirement for fit testing has been removed for ordering the 1870+ N95 masks for primary care but not for other models. If you have any questions about the provincial stockpile, please direct questions to COVID19SupplyChain@ontariohealth.ca.

Prioritizing Pregnant Individuals for Booster Shots
On January 4, 2022, the CMOH issued a memo prioritizing of booster vaccines in pregnant individuals. With the recent hospitalizations of infants with COVID, it’s important now more than ever to ensure that pregnant individuals get their booster doses to prevent risk of severe outcomes with Omicron. If you’re looking for information around pregnancy and COVID vaccination, please visit:

Other Important Information


  • OCFP COVID-19 Community of Practice for Family Physicians: Managing COVID-19 in the Community- Friday, January 21, 2022, 8:00-9:00am EST. Details to be announced soon here.
  • Ontario Health Primary Care and COVID-19 Quality Improvement Support CoP: January 12 meeting registration here.
  • Vax for the Future: Equity, Community and Trust – Building Vaccine Confidence with Marginalized Populations – Wednesday, January 26 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Join the Alliance for Healthier Communities for a webinar on innovative, equitable approaches to overcoming vaccine hesitancy in marginalized populations. They will be showcasing best practices and lessons learned for improving vaccine confidence.  Learn more including registration here.
  • Children's Healthcare Canada Immunizing Children With Confidence Vaccination Conversation on January 27 – registration here.

As always, we thank you so much for all that you do and continue to do, especially during these tough times. Please stay safe and if you have any questions or need additional support that we can provide, please email us at info@afhto.ca.

Yours in good health,
The AFHTO Team