COVID-19 vaccines for Defence Team members
All Defence Team members are encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
For more information about Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Government of Canada’s Vaccines for COVID-19 web page.
Vaccination will help keep Defence Team members and their families healthy. Vaccination will also help protect vulnerable Canadians, reduce the burden on our health care systems, and ensure that our Forces remain operationally ready to be called upon when needed.
On this page
- COVID-19 vaccines for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members
- COVID-19 vaccines for Public Service employees
- Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines
- CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination
- CAF posture on COVID-19 vaccines
- COVID-19’s effect on CAF operations
- CAF vaccination
- Additional doses
- What to expect at CAF immunization clinics
- Proof of Vaccination for CAF Members
The CAF has implemented the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination, starting on October 8, 2021, with an attestation period ending on October 29, 2021 and implementation of the mitigation measures starting on November 15, 2021. This Directive applies to all officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) posted to domestic locations, as well as those on expeditionary operations, exercises, temporary duty, or training outside of Canada. This includes the Regular Force, all Class A, B, and C Reserve Forces, Canadian Rangers, and the Officers of the Cadet Instructors Cadre. Additionally, the CAF COVID-19 Vaccination Policy will be a condition for enrolment into the CAF.
If you have not received at least a two-dose series of COVID immunization, we advise you to book your appointment as soon as possible. In the exceptional case that you are unable to be vaccinated due to a prohibited ground under the Canadian Human Rights Act, such as a medical contraindication, you may request accommodation.
Regardless of vaccination status, CAF members are required to confirm their vaccination status through a one-time attestation process using MCS – Monitor MASS. CAF members who do not have access to MCS – Monitor MASS, may provide to their supervisor written and signed attestation in paper format, which the supervisor will then ensure is properly entered into the appropriate attestation tracking system. For more information on how to complete your attestation in MCS – Monitor MASS, please consult the bilingual user guide (accessible only via the DWAN).
CAF members who are non-compliant with the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination due to being unwilling to disclose their vaccination status and/or who attest to not having received a two-dose series, who attest to not having received their first two doses, will participate in the mandatory virtual training on the Defence Learning Network (DLN) named “COVID-19 Vaccine Information for CAF 2021” and provide course certificates to their supervisors once completed. From November 15, 2021 and onwards, CAF members unwilling to comply with the directive may be subject to remedial or alternative administrative measures.
More information can be found in the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination, CDS Directive 002 on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination – Implementation of Accommodations and Administrative Action – Amendment 1, and the COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs web page.
2 Field Ambulance Medical Technician, Private Luis Penagos, receives his COVID-19 vaccination at Garrison Petawawa in January 2021.
The provision of health care for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members falls under the National Defence Act to keep members at the height of operational readiness. The Department of National Defence (DND) and the CAF have a responsibility to ensure that eligible military members receive health benefits and services comparable to those provided to other Canadians through provincial and territorial plans and under the Canada Health Act, but tailored to meet operational requirements and members' unique needs.
The CAF approach to COVID-19 immunization is grounded in advice from Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) guidelines and oversight by the Surgeon General of the CAF.
The virus is an ongoing problem in our communities and is a threat to our units and operations. Outbreaks within the CAF may lead to deployment and tasking cancellations, base/wing/camp lockdowns, and the isolation/quarantine of entire units/deployed sections.
This degrades the CAF’s ability to train and deploy our personnel. Vaccination throughout the Defence Team is vital to maintain operational readiness, and for the CAF to serve at the level expected by Canadians.
With the implementation of the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination, CAF members are required to have a minimum of two COVID vaccinations. The intent remains to protect the CAF, and protect others to maintain operational effectiveness as they serve Canada and Canadians at home and abroad. A third vaccination is strongly recommended for all eligible CAF members and is available through Canadian Forces Health Services.
Health Canada-approved mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is available to eligible CAF members from the Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) system through their supporting CAF medical clinic.
Class A and B (less than 180 days) Reserve members can receive their vaccination through their provincial/territorial system.
