Health Status of Canadians 2016: Report of the Chief Public Health Officer - What is influencing our health? - Immunization

What is influencing our health?

Immunization

In 2013, 90% of two year old children had received one dose for measles and 77% had received the recommended four doses of vaccine against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus (the DPT vaccine).Footnote 1 Among seven-year olds, 86% had received the recommended two doses of measles-containing vaccine and 71% had received five doses of the DPT vaccine.Footnote 1

Immunization is one of the greatest public health successes. High immunization rates are important for preventing disease, particularly in those who are most vulnerable such as the very old and the very young.Footnote 1 Analysing data on immunization coverage in Canada is challenging because there are large differences in how data are collected.Footnote 2 To date, immunization data represent a best available estimate.

Did you know?

In 2014, 80% of Canadian adults believed that they have received all of the vaccines required for someone their age, but only 6% had the recommended number of pertussis and tetanus vaccine doses in adulthood.Footnote 3

Over time

The proportion of children being vaccinated has remained below national immunization coverage goals of 97% by aged two (see Figure 1)Footnote 1.

Figure 1: Percent of children being vaccinated, 2006-2013Footnote 1

a) Measles vaccine

Figure 1
Text Equivalent

Two bar graphs showing the percent of children two and seven years of age who were vaccinated with the measles and diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus (DPT) vaccine in years 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013. The methods used to estimate immunization coverage have improved over time. Because of significant changes beginning in 2011, data over time are not directly comparable.

Two year olds

  • 2006 = 84%
  • 2009 = 76%
  • 2011 = 88.4%
  • 2013 = 89.7%

Seven year olds

  • 2006 = 73%
  • 2009 = 68%
  • 2011 = 78.8%
  • 2013 = 85.7%

b) DPT vaccine

Figure 1
Text Equivalent

Two bar graphs showing the percent of children two and seven years of age who were vaccinated with the measles and diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus (DPT) vaccine in years 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013. The methods used to estimate immunization coverage have improved over time. Because of significant changes beginning in 2011, data over time are not directly comparable.

Two year olds

  • 2006 = 63%
  • 2009 = 52%
  • 2011 = 71.2%
  • 2013 = 76.6%

Seven year olds

  • 2006 = 63%
  • 2009 = 49%
  • 2011 = 67.8%
  • 2013 = 71%

The methods used to estimate immunization coverage have improved over time. Because of significant changes beginning in 2011, data over time are not directly comparable.

By income

National data on immunization rates by income are not available.

Indigenous populations

Immunization data have not been reported at a national level for Indigenous populations. Data from program evaluations for Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch from 2008 to 2012 suggest that at least 80% of First Nations two year old children living on reserve received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in most regions. In First Nations communities, use of this vaccine appears to be increasing.Footnote 5

International comparison

In 2015, Canada had the lowest proportion of one year olds vaccinated for DPT among G7 countries (see Figure 2)Footnote 6. Vaccination schedules, namely at what age children get vaccinated, differ across and within countries, making it challenging to compare data on immunization.

Figure 2: Percent of one year olds being vaccinated in G7 countries, 1990 and 2015Footnote 6

a) Measles vaccine

Figure 2
Text Equivalent

Two bar graphs showing the percent of one year olds who were vaccinated with the measles and diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus (DPT) vaccine in 1990 and 2015 in G7 countries.

1990

  • Italy = 43%
  • France = 71%
  • United States = 90%
  • United Kingdom = 87%
  • Canada = 89%
  • Germany = 76%
  • Japan = 73%

2015

  • Italy = 85%
  • France = 91%
  • United States = 92%
  • United Kingdom = 95%
  • Canada = 90%
  • Germany = 97%
  • Japan = 96%

b) DPT vaccine

Figure 2
Text Equivalent Two bar graphs showing the percent of one year olds who were vaccinated with the measles and diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus (DPT) vaccine in 1990 and 2015 in G7 countries.

1990

  • Italy = 83%
  • United States = 90%
  • United Kingdom = 84%
  • Canada = 88%
  • Japan = 90%
  • France = 94%
  • Germany = 54%

2015

  • Italy = 93%
  • France = 98%
  • United States = 95%
  • United Kingdom = 96%
  • Canada = 91%
  • Germany = 96%
  • Japan = 96%

Notes to the reader

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada regularly collects data and monitors immunization coverage in children aged 2, 7 and 17 years, and in girls aged 12-14 years (to assess HPV coverage) by vaccine antigen through the childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey (cNICS). Data from First Nations on reserve are not collected as part of this survey. Starting in 2011, Statistics Canada has been conducting the cNICS on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada using a representative sampling method. Data are collected from immunization records held by parents. With parental consent, information is also obtained from health care providers.
  • Adult immunization coverage is assessed every two years by the adult National Immunization Coverage survey. Canadians aged 18 years and older are asked about their vaccination history in adulthood.
  • Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch collects information on immunization coverage through annual community-based reporting to its regional offices.
  • Indigenous populations consist of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
  • G7 countries include seven of the world's industrialized countries, namely the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada, that form an informal discussion group and economic partnership.
  • Across G7 countries, childhood vaccination coverage reflects the proportion of children who received a vaccination in the recommended timeframe. Recommended ages for vaccination differ across countries due to different immunization schedules.

For more information on immunization, please see:

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Privacy statement

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: