The COVID Vaccine Rollout in Canada

Gabrielle Busque

January 14, 2021

Two COVID vaccines have been approved in Canada so far, and others are being reviewed by Health Canada. So who will be eligible to get vaccinated and when? Find the details on the COVID vaccine rollout for each province here.

In Canada, the provincial governments are the ultimate authority responsible for planning and managing the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines. Each province's rollout strategy has integrated guidance from Canada's COVID-19 Immunization Plan, a document which provides an overarching framework for the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, including the priority groups identified by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). The details of each province's rollout strategy are outlined below.

This information is rapidly evolving, and this document will be updated regularly.

Last updated: January 14, 2021

Ontario

Phases & Priority Groups 

  • Phase 1: long term care and retirement home residents, essential caregivers, staff of congregate care settings for seniors, healthcare workers, adults in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations, adult recipients of chronic home health care
  • Phase 2: seniors over the age of 80, decreasing the age eligibility marker by five years over the course of the vaccine rollout; those living and working in high-risk congregate settings; essential workers, beginning with front-line essential workers (e.g. first responders); individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers; other populations and communities facing barriers related to the determinants of health who are at a greater COVID-19 risk
  • Phase 3: general public

*Pregnant and breastfeeding women in priority groups now eligible


Timing of the Phases

  • Phase 1: early 2021
  • Phase 2: April 2021; pharmacies to be involved in distribution
  • Phase 3: projected August 2021

Ontario has pledged to vaccinate all residents, health-care workers and essential caregivers at long-term care homes in the hardest hit regions of Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex by January 21, 2021 but has not set a deadline for the rest of the province.

Handling of Vaccine Supply

Additional Sources: 

Alberta

Phases & Priority Groups 

  • Early Phase 1: healthcare workers in intensive care, respiratory therapists, staff in long term care and supported living facilities
  • Phase 1A: same as Early Phase 1 plus ER department workers, home care workers, healthcare workers in medical, surgical and covid-19 units, paramedics and emergency medical technicians, long term care residents
  • Phase 1B: all seniors 75 and over, Metis, First Nations peoples, and persons 65 years or older living in a first nations or Metis community settlement
  • Phase 2: details pending; frontline healthcare workers will be included
  • Phase 3: general public 


Timing of the Phases

  • Early Phase 1: December 2020
  • Phase 1A: January 2021
  • Phase 1B: February 2021
  • Phase 2: April - September 2021 
  • Phase 3: Summer - Fall 2021

Immunization online booking tool for phase 1a groups now in service

Handling of Vaccine Supply

Additional Sources: 

Saskatchewan

Phases & Priority Groups 

  • Phase 1: long term care and personal care home residents and staff; healthcare workers in EDs, ICUs, COVID-19 wards, and COVID-19 testing and staff; residents 80+, followed by 79-75, and 74-70 in all communities; residents over the age of 50 living in remote/Northern SK 
  • Phase 2: general public 


Timing of the Phases

  • Pilot: December 15, 2020
  • Phase 1: late December, 2020
  • Phase 2: April 2021 

Handling of Vaccine Supply

Additional Sources: 



British Columbia

Phases & Priority Groups 

  • First priority groups: long term care residents and staff; individuals awaiting a long term care placement; health-care facility staff for COVID-19 patients in settings like ICUs, COVID-19 wards, emergency departments, and paramedics; indigenous people living in rural or remote communities
  • Second priority groups: community based seniors 80 and above, indigenous seniors 65 and above, homeless and/or in a homeless shelter, provincial correctional facilities, adults in group homes and mental health residential care, long term home support recipients and staff, hospital staff, community general practitioners and medical specialists, other indigenous communities not vaccinated in 1st priority group
  • After priority groups are vaccinated, an age distribution strategy with descending 5 year cohorts will be vaccinated


Timing of the Phases

  • First priority: December 2020 to February 2021
  • Second priority: February to March 2021
  • Vaccination of general population following vaccination of all priority groups: speculated to begin in March 

Handling of Vaccine Supply

Additional Sources: 



Nova Scotia

Phases & Priority Groups 

  • Phase 1: front-line healthcare workers who are closely involved in the COVID-19 response (more likely to be exposed to COVID-19), long-term care residents and staff, older Nova Scotians in the community who are 80 and over, older Nova Scotians in the community who are 75 to 79, residential care staff and residents, health-care workers such as physicians, paramedics and home-care workers whose work involves direct contact with patients
  • Phase 2: healthcare workers and essential workers 
  • Phase 3: general public 


Timing of the Phases

  • Phase 1: January to April 2021
  • Phase 2: Beginning in May 2021
  • Phase 3: projected Summer 2021

Handling of Vaccine Supply

Additional Sources: 

New Brunswick

Phases & Priority Groups 

  • Phase 1: long term care residents and staff, health care workers with direct patient contact, older New Brunswickers (age not specified), adults in First Nations communities 
  • Phase 2: residents and staff of other communal settings (e.g. correctional centers, homeless shelters), other healthcare workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure (e.g power, water, sewer)
  • Phase 3: general public 


