It is based on the national guidelines priority list released by the Canadian government, which you can view here. Each province and territory is responsible for interpreting the guidelines. Visit your provincial website for the latest updates and rollout plan specific to your province.
Vaccine Queue Calculator for Canada
Published January 7, 2021. Last updated January 19, 2021.
Daily Digest: As of January 19, 2021, at least 765,100 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have been distributed in Canada. At least 604,065 Canadians (1.9% of eligible Canadians) have received the first does and at least 37,189 Canadians (0.12% of eligible Canadians) have received the second dose (sources).
Key update: The Government of Canada has secured a deal for 20 million more doses of vaccines this year (announced January 12, 2021). The calculator timeline is now a little more certain and relies on approved vaccines only.
Canada is now in the Stage 1 of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout to priority groups. But when might you get your shots and be protected? Omni has crunched the numbers and produced this calculator to help answer this burning question.
So far, COVID-19 has cost the world hundreds of billions of dollars and caused almost 1.5 million casualties. We all think that COVID-19 has been our guest for way too long - but what can we do about it? The most effective way to battle this kind of enemy is to create a vaccine against it 💉. Multiple companies have been in a race since COVID-19 was discovered to do just that.
On 14 December 2020, the first person in Canada received a COVID-19 vaccine approved for general use. This event truly marks the beginning of the end of our COVID-19 troubles. But this raises a whole load of new questions:
- How far are we away from the finish line?
- Who will be first in the queue to get the vaccine?
- When are you likely to be offered it?
We created this calculator to deliver all the answers to every single one of these crucial questions. Omni's vaccine queue calculator will estimate how many people are ahead of you in the queue to get a COVID vaccine in Canada. It also predicts how long you might have to wait to get your vaccine. Using our tool, you'll have a better idea of when you can expect to get vaccinated.
We've based our vaccine queue calculator on the general guidance given by Canada's Federal government and the likely rate of vaccination over time - you can also alter the average vaccination rate in the Rollout of vaccines section of the calculator.
This calculator is now only based on approved vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) and assumes the doses are delivered on schedule. Some variation in the rollout is expected due to logistics and as each Province and Territory is responsible for determining the priority of the various groups within each Stage and organizing the rollout of the vaccine.
Prioritising who gets the vaccine
It's great that we now have COVID vaccines that have been approved for general use. However, that's not the end of the COVID story just yet. Millions of doses of vaccines now have to be produced and injected into the arms of people. That is one massive manufacturing, logistical, and time-consuming task for everyone involved. It is all going to take time.
The first phase of the vaccination programme focuses on saving lives and reducing hospital admissions. So it is logical to give the vaccine first to those most vulnerable groups - older people and those who need it the most.
The Government of Canada has published general guidance on the prioritization of COVID-19 vaccinations based on the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendations. Again, each province may interpret this guidance according to their situation and, in some cases, have differed from the national guidelines. The national guidelines define three main stages. Let's first have a look at the populations in Stage 1:
- Health care workers (including all those who work in health care settings and personal support workers whose work involves direct contact with patients);
- Residents and staff of congregate living settings that provide care for seniors;
- Adults 70 years of age and older, beginning with adults 80 years of age and older, then decreasing the age limit by 5-year increments to age 70 years as supply becomes available; and
- Adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences, such as those living in remote and isolated communities.
And Stage 2 populations are:
- Health care workers not included in the initial rollout;
- Residents and staff of all other congregate settings (e.g., quarters for migrant workers, correctional facilities, homeless shelters); and
- Essential workers.
The calculator uses the order of these populations to determine your place in the queue. However, this is a simplification, and practical considerations may mean multiple of these populations are offered the vaccination simultaneously.
Once Stage 1 and 2 are complete, vaccines will be made available to the general population (i.e., Stage 3).
To determine whether you are included in a particular group, read on for further details.
