Continue the fight against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated


2 Field Ambulance Medical Technician, Private Luis Penagos receives his COVID-19 vaccination at Garrison Petawawa on January 7, 2021.

April 9, 2021 -  Defence Stories

On March 11, 2021, Canada commemorated victims of COVID-19 one full year after the pandemic was declared. Throughout these difficult times, Canadians have shown tremendous courage, perseverance and compassion, and continue to do so each and every day. Moving forward, the most important thing we can do to stop the spread of this deadly virus is getting a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available to us.

Though the fight against COVID-19 still continues, thanks to a newly confirmed vaccine delivery timeline, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines against COVID-19 can greatly reduce serious illness and deaths related to the infection. Canada has begun to receive and administer Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines, and is on track to receive a total of 36.5 million doses by July. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) began administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in early January 2021 in accordance with the COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Framework. Under this framework, CAF members will fall within one of five priority groups, beginning with frontline health care providers who work in higher-risk clinical settings and members who have health conditions that make them vulnerable to severe forms of COVID-19 (first priority group). The CAF will receive additional doses in the coming weeks to administer to eligible members in priority groups two to five. It is expected that members in all priority groups will be offered the vaccine sometime between April and August 2021, with the goal of vaccinating as many CAF personnel as possible with both doses of the vaccine in that timeframe.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have been urging everyone to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and continue to protect ourselves, our families, and those around us. Now, doing your part means getting a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available to you. We strongly encourage all Defence Team members to receive any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. They are all effective at reducing the symptoms and severity of COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine will not only help keep Defence Team members and their families healthy, it will also protect vulnerable Canadians, reduce the burden on our health-care systems and ensure our force remains operationally ready to be called upon when needed.

All Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines are effective at reducing the symptoms and severity of COVID-19. For more information about Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Government of Canada’s Vaccines for COVID-19 web page.

Key facts about Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines:

For Regular Force members and full-time Reservists (>180 days): Clinics will be organized through Canadian Forces Health Services in the coming weeks and months as vaccine becomes available. Clinics will adhere to COVID-19 public health measures when administering COVID-19 vaccines. More information regarding your local clinic will be released by your Canadian Forces Health Services Centre. It is expected that members in all priority groups will be offered the vaccine sometime between April and August 2021, with the goal of vaccinating as many CAF personnel as possible with both doses of the vaccine in that timeframe.

OUTCAN members and their families: The CAF is responsible to ensure every one of its members has the opportunity to receive a Health Canada-approved vaccine no matter where they are in the world. Efforts are well underway to ensure that each and every deployed member, and posted members and their families (where required) have access to those vaccines. To support our efforts, the DND/CAF has coordinated with and authorized some Host Nation and coalition medical authorities to offer Health Canada-approved vaccines from their own national allocations. Some members (and their dependents where required) may be able to receive vaccinations from host nations, while others will receive vaccination in Canada prior to departure. As of right now, most deployed CAF members and those posted outside of Canada will have not yet received a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccines from the initial allocation received by CAF. Planning efforts are underway to ensure that CAF members deployed or posted outside of Canada, as well as their dependents are able to access a Health Canada approved vaccine. New rotations of deploying members, and those preparing for postings OUTCAN are expected to receive vaccines prior to their departure date.

Public Service Employees, Class A and Class B reservists (<180 days) and CAF family members: The vast majority of you will be able to access the COVID-19 vaccine through your provincial/territorial health care system as it becomes available in your area. There may be operational circumstances that allow the CAF to provide you with COVID-19 vaccination on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with CAF priorities and vaccine availability.

Do your part and continue the fight against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated. Together, we can end this pandemic.

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