Government of Canada funds two new projects to encourage vaccine uptake in Canada

News release

April 29, 2021 | Ottawa, Ontario | Public Health Agency of Canada

As we continue to roll out COVID-19 vaccines across the country, the Government of Canada is committed to addressing and reducing barriers to vaccination.

Today, during National Immunization Awareness Week, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced an investment of $2.25 million through the Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF) for two projects to support vaccination efforts. These projects will support vaccine uptake by ensuring Canadians have access to credible information on vaccination, as well as equipping healthcare providers and Canadians with proven strategies to manage pain and fear during vaccination.

The Canadian Association of Science Centres, in partnership with COVID-19 Resources Canada and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta, have created ScienceUpFirst, a project to address misinformation in Canada by giving Canadians the tools to spread science-based information about COVID-19 and vaccines. Drawing on a network of scientists, healthcare providers, and science communicators, this national initiative aims to debunk misinformation with credible COVID-19 facts, as well as reach vulnerable populations with culturally relevant and scientifically accurate COVID-19 information.

We are also supporting the University of Toronto’s CARD (C-Comfort, A-Ask, R-Relax, D-Distract) System project, which addresses fear of needles among adults through pain management. Using proven best practices, this initiative will design and implement pain mitigation strategies for adults during vaccination to reduce their fears and encourage them to get vaccinated. The information and strategies developed through this project will be shared among health care networks, and the general public, to help people feel more comfortable when it’s their turn to get vaccinated.  

The Government of Canada is working closely with experts, provinces and territories, and other partners to better understand what barriers Canadians may face to getting vaccinated, and to encourage vaccine confidence. The IPF is one way we are reaching Canadians, through community mobilization, public outreach, and communications efforts across Canada to support Canadians in making informed choices on vaccination. When we get vaccinated, we protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities against COVID-19.


“This year’s National Immunization Awareness Week comes at a critical stage in Canada’s COVID-19 response. The vaccines we have in Canada are safe and effective, and I encourage everyone to get vaccinated when it is your turn. This funding will help trusted leaders within the science and healthcare communities share credible information on vaccines, and address barriers people face in getting vaccinated.” 

The Honourable Patty Hajdu 
Minister of Health

“National Immunization Awareness Week is an opportunity to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated and this includes COVID-19 vaccination. The projects funded through the Immunization Partnership Fund aim to address barriers that can delay or discourage people from getting vaccinated. Through projects like these, we are working to build confidence and make COVID-19 vaccines accessible for everyone in Canada.”

Dr. Theresa Tam 
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

"Some of the communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are also our most underserved and vulnerable communities. ScienceUpFirst is working closely with communities so they can access culturally relevant, scientifically accurate, and expertly vetted information. We want everyone to be able to protect themselves and their loved ones with evidence-informed decisions.”

Krishana Sankar, PhD 
Community Partnerships Lead and Science Advisor for ScienceUpFirst 

"The spread of misinformation does real harm. It is having, for example, an adverse impact on vaccine uptake and on the adoption of preventative public health strategies. It is also fueling fears and polarized public discourse. With ScienceUpFirst, we are countering misinformation on social media with proven strategies: humour, creativity, empathy, and the best available scientific evidence."

Timothy Caulfield, LLM, FRSC, FCAHS 
Canada Research Chair in Health Law & Policy
Professor, Faculty of Law and School of Public Health
Research Director, Health Law Institute, University of Alberta

“We can help people feel more comfortable with getting vaccinated. CARD - Comfort, Ask questions, Relax, and Distract - is a tool that helps people to identify sources of fear or anxiety around getting needles and ways to reduce them. By inviting people to choose what suits their needs and preferences, we can improve their experiences and promote confidence in vaccination. This can increase vaccine uptake.”

Dr. Anna Taddio, Full Professor Leslie Dan
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto

Quick facts

  • The IPF supports projects that improve access to vaccinations and encourage vaccine acceptance and uptake. In 2020, as a response to Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts and building on the early momentum of the IPF, the Government of Canada invested an additional $64 million for projects aimed at increasing vaccine confidence in Canada and to help provincial and territorial governments enhance their electronic vaccination registries.

  • Through the IPF, the Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC) is receiving $1,749,578 for their project ScienceUpFirst and the University of Toronto is receiving $499,792 for their project CARD (C-Comfort, A-Ask, R-Relax, D-Distract) System.

  • National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW) is observed each year to highlight and recognize the importance of immunization. Canada’s NIAW coincides with Vaccination Week in the Americas and World Immunization Week. This year, NIAW takes place from April 24 to 30, 2021.

  • ScienceUpFirst is celebrating National Immunization Awareness Week, Vaccination Week in the Americas, and World Immunization Week with a social media campaign featuring trusted healthcare workers across Canada answering COVID-19 vaccine questions. Follow along with the hashtags #ScienceUpFirst and #VaccinesWork.

Associated links


Cole Davidson
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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