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COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Survey

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Released: 2021-06-04

COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Survey – Cycle 1: Territorial capitals

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to pick up speed across Canada and the number of those eligible to receive their shot grows every week. COVID-19 vaccines were available to all residents of the territories aged 18 and older at the time of the survey, which was collected from March 15 to April 12, 2021.

According to new data from the COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Survey, just over four-fifths of adults in the territorial capitals (80.3%) had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by mid-April, with 38.5% of all adults being fully vaccinated, having received their second dose.

The survey asked adults in the three territorial capitals if they had been vaccinated and to share their knowledge and beliefs about the vaccines.

Vaccination rates vary among the territorial capitals

Over four-fifths of Whitehorse (81.0%) and Yellowknife (84.6%) residents were partially or fully vaccinated at the time of the survey, compared with two-thirds of Iqaluit (66.4%) residents (see note to readers).

In all three territorial capitals combined, non-Indigenous adults (83.5%) were more likely to report obtaining at least one vaccination dose than Indigenous adults (64.1%). Vaccination rates for Indigenous people cannot be published by capital because of the small number of respondents.

Older adults and those with underlying health conditions most likely to report getting vaccinated

Vaccination rates increased with age, as expected, given that older adults were among the groups prioritized for vaccination by health authorities. Most residents aged 60 and older in the three territorial capitals had been vaccinated with at least one dose (91.1%) by mid-April, while the younger cohort aged 18 to 59 reported lower vaccination rates (77.7%). Those with underlying health conditions that put them more at risk from COVID-19 had higher vaccination rates (88.5%) compared with those without these conditions (77.9%).

In general, vaccination rates for men and women were comparable.

Some differences in vaccination rates were seen by income and level of education. Those making under $90,000 a year (75.4%) were less likely to be vaccinated than those earning more income (85.1%). Similarly, when looking at differences by level of education, 68.0% of those with a secondary school education or less were vaccinated, compared with 85.4% of those with a postsecondary degree. These gaps were wider among Indigenous adults, with higher income earners (80.5%) more likely to be vaccinated than lower income earners (54.0%), and those with a postsecondary education (80.1%) more likely to be vaccinated than those without (46.1%).

Most adults residing in the territorial capitals who had not yet received a shot intend to get vaccinated

Approximately one in five (19.7%) residents of the territorial capitals had not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine at the time of the survey, although most (80.8%) said that they were "likely" or "very likely" to do so in the future.

Among those who had not yet received the vaccine, 8.4% said that the main reason for not obtaining the vaccine was that they did not want to get vaccinated at all, while 24.4% did not want to get vaccinated at this time. On the other hand, two-thirds (67.2%) of people who had not yet received the vaccine reported other logistic or medical reasons for not having been vaccinated (e.g., they had a vaccination appointment in the future or they were sick at the time that the vaccine was offered).

Overall, 3.7% of adults in the territorial capitals did not intend to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Most adults living in the territorial capitals believe that vaccines are effective and safe

Residents of the three territorial capitals were asked to share their knowledge and beliefs about vaccines. Over 90% of them believe that, in general, vaccines are a safe and effective way of protecting people from disease, and that by getting vaccinated, they are protecting themselves and helping to protect the health of others in their community.

Over four in five residents expressed confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines as a safe and effective method of preventing them from contracting the disease.

On the other hand, over one-quarter (26.4%) believed that physical distancing, frequent handwashing and wearing a mask were enough to protect them from COVID-19.

Approximately one in five residents of the territorial capitals distrusts COVID-19 vaccines because they were developed too quickly (17.9%), while a similar share believes the severity of the disease has been overstated (19.5%).

Indigenous adults (87.0%) were less likely than non-Indigenous adults (96.8%) to agree with the statement that, in general, vaccines are safe. Indigenous adults (33.3%) were also more likely than non-Indigenous adults (15.2%) to express a distrust of COVID-19 vaccines because they were developed too quickly. While these may explain some of the differences, they do not account for the entirety of the gap between vaccination rates, because reasons for not getting vaccinated are numerous and complex.

  Note to readers

The COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Survey (CVCS) is sponsored by the Public Health Agency of Canada and is being conducted across Canada in multiple cycles throughout the spring, summer and fall of this year. The purpose of the survey is to gather information to measure progress toward vaccination coverage goals for COVID-19, and to collect information on knowledge and beliefs surrounding COVID-19 vaccines. The CVCS aims to gather data from respondents, whether they have been vaccinated or not, to provide information on the Canadian population as a whole. The first cycle focussed on the North, where vaccines were made widely available earlier this year. The next survey cycle, covering the provinces, is being conducted at this time and results should be available in early summer 2021.

Data collection and methodology

The CVCS was designed jointly by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada. This first cycle of the CVCS was conducted from March 15 to April 12, 2021, using a self-completed electronic questionnaire or telephone interviews.

Adults residing in territorial capitals (Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Iqaluit) were sampled and invited to participate. Because of constraints related to the pandemic and the limitations of the survey frame, it was not possible to conduct the survey in communities outside of the territorial capitals. Survey results and estimates are representative of residents in the capitals only, as circumstances and access to vaccines outside of the capitals may differ widely. In addition, results for Iqaluit should be used with caution because of the low response rate (14.7%).

Owing to differences in survey methodology, estimates of COVID-19 vaccine coverage rates produced from CVCS results may not align with coverage estimates produced using different sources of vaccination information, such as provincial and territorial vaccine registry data.

The term "Indigenous" includes those self-identifying as First Nations people, Inuit and Métis. Estimates cannot be disaggregated by Indigenous group because of small sample sizes.

Survey weights were adjusted to minimize any potential bias that could arise from survey non-response; non-response adjustments and calibration using available auxiliary information were applied and are reflected in the survey weights provided with the data file. Despite these rigorous adjustments, the high non-response rate in Iqaluit increases the risk of a remaining bias and the magnitude with which such a bias could impact estimates produced using the survey data. Moreover, the sampling frame for Iqaluit covered 71% of the target population, such that the undercoverage could exacerbate the bias potentially present in the estimates. Therefore, users are advised to use data from the 2021 CVCS – Cycle 1 with caution when generating and interpreting estimates for Iqaluit.

Click on the "related information" tab of this release for more information about the survey.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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