Canada’s National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure has identified ten sectors that contain workers responsible for the country's critical infrastructure. These are:
- Energy and Utilities
- Information and Communication Technologies
To see if your job is classified as essential, please look at this list of jobs.
"Consensus Statement: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be offered vaccination at any time if they are eligible, and no contraindications exist."
This decision is based on the women’s personal values and an understanding that the risk of infection and/or morbidity from COVID-19 outweighs the theorized and undescribed risk of being vaccinated during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
More research is still required to evaluate the potential risks of vaccination. For more information, please visit the SOGC for their latest statements regarding COVID-19.
At this time, COVID vaccines are not being offered to people under 16 years of age, except in cases where there is a very high risk of exposure and severe outcomes. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is restricted to people age 16 and older, and the Moderna vaccine is limited to people of age 18 and older. A full risk and benefits assessment is needed before administering the vaccine.
Again, as more trial data become available, this recommendation may change.
|❗ Disclaimer: Please remember that this calculator is based on the Canadian government's general priority guidance and does not take into consideration individual cases that might be exempt from this general prioritisation.|
Vaccination rates are starting slowly at first, before ramping up as we progress into 2021. Here are latest estimated vaccination rates of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines derived from the January 12, 2021 announcements from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Procurement Minister Anita Anand:
|Period||Canadians vaccinated per week||Number of Canadians vaccinated per quarter||Total Canadians vaccinated|
|Q1 2021||200,000||3 million||3 million|
|Q2 2021||1,300,000||17 million||20 million|
|Q3 2021||750,000||10 million||30 million|
|Q4 2021||750,000||10 million||40 million*|
*40 million is greater than the adult population of Canada, but we would have enough doses for 40 million people (80 million doses)
The weekly estimates assume that every Canadian receives the second dose on schedule and that the vaccines are delivered on time. If you don't agree with these predicted vaccination rates, enter your own value for the average vaccination rate over the entire vaccination rollout.
|❗ Disclaimer: Some variation in the rollout is expected due to logistics and as each Province and Territory is responsible for administering the vaccine. The predicted vaccination rate assumes that the vaccines are delivered on schedule. The rate has become more certain and is now only reliant on vaccines that have already been approved.|
CTV News has produced a vaccine tracker that tells you how many vaccinations have been administered in Canada as a whole and each province. It also compares Canada to how other countries around the world are progressing with their vaccine rollout programs. The number of administered vaccines is lower than the number of vaccines delivered to vaccination centers, which you can monitor directly from the Government of Canada’s vaccine rollout summary.
How to use the vaccine queue calculator?
Follow these steps to calculate your likely place in the COVID vaccine queue. The first section is all about you.
- Please enter your age in years (16 to 120). Generally, the older you are, the sooner you'll be called up to have the vaccine.
- Say whether you live or work in a care home. If everyone in a care home is vaccinated, that will allow relatives to visit with decreased risk to the residents.
- Are you pregnant, or are you planning to be in the next three months? If the answer is yes, the vaccine makers are not currently recommending you have a COVID vaccine until more trial data is released.
- Answer whether you are a frontline health or social care worker (e.g., nurse, doctor, etc.). This group is likely to have a lot of exposure to the virus and need to be protected.
- Are you part of a remote Indigenous community, such as First Nations, Métis, or Inuit communities? See the answer to the FAQ "Which indigenous communities are covered in priority groups so far?" for further details.
- Do you live or work in a group setting, such as a prison, homeless shelter or migrant worker congregate housing?
- Answer whether you are an essential worker. Please check this webpage to see if you are.
You will then see an estimate of where you are in the queue - the minimum and maximum number of people in front of you. We also indicate how long it might be before you get the vaccine, based on the vaccination rates given above and a default vaccine uptake rate of 70.3 percent.
But how accurate is an uptake of 70.3%? In a global survey conducted in June 2020, 68.74% of Canadians surveyed (n=705) responded positively to the question ‘If a COVID-19 vaccine is proven safe and effective and is available, I will take it.’ Of course, perceptions can change over time, but as an estimate, an uptake of around 70% seems reasonable until more data becomes available. If you want to change these values, read on for further details.
