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Vaccines in Canada

Today, more people benefit from effective vaccines to prevent infectious diseases than ever before. Vaccines provide essential health benefits at all ages, from maternal and infant populations to seniors. There is, however, still work to do.

In Canada, immunization programming is a shared responsibility between federal, provincial and territorial governments. Provincial and territorial governments, along with local public health authorities, undertake the planning and delivery of immunization programming.1 Although provinces and territories have a comprehensive publicly funded immunization program, a number of vaccines approved and recommended for use in Canada are not publicly covered.2 These vaccines are known as recommended but unfunded vaccines, or RUVs.2 In Canada physicians are required to let patients know about the risks and benefits of all recommended vaccines, publicly funded or not.2

It is your right and responsibility to be informed about vaccines that are approved and available for use in Canada. Speak with your healthcare provider to learn more and make an informed choice for you and your family.

Vaccines have the potential to offer Canadians benefits at different ages and stages, helping to protect them throughout their entire lives.

Fast Facts on Immunization in Canada
  • While there has been decades of Canadian innovation and a steady drive to eliminate certain preventable diseases, immunization rates among Canadians are lower today than they were a decade ago:

    • The WHO listed “Vaccine Hesitancy” as one of the Top Ten Threats to global health in 2019.3

    • Canada has recently seen outbreaks of measles, one of the most highly contagious viruses, in both children and adults particularly in British Columbia where the concentration of vaccine-hesitant parents is highest.4

    • In 2017, 90% of two-year-olds in Canada had received at least one dose of the measles vaccine. Experts say a rate of 95% is needed to establish population protection.5,6,7

    • Vaccine-preventable diseases remain a public health concern in Canada, and as a country, while vaccination coverage rates are good, we have yet to meet any of the current national vaccination coverage goals.8

  • Reduced vaccination rates among Canadians can be a particularly dangerous risk to specific portions of the population, especially babies, the elderly, and in people with weakened immune systems.

In a 2016 survey, 88% of Canadian adults believed they were up-to-date on their vaccinations, but only 3% reported having received the correct number of vaccines for their age/risk group.9 Results from a 2017 survey of children’s vaccination rates showed that a majority of children had received the recommended vaccines by two years of age, but that the vaccination rates did not meet Canada’s coverage goal of 95%.5 Speak with your health care provider to know if you and your family are up-to-date with your vaccinations, or if you have any questions about vaccines.

ResourcesAreas of Focus

Pfizer’s Research & Development for vaccines has an ongoing focus on the prevention of pneumococcal disease in adults. Pfizer is also dedicated to advancing vaccines for other pediatric, adolescent and adult infections, of which some can be potentially deadly, like meningococcal disease. Pfizer also sponsors the most comprehensive global anti-microbial resistance (AMR) surveillance program.10

Driving Vaccine Development

Global Legacy

Pfizer is proud to partner with Gavi, a global Vaccine Alliance, to deliver vaccines to babies in developing countries, protecting more than 20 million babies. Pfizer is helping to support Gavi’s goal of immunizing an additional 300 million of the world’s poorest children against life-threatening diseases by 2020.


  1. Government of Canada. Canadian Immunization Guide. Available at Last accessed June 2019.

  2. Scheifele DW, et al. Approved but non-funded vaccines: Accessing individual protection. Vaccine (2014), Available at Last accessed October 2019.

  3. World Health Organization. Ten threats to global health in 2019. Available at Last accessed July 2019.

  4. Health Canada. Survey for the Development of the Childhood Vaccination Campaign. Available at Last accessed July 2019.

  5. Public Health Agency of Canada. Preliminary results from the 2017 childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey (cNICS). Available at: Last accessed July 2019.

  6. Government of Canada. Measles vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide. Available at Last accessed August 2019.

  7. Government of Canada. Vaccine Coverage in Canadian Children. Available at Last accessed August 2019.

  8. Government of Canada. Vaccine Preventable Disease Surveillance Report to December 31, 2015. Available at Last accessed June 2019

  9. Government of Canada. Vaccine uptake in Canadian adults: Highlights from the 2016 adult National Immunization Coverage Survey (aNICS). Available at: Last accessed July 2019.

  10. Pfizer Fact Sheet. Prevenar 13 At-A-Glance: Supporting the Fight Against AMR Worldwide.

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