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COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Survey

Released: 2021-07-09

COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Survey – Cycle 2: The provinces

Summary:

Almost half of adults residing in the provinces (45.3%) had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by mid-May 2021 and 3.8% were fully vaccinated, having received their second dose. The vast majority (90.5%) of those who had not yet been vaccinated intended to do so.

COVID-19 provincial vaccination campaigns are well underway across Canada and have been evolving over time. Provinces have shifted their focus from vaccinating those most at risk from COVID-19 to maximizing the number of people receiving their first dose and most recently moving towards completing vaccination with a second dose.

The second cycle of the COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Survey (CVCS) was conducted from April 12 to May 12, 2021, as these adjustments to vaccine strategies were occurring. The survey asked adults in the provinces that were 18 years of age or older if they had been vaccinated and to share their knowledge and beliefs about vaccines.

Priorities and strategies for vaccination are a provincial and territorial jurisdiction, and estimates from this survey reflect differences in how vaccination programs were rolled out across Canada. Some rates cannot be reported at the provincial level, such as those for Indigenous people and for population groups designated as visible minorities, because of small sample sizes.

Vaccination rates highest among older age groups

At the time of the survey in mid-May, approximately half of the residents of Saskatchewan (53.7%) and Quebec (47.3%) reported they had received one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, the highest rates among the provinces. Conversely, the lowest rates were in Atlantic Canada, where one-third of the residents of Prince Edward Island (33.3%) and Nova Scotia (35.9%) had received at least one dose.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Vaccination status of adults 18+, by province, mid-April to mid-May 2021
Vaccination status of adults 18+, by province, mid-April to mid-May 2021 

Vaccine rates increased with age, with 90.7% of adults aged 70 or older having received their first dose by mid-May compared with 16.5% of those aged 18 to 29, reflecting the strategies to prioritize vaccination by age group at the time of the survey.

Women (50.7%) were more likely to be vaccinated than men (39.8%). While vaccination rates among men (78.9%) and women (81.7%) who were 60 years of age or older were similar, the gap widened among younger adults under 60 years of age with fewer vaccinated men (23.5%) than women (36.1%). This might be because women make up a larger portion of the workforce within the healthcare sector, which was prioritized for vaccination.

Vaccination rates vary by income, education level, and employment sector

Vaccination rates differed by income group and level of education. Higher vaccination rates were observed for adults in low-income households or with a lower level of education. This is likely related to the higher proportion of seniors within these groups. Adults living in households with incomes of less than $60,000 a year were more likely (48.8%) to have received the vaccine than those households earning $60,000 or more (42.8%). However, when the results are analyzed by age group, adults in low-income households under 60 years of age had a vaccination rate of 22.9% compared to 79.0% for adults 60 years of age or older. Similarly, when looking at differences by level of education, 58.6% of those who did not have a high school diploma or its equivalent were vaccinated, compared to 44.3% of those with a secondary degree or a post-secondary certificate or diploma (including university). Younger adults without a high school diploma had a vaccination rate of 22.3% compared to 78.4% for the older age group.

At the time of the survey, over four-fifths (82.6%) of adults working in healthcare had received at least one dose, and 20.7% were fully vaccinated. By way of comparison, 41.0% of adults not working in healthcare had been vaccinated with at least one dose, and 1.8% had been fully vaccinated.

Vaccination rates by Indigenous identity

Survey results show that just over half of Indigenous adults (52.5%) had been vaccinated. While coverage rates were similar for Indigenous (78.4%) and non-Indigenous (80.4%) seniors (60 years of age or older), younger Indigenous adults (18 to 59 years old) had a significantly higher coverage rate (43.0%) than their non-Indigenous counterparts (29.4%). First Nations adults had a vaccination rate of 57.4%, while Métis adults had a rate of 45.5%. Rates could not be produced for Inuit due to the small number of Inuit in the sample. It should be noted that these results reflect the population covered by the survey, which does not include those living on reserve. In addition, the strategies to prioritize vaccination for First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and Indigenous people living off reserve varied by province. For more information, please refer to the Note to Readers.

Vaccination rates by groups designated as visible minorities

One-third of adults belonging to groups designated as visible minorities (33.6%) were vaccinated compared with almost half of the non-visible minority adult population (49.5%). Younger adults 18 to 59 years old belonging to groups designated as visible minorities (25.9%) had lower vaccination rates compared with the non-visible minority group of the same age (31.5%). Furthermore, men belonging to visible minority groups (28.8%) had lower rates than women belonging to visible minority groups (39.4%), perhaps reflecting the higher prevalence of women in the highly vaccinated healthcare sector. The visible minority population is diverse and generally younger than the non-visible minority population. Results for visible minorities need to be interpreted carefully because experiences may vary greatly among individual population groups and across provinces.