Rollout of vaccines
In the Rollout of vaccines section of the calculator, you can enter a custom value for the vaccination rate. To do that, change "default (see text)" to "custom". You can either enter the time it will take to vaccinate every adult in Canada or the number of vaccinations completed per week. As the vaccination programme gets up and running, you can enter the actual vaccination rate.
Not everyone who is asked to receive the vaccine will accept it. That will mean that the queue for you will, in effect, be shorter. We set a default uptake rate of 70.3%, which was the figure last year for people aged 64 and over who were offered the annual flu vaccine, according to the Government of Canada.
How do the Provincial and Territory plans differ from the national guidelines?
There are a number of significant differences between the provinces and territories regarding the rollout plans.
1. The age of the "seniors" category for Stage 1 differs from province-to-province. While the national guidelines lists all adults over 70 years of age in Stage 1, starting with the most elderly, most provinces and territories specify a different age or may place the elderly of the general public in Stage 2. For example, since we last checked (January 12, 2021), British Columbia lists "community-based seniors, age 80 and above" in its rollout plan so far. Newfoundland and Labrador defines "advanced age" in Phase 1 as ages 85 years and above. Ontario lists seniors of the community in Stage 2, starting with age 80 and over, and decreasing in increments.
2. The definition of the highest priority healthcare workers may differ. If you're a healthcare worker and unsure of when you will get vaccinated, consult the information from your provincial authorities and also directly communicate with your organization for updates.
3. The way various vulnerable groups are categorized differs. For example, in Ontario, "home care patients with chronic conditions" are included in Stage 2. Other provinces haven't necessarily addressed these types of groups yet.
4. Some provinces and territories do not follow the "Stage" format. Quebec has proposed 10 priority groups rather than stages at the time of writing. Nunavut has a unique method of distributing vaccines based on its prior experience delivering the flu vaccine and includes Elders’ Facility clinics where health staff go on-site to administer the vaccine.
Learn about the Rollout Plan for your Province or Territory
This is an evolving situation. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to your provincial and local health authorities to find the latest updates regarding your region's rollout plans. We have listed important links to government sources below:
- National guidelines for vaccine priority groups
- How many vaccines did Canada order from each vendor?
- Overview of COVID-19 information
- Overview of COVID-10 vaccine information including resources for your province
- Rollout plan for Alberta from the Government of Alberta
- BC's plan for vaccine distribution from BC Centre for Disease Control
- Live public briefings with Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix
- Manitoba's eligibility criteria are being updated regularly from the Government of Manitoba
- Overview of New Brunswick rollout plan from the Government of New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
- Priority groups from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Vaccine information from the Government of Northwest Territories
- Vaccine rollout to communities has begun. The vaccination windows are often only 2-3 days long and coming up fast, so check for the available dates for your clinics in your region often.
- Vaccine rollout plan from the Government of Nova Scotia
- Vaccine rollout information from the Government of Nunavut. According to the website, on January 16, 2021, vaccination appointments can be booked for Iqaluit (age 65+ and shelter residents), Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven (2nd dose), Igloolik (2nd dose), Rankin Inlet, Whale Cove, Chesterfield Inlet, Baker Lake. The appointment windows in many cases are coming up fast (some within a week), so be alert for when the booking time for your region is.
- Vaccine rollout plan and information from the Government of Ontario
Prince Edward Island
- COVID-19 immunization program and FAQ from the Government of Prince Edward Island
- List of the 10 proposed priority groups (preliminary) from the Government of Quebec
- Vaccine delivery phases and projected timeline from the Government of Saskatchewan
- Vaccination rollout schedule from Government of Yukon.
