Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Statement on Preliminary Guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on Key Populations for Early COVID-19 Vaccination


November 3, 2020 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada

"Canadians have sacrificed much in the months since the pandemic first began. We have come together to protect one another and allow scientists and researchers the time it takes to develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

Although there is no approved COVID-19 vaccine at this time, we remain cautiously optimistic that safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will be available in the first quarter of 2021, bringing us one step closer to the widespread and long-term management of COVID-19. Canada is recognized around the world for its high standards for drug and vaccine regulatory review, approvals and monitoring systems. As we prepare on all fronts to secure access and roll out vaccines to every Canadian who wants one, safety remains our top priority.

It is also important for everyone to know that there will be a limited supply of vaccine at first, though supply will continually increase over time. Federal, provincial and territorial governments will have to make important decisions on how to use the initial vaccine supply to protect high-risk populations and those who help keep our pandemic response, society and economy running. Throughout this pandemic, we have seen people come together to protect those most at risk. We know Canadians will understand the need to prioritize some groups during the early weeks of COVID-19 vaccine roll-out until there is enough vaccine for everyone who wants it.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is a long-standing expert advisory group that provides independent guidance and recommendations to inform these kinds of tough decisions on the use of vaccines in Canada. Today, NACI provided the government and Canadians with their best thinking and recommendations on key populations for early COVID-19 vaccination. The guidance they provided to the Public Health Agency of Canada is published on and a summary has also been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal today.

The Government of Canada is doing everything possible to give Canadians access to safe and effective vaccines. There is still a long road ahead. Preliminary guidance on key populations for early COVID-19 vaccination is just the starting point. Clinical trials need to continue, Health Canada still needs to approve vaccines and we will be receiving additional advice on prioritization based on the characteristics of the vaccines deemed safe and effective for Canadians.

I remain committed to keeping Canadians informed and to sharing everything I know on the science of vaccinations as new information becomes available."

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