Timing of the Phases

  • Phase 1: December 2020 to March 2021
  • Phase 2: Spring 2021 
  • Phase 3: Spring or Summer 2021 

Handling of Vaccine Supply

Sources: 


Manitoba

Priority Groups 

  • health care workers directly involved in the COVID-19 response
  • seniors in long-term care facilities
  • adults aged 80 or more
  • adults at risk in remote or isolated Indigenous communities

Current Eligibility Criteria

As of January 14, 2021: 

  • work in critical care units (intensive care units only, no age restrictions);
  • work in long-term care facilities, born on or before Dec. 31, 1975;
  • work in acute care facilities, born on or before Dec. 31, 1975;
  • assigned to a COVID-19 immunization clinic or designated COVID-19 testing site (no age restrictions and may include some individuals who do not have direct contact with patients, based on their role);
  • work in a laboratory handling COVID-19 specimens (no age restrictions and may include some individuals who do not have direct contact with patients, based on their role);
  • work on a designated COVID-19 hospital ward (no age restrictions);
  • work in provincial or federal correctional facilities (no age restrictions), and;
  • Emergency response services (ERS) and specialty patient transportation workers registered with their applicable college or association in Manitoba, born on or before December 31, 1975. This group includes professionals who perform ERS and patient transportation by land and air such as paramedics, emergency medical responders, nurses and respiratory therapists
  • home care workers born on or before December 31, 1965 (changed from December 31, 1960) who are employed by a regional health authority (RHA), employed by a RHA contracted service providers or employed by a self- and family-managed care program client
  • work in hospital emergency and urgent care departments (no age restrictions), and;
  • staff employed in congregate group care settings who provide direct care to individuals in the Community Living disABILITY Services, Child and Family Services, Homeless Shelters and Family Violence Shelters. Manitoba Families will work directly with agencies to identify eligible staff, and will contact staff directly to schedule appointments

Updated regularly here


Timing of the Phases

  • First vaccinations: December 2020 
  • Expanded criteria: Early 2021 
  • General public: projected June 2021

Handling of Vaccine Supply

Additional Sources: 
  • https://manitoba.ca/asset_library/en/covid/vaccine_roll-out.pdf

Quebec

Priority Groups, in Order

  1. Vulnerable people and people with a significant loss of autonomy who live in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs) or in intermediate and family-type resources (RI‑RTFs).
  2. Workers in the health and social services network who have contact with users.
  3. Autonomous or semi-autonomous people who live in private seniors' homes (RPAs) or in certain closed residential facilities for older adults.
  4. Isolated and remote communities.
  5. People 80 years of age or older.
  6. People 70 to 79 years of age.
  7. People 60 to 69 years of age.
  8. Adults under 60 years of age who have a chronic disease or health problem that increases the risk of complications of COVID‑19.
  9. Adults under 60 years of age who do not have a chronic disease or health problem that increases the risk of complications, but who provide essential services and have contact with users.
  10. The rest of the adult population.
  11. and 12. Vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies on vaccine safety and efficacy in these people.


Timing of the Phases

  • Groups 1-6 are receiving first priority
  • Seniors 80+ scheduled for February
  • Seniors 70-79 scheduled for March
  • Teachers and first responders in the Spring
  • General population: projected Spring 2021 

Handling of Vaccine Supply

Additional Sources: 


Prince Edward Island

Phases & Priority Groups 

  • Phase 1: residents and staff of long-term and community care, health care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors 80 years of age and older, adults 18 years of age and older living in indigenous communities
  • Phase 2: anyone in priority groups remaining from Phase 1, health care workers not included in Phase 1, seniors 70 years of age and older, residents and staff of other residential or shared living facilities (e.g. group homes, residential care, shelters, corrections), truck drivers and other rotational workers, essential workers
  • Phase 3: general population 


Timing of the Phases

  • Phase 1: December 2020 to March 2021
  • Phase 2: April to June 2021 
  • Phase 3: Summer to Fall 2021

Handling of Vaccine Supply

  • Unclear


Sources: 

Newfoundland & Labrador

Phases & Priority Groups 

  • Phase 1: congregate living settings for seniors; health care workers at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, and those who are directly involved in the pandemic response; advanced age; and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities
  • Phase 2: health care workers not included in Phase One; residents and staff of all other congregate living settings; and essential workers
  • Phase 3: general public


Timing of the Phases

  • Phase 1: December 2020 to March 2021
  • Phase 2: April to June 2021
  • Phase 3: anticipated Fall 2021

Handling of Vaccine Supply

  • Unclear


Sources: 
  • https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/vaccine/prioritygroups/

Research by: Gabrielle Busque & Rocco Caggiano

Illustrations by: Gabrielle Busque

WRITTEN BY:

Gabrielle Busque

Gabrielle is a 4th year pharmacy student at the University of Toronto. At MedMe, Gabrielle is heavily involved in drug/medical information and design. She is passionate about optimizing the delivery of clinical services in pharmacies to advance patient care.

MedMe is a thought leader and software provider in pharmacy care

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