Unvaccinated citizens in the Canadian Province of Ontario have been put on notice that they can expect a phone call from the government, according to a notice published on an official health authority website.
Dated Oct. 14, the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU), one of Ontario’s 36 public health units, posted an article on the news section of its website titled Those Unvaccinated For Covid-19 Can Expect A Phone Call, stating, “Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) is making phone calls to everyone with an Ontario health card number who does not yet have a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
“The purpose of the calls is to help answer questions and to ensure those unvaccinated residents know how to get vaccinated if they choose to.”
NWHU says it published the article to “inform the public that these calls are legitimate,” while simultaneously doing its part to encourage vaccine acceptance. In the post, the Unit provided links to two third party vaccine “facts” websites, one for children and one for adults.
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The MOH told The National Post via email that, “This includes a campaign that is currently ongoing to offer first doses. These calls are from live agents and are only to offer information and an opportunity to book an appointment.”
The government confirmed it was using a database created when citizens renew their Provincial health card in conjunction with a second database “containing information pertaining to vaccines already administered to persons in Ontario.”
“The Ministry of Health has the authority under section 37(1)(c) of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 to use and link the information from these databases for planning and delivering the COVID-19 vaccination program.”
“This includes contacting individuals to encourage vaccination,” said the spokesperson.
In March when vaccine availability was still sparse, CTV warned of a robocall, text message, and email scam that had emerged offering people the opportunity to skip the line in exchange for a fee or sell vaccination directly.
Times have changed. In September, Ontario’s Peel Region announced the launch of its “Vax Van.”
“This strategy involves using data and community insights to understand the needs of our residents who have not yet been vaccinated and providing easy, supportive access to vaccination,” reads a press release on the regional government’s website.
“In addition to the Vax Van, numerous neighborhood clinics will run in September, October and beyond in post-secondary schools, shopping malls, places of worship, fairs, parks and more. Vaccination hubs at over 15 schools in Peel also launched this week.”
The Provincial government likewise converted two transit busses into a program titled “GO-VAXX.” The vehicles will serve “as a fully functioning vaccine clinic with the necessary supplies and trained staff to provide assistance to people and ensure vaccines are administered safe,” according to the Province’s website.
Ontario says the busses are part of the province’s “last mile strategy to target those who have yet to receive a first or second dose.”
The Province’s vaccine status website says that 83 percent of all citizens aged 12 and up have accepted two doses of the injections, while 4 percent have accepted only one dose. Ontario hosts a population of approximately 14.5 million people.
In August, British Columbia’s Interior Health Authority sent out a regular mail letter to the Province’s unvaccinated encouraging vaccine acceptance. However, the outside of the envelope the letter was enclosed in revealed the recipients vaccination status to postal workers, landlords, fellow tenants, or anyone else who observed the item.