As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks.
The military commander handling logistics for Canada’s vaccine distribution program says there will be enough vaccine delivered to give a first dose before Canada Day to every adult who wants one.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says that’s if provinces follow the advice to delay second doses up to four months.
He also cautions that it is dependent on having no production delays again.
Canada pre-purchased millions of doses of seven different vaccine types, and Health Canada has approved four so far for the various provincial and territorial rollouts. All the drugs are fully effective in preventing serious illness and death, though some may do more than others to stop any symptomatic illness at all (which is where the efficacy rates cited below come in).
- Also known as: Comirnaty
- Approved on: Dec. 9, 2020
- Efficacy rate: 95 per cent with both doses in patients 16 and older, and 100 per cent in 12- to 15-year-olds
- Traits: Must be stored at -70 C, requiring specialized ultracold freezers. It is a new type of mRNA-based vaccine that gives the body a sample of the virus’s DNA to teach immune systems how to fight it. Health Canada has authorized it for use in people as young as 12.
- Also known as: SpikeVax
- Approved on: Dec. 23, 2020
- Efficacy rate: 94 per cent with both doses in patients 18 and older, and 100 per cent in 12- to 17-year-olds
- Traits: Like Pfizer’s vaccine, this one is mRNA-based, but it can be stored at -20 C. It’s approved for use in Canada for ages 12 and up.
- Also known as: Vaxzevria
- Approved on: Feb. 26, 2021
- Efficacy rate: 62 per cent two weeks after the second dose
- Traits: This comes in two versions approved for Canadian use, the kind made in Europe and the same drug made by a different process in India (where it is called Covishield). The National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s latest guidance is that its okay for people 30 and older to get it if they can’t or don’t want to wait for an mRNA vaccine, but to guard against the risk of a rare blood-clotting disorder, all provinces have stopped giving first doses of AstraZeneca.
- Also known as: Janssen
- Approved on: March 5, 2021
- Efficacy rate: 66 per cent two weeks after the single dose
- Traits: Unlike the other vaccines, this one comes in a single injection. NACI says it should be offered to Canadians 30 and older, but Health Canada paused distribution of the drug for now as it investigates inspection concerns at a Maryland facility where the active ingredient was made.
How many vaccine doses do I get?
All vaccines except Johnson & Johnson’s require two doses, though even for double-dose drugs, research suggests the first shots may give fairly strong protection. This has led health agencies to focus on getting first shots to as many people as possible, then delaying boosters by up to four months. To see how many doses your province or territory has administered so far, check our vaccine tracker for the latest numbers.
Health Canada anticipates a total of 36.5 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India by June 30.
Canadian provinces have suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in people under age 55, acting on an advisory committee’s concerns about a possible link between the shot and rare blood clots.
Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief medical officer of health, said the risk of developing a serious problem after being immunized is “very, very low.”
She said people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine should look for symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, sudden onset of severe or persistent headache or blurred vision and skin bruising elsewhere than the site of vaccination, developing four to 20 days after vaccination.
There are approximately 31 million Canadians over 16, and no vaccines are approved for anyone younger than 16.
Here’s a list of the inoculation plans throughout Canada:
Newfoundland and Labrador
Health officials say vaccinations have begun for first responders. Pre-registration for COVID-19 vaccines has opened for people aged 70 or older and for home-support workers.
Last month Newfoundland and Labrador extended the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months.
Public health officials said the change would help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey called the decision a game changer for the province’s vaccination prospects.
All Nova Scotians who want a vaccination should be able to get their first shot by late June, chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang announced on April 9. The original target was September.
Strang also announced that as of April 9, Nova Scotians 65 years of age and older became eligible to receive their first dose.
As well, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is still available for those 55 to 64 years old.
The province is also planning to use mobile van clinics to vaccinate about 900 people who work at or use homeless shelters in the Halifax area.
Public health is partnering with pharmacists and doctors to provide the vaccines at 25 locations.
Nova Scotia, meanwhile, has added front-line police officers to the list of people eligible for vaccination during the second phase of the province’s rollout plan, joining groups such as long-haul truck drivers and hospital workers over the age of 60.
Prince Edward Island
Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some.
The province is offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people ages 18 to 29 who work in gas stations and convenience or grocery stores.
The announcement on March 16 came after the province opened AstraZeneca vaccination appointments a week earlier to young people in the food and beverage sector.
Health officials announced March 18 that people 80 and older, health-care professionals who have close contact with patients, and people with complex medical conditions were eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
People 80 and over, a caregiver or a family member acting on their behalf can make an appointment for a vaccine at a pharmacy.
The province says all residents of long-term care homes have been offered at least one dose of vaccine. As of March 19, all residents of First Nations communities who are aged 16 or older were given access to their first dose of vaccine.
Quebec has expanded access to COVID-19 vaccines to Montrealers who are essential workers or who have chronic illnesses.
Essential workers such as teachers and first responders can now book an appointment after providing proof of employment.