CFHS has monitored the COVID-19 variant situation very closely and continues to work with Canadian civilian public health agencies.
A third dose of the vaccine is strongly recommended for all CAF members and it is now available from CFHS. Those at higher risk and others such as front-line health care workers. Third doses of mRNA vaccines for all eligible CAF members and other eligible individuals was made available in early 2022.
CAF members will first be informed by a CFHS health care professional about the Health Canada-approved mRNA vaccine. They will then be asked for their consent prior to receiving their vaccination.
On the day of your appointment, you can expect to:
- Receive an information sheet that tells you about the vaccine that will be administered to you
- Have a discussion with the immuniser about your medical conditions and allergies
- Stay on-site for monitoring after vaccination
- Potentially experience mild side effects
Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have of the CFHS immunization team.
The following video provides CAF members with an overview of the immunization clinic process: What to expect at your COVID-19 vaccine appointment?
Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who receive a COVID-19 vaccination from the CAF are provided with proof of vaccination. Early in the pandemic, these were in the form of an entry in a vaccination booklet, a sheet of paper or card, but now it is more likely a digital “passport” with QR-Code. Vaccination details are also logged into the Canadian Forces Health Information System, the CAF electronic health information management system where members’ health records are stored.
Paper or Booklet Immunization Record
The record of vaccination in the Canadian Forces Health Information System (CFHIS) is an official record of immunization and the means by which the digital proof is issued. The digital PVC is currently the primary method of documenting vaccination status for most members. However, there may still be circumstances in which a member will have their immunization recorded in a vaccination booklet or other document provided to members at the time they are vaccinated. These booklets or cards can be used when asked to prove their vaccination status. Public health officials in all Canadian jurisdictions are aware of the appearance of the CAF member’s proof of vaccination.
The authenticity of these documents can be confirmed by comparing them against the following samples, and verifying that the name and service number on the document matches those on the individual’s military identification card.
Military identification card
Two examples of a military identification card that includes name and service number.
A Travel Immunization Record booklet that includes name, Service number, and vaccination details.
International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis
An International Certificate of Vaccination or that includes name, Service number, and vaccination details.
Immunization record (sheet)
An immunization record sheet that includes name, Service number, and vaccination details.
Immunization record (card)
An immunization record card that includes name, Service number, and vaccination details.
Members who are eligible for health care from their province or territory, but received their vaccination from the CAF (such as Reserve Force members), should check with their civilian system or P/T health units to see how vaccines from the CAF can be added to their civilian records.
National Standard Proof of Vaccination (QR code)
The national standardized proof of vaccination credential (PVC) was developed by the Government of Canada in partnership with jurisdictions across the country, including the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). This digital PVC is a proof of vaccination that meets national and international standards and will make it easier for CAF members to prove their vaccination status during international travel and when returning to Canada. It can also be used wherever a proof of vaccination is needed, such as domestic travel and to access non-essential services where vaccination is necessary.
The CAF PVC is issued by email to vaccinated CAF members. Others for whom the CAF maintained vaccination records, such as many of the dependents accompanying CAF members outside of Canada, may also request it.
Distribution of the digital PVC to CAF members started on 29 October 2021. The PVC is automatically sent to members’ Defence Wide Area Network (DWAN) and Enterprise Cloud Network (ECN) email addresses. The PVC is automatically generated and sent to members each time their medical record indicates they received a COVID-19 vaccination from the CAF (or registered a non CFHS vaccination with the supporting Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) health clinic). For example, after receiving the third COVID vaccination the member will be e-mailed a new updated digital PVC, often within a few hours of their immunization.
After the PVC is received by email, it can be forwarded to a personal email address so it can be kept on one’s phone, a screenshot can be taken, or it can be printed as needed. (See this link for details: FAQ: National Proof of Vaccine Credentials (PVC) for CAF members - Canada.ca)
If you have access to DWAN or ECN and have had at least one COVID-19 vaccination but have not yet received your PVC, please contact CFHISHelpdesk@forces.gc.ca.
