Vaccination coverage in Canada
Canada monitors vaccination coverage on a regular basis to:
- help improve vaccination programs
- learn how well people are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases
On this page
- Why getting vaccinated is important
- How we monitor vaccination coverage
- How we calculate the numbers for vaccination coverage
- Results from recent vaccination coverage surveys
- Supporting provincial and territorial immunization registries
Why getting vaccinated is important
When you're vaccinated, you build immunity (ability to resist infection). This protects you from getting the disease and prevents you spreading it to others. Some vaccines protect you for several years and some protect you for the rest of your life.
The more people who are vaccinated in the community, the lower the risk of infection for those who:
- can't be vaccinated
- are too young to receive vaccines (infants)
- developed only partial immunity from the vaccine
When you're vaccinated, you help to create community immunity, sometimes called herd immunity. You protect both yourself and those around you.
The more contagious a disease, the more we need high vaccination coverage to reach community immunity. For measles, the most contagious vaccine-preventable disease, we need coverage rates as high as 95%.
How we monitor vaccination coverage
We do a survey every 2 years to track coverage for all vaccines recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
How we calculate the numbers for vaccination coverage
We estimate the percentages of people vaccinated for vaccine-preventable diseases.
For example, to calculate vaccination coverage for pertussis (whooping cough) in 2-year-olds, we:
- divide the number of 2-year-old children who received the recommended 4 doses of pertussis vaccine before age 2 by the total number of children aged 2
- multiply the result by 100, to get the percentage
Results from recent vaccination coverage surveys
Childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey (cNICS)
cNICS measures coverage for all vaccines given to infants, children and teens every second year.
Adult National Immunization Coverage Survey (aNICS)
aNICS measured coverage for vaccines recommended for adults. As of 2018, it was merged into the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Coverage Survey.
Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Coverage Survey
The Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Coverage Survey measures coverage for the flu shot in adults every year. Every second year, it measures other adult vaccines as well.
- Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Coverage Survey 2018-2019
- Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Coverage Survey 2017-2018
- Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Coverage Survey 2016-2017
- Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Coverage Survey 2015-2016
Supporting provincial and territorial immunization registries
The Public Health Agency of Canada works with the provinces and territories to develop tools and best practices, so that they can best manage their vaccination programs. Most provinces and territories have an electronic immunization registry for their jurisdiction, in order to:
- identify children who are due or overdue for a vaccine
- provide health care professionals with a patient's up-to-date vaccination status
- measure immunization coverage and help assess immunization programs
Federal, provincial and territorial tools and best practices
- Functional Standards and Minimum (Core) Data Sets for a National Immunization Registry Network and Vaccine Associated Adverse Events Surveillance System (2002)
- National Standards for Immunization Coverage Assessment: Recommendations from the Canadian Immunization Registry Network
- National Eligible Due and Overdue Guidelines for Immunization Registries: Draft Recommendations from the Canadian Immunization Registry Network
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