Montrealers under age 60 with chronic illnesses will be able to receive a vaccine in hospital starting April 12.
Quebecers between the ages of 55 and 79 can now receive an Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at walk-in clinics.
Quebec has also opened vaccination appointments for anyone over the age of 60 across the province.
Officials announced on April 8 the first 13 companies that will operate clinics in their workplaces, with each site able to vaccinate up to 25,000 people between May and August.
Participating companies include National Bank, Bell, and Groupe CH, owner of the Montreal Canadiens NHL team. The clinics will be located in eight different health regions and should be operational by May 1.
Montreal’s airport authority will partner with Air Canada and Bombardier to create a vaccination hub that will operate two sites at the departure level of the airport terminal and in a nearby Bombardier hangar.
Some residents of Toronto and Peel Region aged 50 and older can now book their COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
Toronto says people who live in hot spot neighbourhoods can book an appointment to get their shot, while Peel has opened the bookings for anyone in the age group.
Toronto says it will begin to administer the vaccine to those residents on April 12.
The Ontario government said beginning April 5, people aged 60 and over could book their vaccine appointments in every region.
Premier Doug Ford has set a goal of getting 40 per cent of Ontarians – or five million people – their first dose over the next month.
Manitoba is vaccinating people aged 60 and older in the general population, and First Nations people aged 40 and older. Health officials plan to continue to reduce the age minimum age, bit by bit, over the coming months.
Manitoba has now given at least one dose to roughly 18 per cent of people aged 18 and older.
Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province’s vaccine task force, has said all adults in the province could have a first dose of by the end of June if supplies are steady.
There are supersites in cities where people can get vaccines, and pop-up clinics have begun in rural and northern Manitoba communities for people who are eligible.
Immunization teams have also been going to more congregate living facilities, such as group homes, to provide vaccines.
AstraZeneca is no longer only being used for people 55-64 with underlying health conditions. The doses, available through medical clinics and pharmacies, and are being made available to anyone 65 and over, with an emphasis on people who may have a hard time travelling to supersites.
Health officials say the province has capacity to deliver 20,000 doses each day, but are currently hindered by limited supply. They say all vaccines that arrive in the province are used within 10 days.
The military has also been deployed to northern Manitoba to help vaccination efforts in 23 remote First Nations.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority is booking vaccinations for residents 55 and older. The minimum age drops to 50 for people living in the Far North.
Those deemed to be medically vulnerable and those who have underlying health conditions can also get a shot, but they must wait to receive a letter first. Priority health-care workers are also on the list.
The province has opened drive-thru vaccination clinics in communities across the province. In Regina, the drive-thru is only open to residents who are 53 or 54 years old on the date of immunization.
Meanwhile, a group of 285 Saskatchewan physicians have banded together to urge the province to expand the vaccine rollout to include all health-care workers, teachers and those at higher risk due to socio-economic or medical risk factors.
Anyone born in 1963 or earlier with eligible health conditions can book for vaccine shots, and more birth years are to be added as more vaccine supply arrives.
Albertans born in 2005 or earlier with high-risk underlying health conditions became eligible as of April 7.
More than 250 pharmacies are offering immunizations and community physicians will be giving shots in their clinics later in April.
Additional AstraZeneca vaccine appointments for those aged 55 to 64 are also available through Alberta Health Services in Edmonton and Calgary.
Previously, shots have been available to front-line health workers, staff and residents in supportive living facilities, Albertans born in 1956 or earlier and First Nations, Inuit and Metis people born in 1971 or earlier.
Alberta has also said it is extending the time between the first dose and the second to four months.
Meanwhile, Premier Jason Kenney has announced that thousands of health-care workers will become eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines starting Apr. 12.
They include community physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and other professionals like chiropractors, physiotherapists and optometrists.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said the province expects to offer all Albertans 18 and over a first dose of vaccine by the end of June.
B.C. residents aged 60 and older can now register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
People born in 1961 and earlier, Indigenous peoples 18 and older, and those who are “clinically extremely vulnerable” can now register to book their vaccine appointment either online, through a call centre or at a Service BC Location.
Those in the vulnerable category include people at higher risk from COVID-19 due to existing medical conditions, including transplant recipients and those with cancer and severe respiratory conditions.
B.C.’s age-based program runs parallel to its pharmacy-based vaccine drive for residents between the ages of 55 and 65.
Drop-in service may also be an option at more than 150 participating pharmacies.
British Columbia moved to bump up its age-based vaccination plan by offering Oxford-AstraZeneca shots to Lower Mainland residents between the ages of 55 and 65.
The move came after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a pause on use of the same vaccine for anyone under 55 on the advice of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization over concerns about rare blood clots.
Nunavut has opened vaccinations to anyone 18 and older.
The territory expects to finish its vaccine rollout of first and second doses by the end of April.
The Northwest Territories is also providing vaccine to those 18 and older and expects to finish its rollout by the end of April.
Yukon said it would receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March.
Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots.
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