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Sahra Kaahiye, a respiratory therapist at Edmonton’s Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, gets the province's first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 15.

Jason Franson/The Canadian Press

Less than a year after COVID-19 first reached its shores, Canada began vaccinating people against the virus that causes it – and while the rollout accelerated quickly this spring, it’s far from over, and health officials are eager to finish the job before new variants create another, potentially deadlier, pandemic.

This is a primer on the provinces’ plans so far. You can also consult our vaccine tracker to see how many doses have been administered by province and territory, and how that stacks up against other countries’ vaccination rates. To see whether Canada’s case numbers are trending up or down, please consult our main COVID-19 data page.


Vaccine rollouts by province

The first Newfoundlander injected: Public-health nurse Ellen Foley-Vick on Dec. 16.

Sarah Smellie/The Canadian Press

Newfoundland and Labrador

One of the first three islanders vaccinated: Debbie Lawless, a registered nurse at a Charlottetown nursing home, on Dec. 16.

Brian McInnis/The Canadian Press

Prince Edward Island

Nova Scotia

  • Official page: Check Nova Scotia’s coronavirus information page and its page for booking appointments.
  • The plan so far: All Nova Scotians 12 and older can now book at one of the general vaccination clinics, and an accelerated rollout for second doses allows people to book booster appointments a few weeks earlier than planned. AstraZeneca is no longer being offered for first doses, and the province says it’s scheduling those who previously had it to get Pfizer or Moderna boosters.

New Brunswick

The first Quebecker injected: Gisèle Lévesque, an 89-year-old resident of a Quebec City long-term care home, on Dec. 14.

PATRICK LACHANCE/MCE/AFP via Getty Images

Quebec

Ontario

The first Manitoban injected: Dr. Brian Penner of the internal medicine department at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre, on Dec. 16.

John Woods/The Canadian Press/The Canadian Press

Manitoba

Saskatchewan

Alberta

The first British Columbian vaccinated: Nisha Yunus, a residential care aide at Providence Health Care, on Dec. 15.

Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters

B.C.

Territories

  • Official pages: Check the coronavirus information pages for Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon.
  • The plan so far: Most of the doses being offered in the territories are Moderna, since Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine is prohibitively hard to store, though some health authorities have secured Pfizer to begin vaccinating children: The Northwest Territories and Yukon has already begun giving 12- to 17-year-olds Pfizer shots, and Nunavut has ordered doses so it can follow suit.

National overview

How do the vaccines get to where I live?

The Trudeau government has bought tens of millions of doses of various vaccines and is co-ordinating with provinces, territories and First Nations to deliver them to Canadians free of charge. The vaccines go through a central agency, the National Operations Centre, where health officials and the military organize their distribution.

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines may follow

a similar pattern but in the initial stages the

federal government will play a more active

role because of the logistical challenges

associated with vaccines that require cold

or ultracold infrastructure.

ALTA, SASK., ONT., QUE. AND N.B.

MANUFACTURER

CENTRAL DEPOT

PHARMACY WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTORS AND SELF

DISTRIBUTING CHAINS

REGIONAL DEPOT

ADMINISTRATION

SITES AND

FIRST NATIONS

PROVIDERS

PHARMACIES

B.C., N.S. and N.L.

MANUFACTURER

CENTRAL DEPOT

REGIONAL DEPOTS

ADMINISTRATION SITES AND

FIRST NATIONS PROVIDERS

Man., PEI., Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Department of National Defence and Correctional Service Canada

MANUFACTURER

CENTRAL OR

REGIONAL DEPOTS

ADMINISTRATION SITES AND

FIRST NATIONS PROVIDERS

MURAT yükselir / the globe and mail,

source: Public Heath Agency of Canada

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines may follow a

similar pattern but in the initial stages the federal

government will play a more active role because of

the logistical challenges associated with vaccines

that require cold or ultracold infrastructure.

ALTA, SASK., ONT., QUE. AND N.B.

