Supply and Distribution of Influenza Vaccine in Canada

Every year, each federal, provincial and territorial jurisdiction estimates how much influenza vaccine it will need to order for the next influenza season based on past experience, the influenza season forecast, and the requirements of its immunization programs.

The Government of Canada, through Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), has established long-term contracts with manufacturers that provincial and territorial governments use to purchase influenza vaccine. Influenza vaccines are then made available at public health clinics and doctor's offices, in accordance with provincial and territorial influenza immunization programs. In some jurisdictions influenza vaccines are also available at local pharmacies.

What is the Public Health Agency's role in the supply of influenza vaccine?

The Public Health Agency of Canada (the Agency) assists in coordinating and overseeing the distribution of influenza vaccines for public programs, in collaboration with PSPC, Health Canada, the manufacturers, and federal, provincial and territorial partners. Federal, provincial and territorial health authorities work together to address matters of vaccine supply and distribution. Specific activities include sourcing quality vaccine supply at the best prices, making recommendations on contracts, monitoring supply and prices, and identifying groups at risk for whom vaccine programs should be targeted.

The Agency does not distribute influenza vaccines or decide how much provincial and territorial governments purchase for their populations.

What happens if there are vaccine supply or demand issues?

The Agency works closely with provincial and territorial health authorities to help prevent any gaps in supply. On rare occasions when vaccine supply falls short of actual demand, the Agency works with other jurisdictions to address these gaps as quickly as possible.

Specifically, the Agency works to prevent and address any vaccine supply gaps by:

  • coordinating supply exchanges between provinces and territories;
  • seeking additional supply from manufacturers; and
  • coordinating bulk contracting with PSPC to reduce costs for additional vaccine purchases.

Canadians with specific questions about influenza or influenza vaccine should speak with their healthcare practitioner or visit Flu (influenza).

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