- How to get vaccinated? According to the website on January 19, 2021, you can book an appointment for "Beaver Creek, Old Crow, Teslin, Watson Lake and Whitehorse" and the clinic dates are now posted many centers. Most of the clinics will be open for all residents aged 18+, except for Whitehorse which is currently open to "those aged 70+, those living in group settings and front line health-care workers who are at high risk of working with someone with COVID-19. This includes doctors, nurses, flight paramedics and EMS."
What can I do?
We know that waiting to get the vaccine might be frustrating. However, by prioritizing those who are most at risk of hospitalization and death, we should quickly save lives with this fantastic new weapon against the virus.
Here are some things we all can do:
- Keep doing our part to maintain good hygiene and practice healthy social distancing habits.
- Download the Covid Alert App as recommended by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.
- Educate ourselves on the prevention and risks of COVID-19 from credible sources.
- Keep up to date with your local health authority's announcements and ensure that your friends and family are also in the know.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada will have passed all their safety tests. However, as with any approved drug on the market, you may experience side effects and more clinical trials are still underway. Generally, though, it is thought that the risk of side effects is much smaller than the possible consequences of a nasty COVID-19 infection. Every person will be screened for known contraindications before receiving the vaccine.
How many shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will I need?
Nearly all COVID-19 vaccines approved or under development need two shots to be effective. The doses need to be around 3 to 4 weeks apart, depending on the vaccine. For example, you need to have the two Pfizer/BioNTech shots 21 days apart.
What are the possible side effects I might experience?
As with all vaccines, you might experience mild to moderate side effects that may last a few days. If you have pain and/or a fever, you can treat these side effects by taking medicines such as paracetamol. Below are the known side effects, grouped by frequency.
Very common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people):
- Pain at the injection site
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Fever (over 38 °C)
- Injection site swelling
- Redness at the injection site
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Feeling unwell
Will COVID vaccines be mandatory?
The Canadian Federal government has said that COVID-19 vaccines will not be mandatory. However, you may have to get vaccinated to be allowed to do certain activities. An example is the Australia airline Qantas, which will require all passengers to be vaccinated once vaccines are widely available. So while you can technically opt-out of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, the practical restrictions on your life might be significant.
Who was the first person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada?
Gisèle Lévesque, aged 89, received the first official COVID-19 vaccine in Canada on the 14th of December 2020, in Quebec.
When was the first COVID-19 vaccine approved in Canada?
On December 9, 2020, Canadian regulators approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on an emergency-use basis. This date was just seven months after clinical trials started. They were able to do this at super fast speed by continuously analyzing the trial data rather than waiting until the end of all the trials. Moderna was the second to be approved in Canada on December 23, 2020.
Who is making the COVID vaccine?
This first vaccine has been developed by US drug giant Pfizer and German biotech company BioNTech. Many other vaccines have been approved or in development by companies such as Moderna, AstraZeneca (the Oxford vaccine), GSK, and Johnson & Johnson, to name but a few.
Will there be enough vaccine for everyone?
Certainly not at the moment, but eventually, yes. Pfizer alone plans to produce 1.3 billion doses of its vaccine in 2021. As further vaccines are approved and manufactured, more supply will come on stream to meet the world's demand.
Do I still need to wear a mask after I am vaccinated?
Yes. At this stage, it is still unclear whether the current vaccine will also prevent the transmission of the virus to people around you. It is similar to the current situation where people have COVID-19 but suffer no symptoms. However, they are still able to transmit it to others. It may be only until a good majority of people have been vaccinated that restrictions to our daily lives are lifted.
In addition, your body needs time to develop immunity. The COVID immunity tests in clinical trials for Pfizer and Moderna were taken 2-3 weeks after the initial dose, so we don’t have any confirmation of immunity until 2 to 3 weeks has passed.
What percentage needs to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity?
We do not yet know the precise threshold of vaccinated people in the community needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 and achieve herd immunity. For flu, experts say the figure is around 70%, so that is the current working theory for COVID-19. Further research and modelling are needed to get a more concrete value. The recent emergence of COVID-19 strains with a higher transmission rate might require more of us to get vaccinated to achieve community protection. Epidemiology experts are monitoring the situation.
