Government of Canada Announces pan-Canadian Vaccine Injury Support Program
December 10, 2020 - Ottawa, ON - Public Health Agency of Canada
We as Canadians pride ourselves on our commitment to each other. By getting vaccinated, we protect one another and our way of life. Vaccines are safe, effective and one of the best ways to prevent serious illness like COVID-19.
Vaccines are only approved in Canada after thorough and independent review of the scientific evidence. They are also closely monitored once on the market and can quickly be removed from market if safety concerns are identified. Notwithstanding the rigour of clinical trials and excellence in vaccine delivery, a small number of Canadians may experience an adverse event following immunization, caused by vaccines or their administration.
Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects and reactions. After being vaccinated, it's common to have mild and harmless side effects — this is the body's natural response, as it's working to build immunity against a disease. However, it is also possible for someone to have a serious adverse reaction to a vaccine. The chances of this are extremely rare — less than one in a million — and we have a duty to help if this occurs.
It is for this reason that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is implementing a pan-Canadian no-fault vaccine injury support program for all Health Canada approved vaccines, in collaboration with provinces and territories. Building on the model in place in Québec for over 30 years, the program will ensure that all Canadians have to have fair access to support in the rare event that they experience an adverse reaction to a vaccine. This program will also bring Canada in line with its G7 counterparts with similar programs, and ensure the country remains competitive in accessing new vaccines as they become available.
“Our publicly funded health care system is a source of pride, and this program will make it even better. Canadians can have confidence in the rigour of the vaccine approvals system, however, in the rare event that a person experiences an adverse reaction, this program will help ensure they get the support they need. I will work with my provincial and territorial counterparts to set this program in place quickly.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
Serious adverse reactions to vaccines are extremely rare. They happen less than one time in a million.
Once a vaccine is in use, Canada has a strong vaccine safety monitoring system that involves healthcare professionals, vaccine manufacturers, the provinces and territories, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Health Canada, to alert public health authorities of changing trends or unusual adverse events that were not previously reported.
Over 20 countries around the world have national vaccine injury support programs, including all other G7 countries.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada
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