Residency status will not be a factor in COVID-19 vaccines rollout, Canada’s public health agency says.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recently announced “COVID-19 vaccines will be made available to the public in Canada for whom it is approved and recommended for use… This applies to all and sundry in Canada whether or not they are citizens.”
Currently, Canada has approved the Pfitzer-BioNTech vaccine for people over age Sixteen (16), and the Moderna vaccine for people over the age of eighteen (18). Priority for early vaccination will be given to residents and staff of care homes, adults over Seventy (70), adults, and health care workers in Indigenous communities.
The federal government of Canada’s webpage also says that as more vaccines become available more populations will have access to the vaccine. These groups include staffs and residents of shared living spaces such as housing for immigrant workers, some essential workers, and health care workers who were not considered in the initial rollout.
As of 21st January, 2021, there have been 935,700 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines dispatch to Canada. Of these, about 729,640 doses were delivered as of January 21, according to the COVID-19 vaccine tracker run by a University of Saskatchewan student’s based on official updates from each province.
Canada’s federal, provincial governments are using the recommendations laid out in the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to help determine their vaccines distribution priorities.
Immigrants are considered in these recommendations, given a number of factors that also put them at risk. For instance, many populations of immigrants may have different exposure to the virus due to their occupations, international travel and other factors.
So, the NACI recommended a number of interventions to reduce inequity and improve access for immigrants and other groups.
Some of these suggestions includes planning immunization programs with IRCC, providing culturally appropriate educational materials in many languages, and having translators available in clinics.
Some provinces have released their distribution plans on provincial vaccine pages. Quebec and Manitoba spokespersons specifically announced that immigrants could get the COVID-19 vaccination regardless of their status.
A spokesperson from the Northwest Territories said in an email: “Anyone with a valid Northwest Territories health care card will receive the voluntary Moderna vaccine as we exercise a phased rollout.”
Deliveries of Pfizer vaccine are expected to decline by fifty (50) percent over the next four (4) weeks as the company is grappling to meet global demand.
The Candian government still expects that everyone who wish to be vaccinated in Canada will be able to do so by Sept. 2021.