Canada’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan: Saving Lives and Livelihoods

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recently released an immunization response which outlines and proposes how to safely and effectively provide Canadians with the vaccine for COVID-19. The plan will prioritize the health and safety of Canadians first by ensuring it is conveyed in an evidence-informed approach. The vaccine will be free and available for everyone in Canada during the 2021 year due to the substantial work done to acquire vaccine options and the means to deliver it to everyone in Canada. However, public health measures must be followed until most of the public has been immunized, to continue to minimize the spread of COVID-19. 

The collaboration for the response plan includes the Government of Canada, provinces, territories, First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders, municipal governments, public health and logistical experts, manufacturers, and all Canadians. 

The core principles of the plan are: 

  • Science-driven decision-making 

  • Transparency 

  • Coherence and adaptability 

  • Fairness and equity 

  • Public involvement 

  • Consistent reporting 

The objective of the COVID-19 immunization response is to quickly deliver the immunization to as many Canadians as possible while also prioritizing the high-risk population. The plan shows the approach to distribute the immunization of COVID-19 to all Canadians, beginning with priority populations. The main components of the plan are:  

  1. Communicate and engage with Canadians  

  2. Secure sufficient supply of vaccines 

  3. Regulatory authorization for safety and efficacy  

  4. Manage allocation and distribution of vaccines efficiently and securely 

  5. Decide on vaccine use and sequencing based on expert advice  

  6. Administer vaccines rapidly and equitably 

  7. Monitor vaccine safety, effectiveness and coverage 

Canada’s Vaccine Rollout: Sufficient vaccines have been purchased to supply all Canadians with the vaccination. These doses were secured based on the advice of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force and these vaccines will be rolled out as they arrive from manufacturers.   

vaccine chart

Prioritized first are the high-risk populations, such as the elderly, residents and staff of congregate living arrangements such as long-term care facilities, front-line health care workers, and those living in or working conditions with elevated risk for infection or disproportionate consequences, including Indigenous communities. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) advised the PHAC with Guidance on the prioritization of initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine(s).  

A more comprehensive COVID-19 immunization response will be under way. The main strategy is to ensure safe, secure and rapid distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.