COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout in Canada - Administration

The priority populations for COVID-19 vaccine administration in Canada include adults aged 70 and above, healthcare workers in direct contact with patients, and adults in Indigenous communities“. The COVID-19 vaccine roll out in Canada has been slow in comparison to other developed countries. Details on Canada’s approach to administration of the COVID-19 vaccines have been provided below.


Priority Populations


Administering Staff


Product Quality Assurance

  • Special attention will be given to handling and storage of vaccines because some are stored at ultra-low and freezer temperatures, while others can be stored in the normal 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. Those that require lower temperatures will need to be stored at 2 to 8 degrees before use. The date and time when vaccines are refrigerated and when they should be used will be specified.
  • Vaccines will be stored securely overnight in clinics that have the capacity and equipment; and for clinics that lack these, they will be transported to and from storage sites according to cold chain and transporting requirements. There will be protocols to monitor and record storage temperatures, especially if vaccines are stored in coolers or insulated bags rather than freezers and refrigerators.
  • Starting and ending time frames when vaccines can be kept at room temperature, used when pre-loaded into a syringe, used when mixed with other substances, or used when the vial is punctured will be noted down. Based on manufacturer recommendations, pre-loaded syringes and mixed vaccine vials that are not used immediately may be stored at room temperature, in coolers, or insulated bags.
  • Vaccines will be thawed and maintained at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, or brought to room temperature, according to manufacturer instructions, with time frames of thawing and usage clearly specified.

Administration of Vaccines to Vulnerable and Hard to Reach Populations

Avoiding Wastage

  • Provinces and territories (PT) will direct local and regional departments on strategies or administering the vaccine, including minimizing wastage.
  • Plans will be made to ensure that any extra thawed vaccine is used either over the next few days at a clinic, or in a healthcare provider’s office or congregate living setting according to eligibility criteria and assuming appropriate transportation. If the thawed vaccine cannot be transported or is reaching maximum time at that particular temperature, a contingency plan can be used, such as a waiting list for eligible people who can be called for vaccination urgently. Moreover, vaccines can be administered in order of those currently eligible, those who will soon be eligible and others as appropriate.
  • When doses are given to ineligible persons to avoid wastage, such cases will be documented.

Data Collection

  • Health Canada’s Canada Vigilance Program will collect and assess reports of suspected adverse reactions to the vaccine from manufacturers, patients and their families, and healthcare providers.
  • Each province and territory (PT) has a system to track immunization data using paper-based systems, electronic databases or both. Key data elements will be determined such as age, risk groups and gender, and then information will be collected from vaccine recipients.
  • Public health authorities will measure vaccine uptake as the vaccine is being administered, to check whether it is lower than expected or in line with expectations. If it is lower, there may be a need for promotional efforts or other strategies such as adjusting recommendations or vaccine allocations to different jurisdictions.
  • The Canadian Immunization Registry and Coverage Network (CIRC) will develop data standards and facilitate collection and sharing of vaccine uptake reports from different jurisdictions. CIRC members will make weekly reports of vaccines administered in their respective jurisdictions, “broken down by recipients’ age and gender, as well as the number of doses administered to the populations targeted for early immunization.”
  • There are plans for monthly national surveys via Statistics Canada to estimate the levels of vaccination coverage in provinces and territories. This survey, which will supplement data from PT registries, will provide information on attitudes, beliefs and knowledge of the vaccine among the immunized and non-immunized, reasons for immunization or lack thereof, and sociodemographic information.

Performance Management


Slow roll out

Pausing for the holidays

‘Me First’ Mentality

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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