The majority of adults who had not yet received a vaccine intend to get vaccinated

Among the 54.7% of Canadian adults who had not been vaccinated at the time of the survey, the vast majority (90.5%) said they were "likely" or "very likely" to do so in the future. When asked for the main reason they had not been vaccinated, most gave a logistical reason (89.7%), such as not having been part of a priority group or having had an appointment in the future. A further 7.8% said they did not want to get vaccinated at this time, while 2.5% said they did not want to get vaccinated at all.

Of those who did not want to be vaccinated at all or at this time, many reported that they do not trust the safety (45.3%) or effectiveness (29.8%) of the COVID-19 vaccines, while just over one-quarter (26.4%) said they were not at high risk of getting COVID-19.

Reasons for not yet having received the vaccine varied by level of education and household income. Those who did not want to be vaccinated at all or at this time were proportionally more likely to have no post-secondary education or to live in households with income of less than $60,000 than those who chose not to get vaccinated for another reason.

Most believe that vaccines are safe and effective

The survey asked all respondents about their beliefs on vaccination. The results show that the overwhelming majority of adults residing in the provinces believe that vaccines in general are safe (94.6%) and effective (97.1%) ways of protecting people from disease. When asked about their confidence in COVID-19 vaccines specifically, four out of five adults agreed that they are safe (82.5%) and that they are effective in preventing getting the disease (87.0%).

Most adults also believe that by getting vaccinated against COVID-19, they are protecting themselves (92.6%) and helping to protect the health of others in their community (93.7%). Those belonging to groups designated as visible minorities held similar views (93.8% and 96.5%). Indigenous adults expressed slightly lower levels of confidence in vaccination against COVID-19, with 84.2% agreeing with the statement that the COVID-19 vaccine protects them and 87.1% believing that being vaccinated helps to protect the health of others in their community.



  Note to readers

The COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Survey (CVCS) is sponsored by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and is being conducted in multiple cycles across Canada. The purpose of the survey is to gather information to measure progress towards 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.

Priorities and strategies for vaccination are a provincial and territorial jurisdiction and are based on guidelines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). Estimates from this survey reflect differences in how vaccination programs were rolled out by the provincial and territorial health authorities.

The first cycle focused on the north where vaccines were made widely available earlier this year. This cycle covers the provinces at a time when strategies were shifting from focusing on groups at higher risk to more general, age-stratified vaccine rollouts.

Data collection and methodology

The CVCS was designed jointly by PHAC and Statistics Canada and is a voluntary survey. This cycle of CVCS was conducted in the provinces from April 12 to May 12, 2021. The target population was adults 18 years of age and older. It excluded people living in the territories, on reserves and in other Indigenous settlements, and people living in institutions or collective dwellings.

Sampled dwellings were mailed an invitation letter, which contained instructions to identify which adult (18 years of age or older) in the household had been selected to participate in the survey. While a self-response electronic questionnaire was the primary method of collection, Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) was used to follow up in cases of non-response.

The survey was designed to produce provincial estimates by age group or by gender. Results produced at a finer level of detail may not be reliable due to the small number of respondents. For example, some results by population groups designated as visible minorities cannot be produced at the provincial level.

The term "Indigenous" includes those self-identifying as First Nations, Inuit or Métis.

Indigenous people were a key population identified for early vaccination by NACI. Each province implemented their own strategies to encourage vaccination uptake in Indigenous populations. People living in remote and isolated communities, First Nations reserves and Inuit Nunangat were generally prioritized for vaccination by provincial health authorities. Due to collection limitations (such as excluding those living on reserves and the difficulties in reaching those in remote areas), the Indigenous participants in the present study are predominantly First Nations, Inuit and Métis living in urban areas and other non-Indigenous communities. Due to these limitations and the small sample size of Indigenous participants, users are advised to use the CVCS 2021 cycle 2 data with caution when generating and interpreting estimates for Indigenous people, as they may not be representative of the situation for all Indigenous communities. Survey results for Indigenous people cannot be disaggregated at the provincial level because of small sample sizes.

The CVCS is a probability survey. A sample of 20,000 adults across the ten provinces were selected to participate in this cycle. Owing to differences in survey methodology, estimates of COVID-19 vaccine coverage produced from CVCS results may not align with coverage estimates produced using different sources of immunization information. Provincial and territorial vaccine registry data provides the most current and accurate vaccination coverage estimates. The CVCS complements this with information such as vaccination coverage by demographic variables, reasons for non-vaccination, and knowledge and beliefs surrounding COVID-19 vaccines.

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; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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