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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. The federal government, provinces and First Nations have a difficult task ahead: a general vaccination that Ottawa hopes to finish by the end of the year. It has hit several snags as European regulatory chaos brought Canada’s shipments to a near-standstill in late January and early February; as official guidance shifted in March about which age groups should be allowed to take AstraZeneca’s drug; and as some provinces were slow to roll out websites and clear instructions for booking vaccinations.

Here’s a primer on the rollout 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 here.
  • The plan so far: All Nova Scotians 65 and older are currently able to book appointments at one of the general vaccination clinics, and priority groups like hospital workers and police are also eligible. AstraZeneca was never offered to Nova Scotians under 55, but it’s still available to 55- to 64-year-olds through pharmacies and family doctor offices. Health officials say the province is on track to make vaccines available to all Nova Scotians by late June, earlier than the initial estimate of September.

New Brunswick

  • Official page: Check New Brunswick’s coronavirus information page here and its guide to the vaccine rollout specifically.
  • The plan so far: New Brunswick’s rollout got off to a sluggish start, but in late February it was one of the early adopters of a delayed second dose, which allowed first doses to be rolled out faster. Seniors 70 and older are now eligible, as are Indigenous people 16 and older, front-line health workers and people who regularly travel across provincial borders for work, such as truckers. AstraZeneca doses are on hold for New Brunswickers under 55.

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

The first Ontarian injected: Anita Quidangen, a personal support worker at a Toronto long-term care home, on Dec. 14.

Carlos Osorio/Reuters

Ontario

Manitoba

  • Official page: Check Manitoba’s coronavirus information page and its guide to the vaccine rollout specifically. Manitoba also has a queue calculator where you can get an estimate of where you are on the priority list.
  • The plan so far: Manitoba managed to vaccinate all long-term care residents by January and has moved on to other priority groups in health care, Indigenous communities and old-age cohorts. Indigenous people 40 and older and all Manitobans 60 and older are currently eligible: A call centre is available (1-844-626-8222) to screen people before booking appointments. AstraZeneca doses are on pause for under-55s.

Saskatchewan

Alberta

B.C.

Territories

  • Official pages: Check the coronavirus information pages for Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon.
  • The plan so far: All three territories are using Moderna or AstraZeneca’s vaccines, since they are easier to transport and store in the North than Pfizer-BioNTech’s. All the territories are well under way in their general rollouts: Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, where every adult is now eligible for a shot, expect to finish by the end of April.

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 vaccine will I get?

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.

Regulators still consider AstraZeneca to be effective, but official guidance about who should get it has changed several times. Originally it was permitted only for people under 65, but then older seniors were allowed to take it. On March 29, regulators were expected to announce a pause on AstraZeneca doses to people 55 and younger. Check the National Advisory Committee on Immunization website for the latest recommendations.

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 three million vaccinations by the end of March, general inoculation by April and all Canadians vaccinated by December. That plan isn’t set in stone, as much will depend on global supply chains: There was much less less vaccine to go around in January and February due to supply shortages from BioNTech and Moderna.

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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