If you don’t have access to DWAN or ECN, the PVC will be automatically created and kept as a file in your medical record. Members (or dependents accompanying members on OUTCAN posting) who do not have access to DWAN or ECN e-mail may request to have the PVC sent to a civilian e-mail address via a manual process. Please contact your supporting CFHS health clinic, or send an email to RDT-DM@forces.gc.ca. The identity of the person requesting that a digital PVC be sent to a civilian address will need to be verified, typically by cross referencing with the vaccination data already on file (SN, name, date of birth, date and type of vaccinations on file).
If you received your vaccine(s) from another provider, such as a civilian health care facility, you must bring that information to a CFHS health clinic so that it can be entered in your health record; otherwise, a valid PVC cannot be created for you. Your CFHS health clinic may contact the outside provider to verify the details in order to ensure your vaccine record is accurate.
Regular Force members are advised to use the CAF issued PVC whenever proof of vaccination is required. Reg F CAF members (those without provincial or territorial health care cards) should refrain from asking their provincial or territorial system for a proof of vaccination unless that province/territory have indicated that they are providing proof of vaccination to CAF members.
Please refer to these FAQs for more details:
On 14 June 2022, the Government of Canada announced that it is suspending the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for federal employees, including contractors and supplier personnel accessing federal government workplaces.
As of 20 June, 2022, employees who were subject to administrative leave without pay (LWOP), as a result of the vaccination policy, may resume regular work duties with pay. Accommodation measures that were put in place as a result of the vaccination policy, including consideration of outstanding requests, will end.
The policy required that DND employees complete an attestation in the Government of Canada’s Vaccine Attestation Tracking System (GC-VATS) by October 29, 2021. Public servants who did not attest to their vaccination status, or were unwilling to be vaccinated, were placed on administrative leave without pay as of November 15, 2021. Even though the policy is suspended, identified managers and employees will still be required to complete the verification and audit process to ensure follow-through on the obligations of the Policy, confidence in the validity of the attestations, and equity amongst employees.
Vaccination continues to be one of the most effective tools to protect Canadians, including younger Canadians, our health care system and our economy. Nearly 90% of eligible Canadians have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and rates of case counts, hospitalization and deaths are decreasing. To keep the cases down, everyone in Canada needs to keep up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses to get ready for the fall.
The government will continue to closely monitor domestic and international scientific evidence to assess the need for additional public health measures, including the possible reintroduction of vaccination mandates.
DND employees who are not already fully vaccinated are advised to book their appointment through their provincial or territorial health system provider as soon as possible. DND Public Service employees and Reserve Force personnel, including Canadian Rangers and Cadet Instructors Cadre, can access their COVID-19 vaccine through their provincial and territorial health care providers.
For Public Service employees who secure an appointment for the vaccine during the work day, leave with pay for medical/dental appointments should be used. Even if you have to schedule two appointments, one for the first dose and one for the second dose, rest assured, this does not meet the threshold for “recurring” appointments, and employees do not need to use their sick leave.
For information on the vaccination rollout plans in the provinces or territories, please refer to the provincial or territorial websites:
A young woman receives a COVID-19 vaccination.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Government of Canada’s Vaccines for COVID-19
- Vaccines for COVID-19: Authorized vaccines (Government of Canada)
Defence Team specific information
- Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 vaccines for the Defence Team
- CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination
- CANFORGEN 149/21 (accessible only via the DWAN)
- National Defence Business Resumption
- COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the federal workforce (Maple Leaf, October 8, 2021)
- DM-A/CDS Message: COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the federal workforce (Maple Leaf, October 7, 2021)
- Government announces it intends to require vaccination for public servants (August 17, 2021)
- DT News interview: MGen Marc Bilodeau, CAF Surgeon General on the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine (April 13, 2021)
- Surgeon General’s message on the COVID-19 vaccine (Maple Leaf, April 7, 2021)
- Guns Out: Vaccine Doses for CAF Personnel (Maple Leaf, January 20, 2021)
- Surgeon General CAF Vaccine Rollout Message (Maple Leaf, January 6, 2021)
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