As we enter the fall of 2023 COVID-19 Vaccination Update, Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination program continues progressing. Over 85% of Canadians are fully vaccinated with two doses and nearly half have gotten their bivalent booster shot. But where exactly does Canada stand with COVID vaccines and what’s coming up? Let’s take a look.
Current Vaccination Rates
As of November 2023, over 85% of the total Canadian population is fully vaccinated with at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. This gives Canada one of the highest vaccination rates globally. The uptake of boosters has been slower, with around 50% of Canadians having received three doses.
Bivalent Booster Rollout
In September 2022, Canada began the rollout of new Omicron-targeting “bivalent” mRNA boosters from Pfizer and Moderna. These updated boosters aim to provide broader protection, especially against newer Omicron variants. So far, over 5 million Canadians have received a bivalent booster dose.
Child and Infant Vaccination
COVID-19 vaccination was recently approved for children as young as 6 months old. Currently, over 60% of 5-11-year-olds have received at least one dose. Vaccination for the youngest age groups has started but remains low for now as eligibility has expanded fairly recently.
Future Needs and Planning
Canada has secured access to adapted vaccines to address variants that escape existing immunity in the future. Rollout plans for any newer boosters or shots will depend on clinical necessity as directed by public health guidance.
Continued tracking of breakthrough infections, new variants, and real-world data will guide Canada’s future COVID-19 vaccination policies. But for now, the focus remains on improving booster uptake among currently approved groups.
COVID-19 Vaccination for Hard-to-Reach Groups
While Canada excels at overall vaccine uptake, gaps remain for marginalized groups facing barriers to access, including rural, isolated and Indigenous communities. Addressing these gaps through targeted outreach and dismantling access barriers is key. Some jurisdictions are even delivering boosters via mobile clinics to harder-to-reach demographics. COVID-19 vaccination updates aimed at under-vaccinated communities strive to leave no eligible recipient behind, regardless of ethnicity, geography or socioeconomic status.
Looking Ahead at COVID-19 Vaccination
Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination landscape has seen incredible growth since the first doses were given two years ago. Over 85% of vaccine coverage demonstrates strong implementation by public health authorities. However, vaccination journeys vary greatly by age group and vulnerability. COVID-19 vaccination updates must respond to emerging science on virus evolution. Whether additional boosters or redesigned vaccines are warranted going forward remains under evaluation. Continuing to close existing vaccination gaps also remains central. While uncertainties exist, Canada’s adaptive vaccination policies continue to keep pace with this ever-changing virus.