MANUFACTURER

CENTRAL DEPOT

PHARMACY WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTORS AND SELF

DISTRIBUTING CHAINS

REGIONAL DEPOTS

ADMINISTRATION

SITES AND

FIRST NATIONS

PROVIDERS

PHARMACIES

B.C., N.S. and N.L.

MANUFACTURER

CENTRAL DEPOT

REGIONAL DEPOTS

ADMINISTRATION SITES AND

FIRST NATIONS PROVIDERS

Man., PEI., Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Department of National Defence and Correctional Service Canada

MANUFACTURER

CENTRAL OR

REGIONAL DEPOTS

ADMINISTRATION SITES AND

FIRST NATIONS PROVIDERS

MURAT yükselir / the globe and mail,

source:Public Heath Agency of Canada

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines may follow a similar pattern but

in the initial stages the federal government will play a more active role

because of the logistical challenges associated with vaccines that require

cold or ultracold infrastructure.

Alta, Sask., Ont., Que. and N.B.

B.C., N.S. and N.L.

Man., PEI., Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Department of National Defence and Correctional Service Canada

MANUFACTURER

CENTRAL DEPOT

CENTRAL DEPOT

CENTRAL OR

REGIONAL DEPOTS

PHARMACY WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTORS AND SELF

DISTRIBUTING CHAINS

REGIONAL DEPOTS

REGIONAL DEPOTS

ADMINISTRATION

SITES AND

FIRST NATIONS

PROVIDERS

ADMINISTRATION

SITES AND

FIRST NATIONS

PROVIDERS

ADMINISTRATION

SITES AND

FIRST NATIONS

PROVIDERS

PHARMACIES

MURAT yükselir / the globe and mail, source: Public Heath Agency of Canada

Which COVID-19 vaccine will I get in Canada?

So far, Health Canada has approved four vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Except for Johnson & Johnson’s, which requires only one injection, they’re two-dose drugs, but Canada’s vaccine advisory committee has encouraged health officials to wait up to four months between doses. This will allow provinces to stretch supplies to as many people in as short a time as possible, breaking the chain of COVID-19 transmission and allowing restrictions to be lifted sooner.

Which COVID-19 vaccine is safest?

All of the drugs approved so far are effective and safe. Not all of them work in the same way: Pfizer and Moderna are new types of mRNA-based vaccine that give the immune system a sample of the virus’s genetic material to teach it how to fight back, whereas AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are more traditional viral-vector vaccines.

Eligibility for the non-mRNA drugs has changed dramatically as health officials learned about a rare form of blood clotting, vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, in people who received doses. The risk of VITT is very low, regardless of age, but it’s far less likely to occur in older people. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended in May that AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson be reserved for people over 30 who don’t want to wait for an mRNA drug, and for essential workers who can’t wait. That advice polarized doctors who maintain that Canadians should accept the first drug they’re offered, or risk getting sick or infecting others if they wait for a different one. It’s also led all provinces to stop giving AstraZeneca for first doses; those who’ve already had a first AstraZeneca dose may get a different booster.

What other COVID-19 vaccines are in development?

Ottawa has pre-purchased three other vaccine candidates and uses a “rolling submission” process so Health Canada can evaluate them before all the data is gathered:

  • Novavax
  • Medicago/GlaxoSmithKline
  • Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline

What is Ottawa’s overall plan?

Ottawa’s initial timetable calls for all Canadians to be vaccinated by December, though some provinces think they can finish inoculating their own populations sooner than that.

CANADA’S VACCINE CONTRACTS

The federal government has signed contracts to buy seven COVID-19 vaccine candidates. If all of those vaccines get Health Canada authorization, then Ottawa would buy 234 million vaccine doses. The government also negotiated options that give it the right to buy 164 million more doses if it chooses to.

Doses

purchased

Options

available

VACCINE (type)

DOSAGE

STATUS

Pfizer/BioNTech (mRNA) 

(millions of doses)

Authorized

in Canada

40

36

Moderna (mRNA) 

Authorized

in Canada

40

AstraZeneca/Oxford U.