If I've had COVID-19, do I need to be vaccinated?
Yes. If you have had COVID-19, then your body will have some natural immunity to it, preventing you from suffering from it again. However, some early evidence suggests this natural immunity might not last very long. While we also don't know precisely how long the vaccine's protection lasts, it could be better than your natural immunity. It will undoubtedly extend the time you are resistant to COVID-19.
Can I have a COVID-19 vaccine if I am currently breastfeeding?
Yes. Since there is no known risk with giving non-live vaccines to breastfeeding women.
Do I get special priority if I am an unpaid carer?
No. Unfortunately, unpaid carers do not appear on the Canadian government's prioritization guidance.
Do I get special priority if I am immunocompromised due to disease or treatment?
We don't know at this time. The national and most of the regional guidelines do not list immunocompromised people as a priority group. This may change as guidelines are updated. In the meantime, check with your doctor for more information about receiving the vaccine in your specific case. Certain people within this category, such as "home care patients with chronic conditions", are described within the priority groups in Ontario. Other provinces and territories haven't necessarily addressed these types of groups yet.
Which indigenous communities are covered in priority groups so far?
The provincial guidelines of British Columbia and Ontario have listed “remote indigenous communities” as one of the top priority groups, whereas a more generic “Isolated and remote communities” is mentioned in the Quebec preliminary guidelines.
British Columbia further identifies “Indigenous communities not vaccinated in [the] first priority group” and “Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) seniors, age 65 and above, and Indigenous elders” in the next phase of the rollout. Ontario also includes "additional Indigenous communities" in Phase 2, with mention of "urban Indigenous populations" in its overall plan.
Other provinces and territories may have specified this category differently. For example, Alberta mentioned “First Nations, Métis and persons 65 years of age and over living in a First Nations community or Metis Settlement” in Phase 2 of the rollout.
For the most up-to-date information, please see your individual province and territorial guideline resources in the text.
Sources for Daily Digest
- The number of vaccine doses distributed is from the Government of Canada.
- The number of vaccines administered is through the CTV Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker.
- The population statistics for eligible Canadians are based on the July 1, 2020 population estimates from Statistics Canada. We included ages 15 and over, noting that by this summer, many of the 15 year-olds from the census will be 16 years old and eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
January 12, 2021
- Added the section, How do the Provincial and Territory plans differ from the national guidelines?.
- Added the section, Learn about the Rollout Plan for your Province or Territory with important links.
- Clarified in various parts of the text where the provincial information may differ from the national guidelines.
- Updated recommendation and source for pregnant women in text and calculator.
- Added a question about immunocompromised people to the FAQ section.
- Added a question about which indigenous communities are covered in priority groups to the FAQ section.
January 13, 2021
- Updated the FAQ "What percentage needs to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity?"
- Updated the FAQ "Which indigenous communities are covered in priority groups so far?"
January 14, 2021
- Updated vaccine appointment booking information for Nunavut and Yukon.
January 15, 2021
- Updated section "How do the Provincial and Territory plans differ from the national guidelines?" noting Ontario lists seniors of the community in Stage 2.
January 18, 2021
- Updated vaccine rollout rates according to government announcements on January 12, 2021.
- Updated disclaimers: The calculator now only relies on approved vaccines and is more certain than before.
- Added "key update" at the top of the text.
- Updated vaccine appointment booking information for Nunavut, Yukon, and Northwest Territories.
- Updated "How to use the vaccine queue calculator?" with a second reference for vaccine uptake estimate.
- Added "Daily Digest" reflecting number of Canadians fully vaccinated so far. To be updated daily.
- Fixed hyperlinks in the calculator so that embedded widgets on other sites correctly redirect to the calculator text.
January 19, 2021
- Updated vaccine booking information for Yukon.
- "Daily Digest" and daily queue updates will no longer be written in the changelog since they will be updated daily.