(Adenovirus vector)

Authorized

in Canada

20

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson

(Adenovirus vector)

Authorized

in Canada

10

28

NovaVax (Protein nanoparticles)

Phase 3

data pending

52

24

Medicago/GSK

(Virus-like particles with protein)

Phase 2/3

trial underway

20

56

Sanofi/GSK (Recombinant protein)

Phase 3 trial

delayed till at

least Q2 2021

52

20

CANADA’S IMMUNIZATION PLAN

By September, the federal government says they will have

enough vaccine to inoculate everyone in Canada who wants a

shot. If more vaccines are authorized, and delivered, that timeline

could be sped up.

FIRST QUARTER

SECOND QUARTER

THIRD QUARTER

38 million

vaccinated

3 million

vaccinated

Goal

23 million

vaccinated

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

Enough doses

secured for

3 million

Enough doses

secured for

13 million

Enough doses

secured for

36 million

Reality

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

CANADA’S VACCINE CONTRACTS

The federal government has signed contracts to buy seven

COVID-19 vaccine candidates. If all of those vaccines get Health

Canada authorization, then Ottawa would buy 234 million vaccine

doses. The government also negotiated options that give it the

right to buy 164 million more doses if it chooses to.

Doses

purchased

Options

available

VACCINE (type)

DOSAGE

STATUS

Pfizer/BioNTech (mRNA) 

(millions of doses)

Authorized

in Canada

40

36

Moderna (mRNA) 

Authorized

in Canada

40

AstraZeneca/Oxford U.

(Adenovirus vector)

Authorized

in Canada

20

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson

(Adenovirus vector)

Authorized

in Canada

10

28

NovaVax (Protein nanoparticles)

Phase 3

data pending

52

24

Medicago/GSK

(Virus-like particles with protein)

Phase 2/3

trial underway

20

56

Sanofi/GSK (Recombinant protein)

Phase 3 trial

delayed till at

least Q2 2021

52

20

CANADA’S IMMUNIZATION PLAN

By September, the federal government says they will have

enough vaccine to inoculate everyone in Canada who wants a

shot. If more vaccines are authorized, and delivered, that timeline

could be sped up.

FIRST QUARTER

SECOND QUARTER

THIRD QUARTER

38 million

vaccinated

3 million

vaccinated

Goal

23 million

vaccinated

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

Enough doses

secured for

3 million

Enough doses

secured for

13 million

Enough doses

secured for

36 million

Reality

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

CANADA’S VACCINE CONTRACTS

The federal government has signed contracts to buy seven COVID-19 vaccine candi-

dates. If all of those vaccines get Health Canada authorization, then Ottawa would buy

234 million vaccine doses. The government also negotiated options that give it the right

to buy 164 million more doses if it chooses to.

Doses

purchased

Options

available

VACCINE (type)

DOSAGE

STATUS

Pfizer/BioNTech (mRNA) 

(millions of doses)

Authorized

in Canada

40

36

Moderna (mRNA) 

Authorized

in Canada

40

AstraZeneca/Oxford U. (Adenovirus vector)

Authorized

in Canada

20

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson

(Adenovirus vector)

Authorized

in Canada

10

28

NovaVax (Protein nanoparticles)

Phase 3

data pending

52

24

Medicago/GSK (Virus-like particles with protein)

Phase 2/3

trial underway

20

56

Sanofi/GSK (Recombinant protein)

Phase 3 trial

delayed till at

least Q2 2021

52

20

CANADA’S IMMUNIZATION PLAN

By September, the federal government say sthey will have enough vaccine to inoculate

everyone in Canada who wants a shot. If more vaccines are authorized, and delivered,

that timeline could be sped up.

FIRST QUARTER

SECOND QUARTER

THIRD QUARTER

3 million

vaccinated

Goal

23 million

vaccinated

38 million

vaccinated

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

Enough doses

secured for

3 million

Enough doses

secured for

13 million

Enough doses

secured for

36 million

Reality

MARIEKE WALSH, IVAN SEMENIUK AND JOHN SOPINSKI / THE GLOBE AND MAIL


Compiled by Globe staff

With reports from The Canadian Press, Ivan Semeniuk and Kelly Grant


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