Immunization Practices in Canada

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is a multi-disciplinary committee of scientific, medical, and public health experts that make recommendations for current and newly approved vaccines in Canada. The Canada Immunization Guide (CIG) is based on NACI recommendations and other factors. NACI’s work focuses on vaccines while the CIG is a comprehensive resource on immunization. The CIG includes information for all health professionals who administer vaccines or manage immunization programs.

In Canada, immunization programs are a shared responsibility across national, provincial, and local public health agencies. See Tables 2.6, 2.7, and 2.8 for a list of these responsibilities. Public health agencies in Canada use a population health approach to improve the health of all Canadians and create healthier communities, including controlling infectious diseases through immunization strategies. While vaccines are a national issue, each level of government has a specific role and there are differences in how immunization programs are implemented across provinces and communities. For example, provincial public health agencies make determinations about the immunization schedule based on the NACI recommendations while the local public health agencies implement and deliver local services. This strategic and systematic approach to immunization allows for a population health approach while simultaneously ensuring outreach at a local level. As a health professional, it is important to familiarize yourself with the role and mandate of various organizations to ease system navigation, including where and when to access information. Furthermore, having a contextual understanding of program implementation allows you to see both the big picture and the local perspectives when thinking about vaccine-preventable illnesses. Video Clip 2.1 provides additional information about the role of public health nurses and vaccines practice in Ontario.


Video Clip 2.1: Interview about Vaccines and the Role of Public Health


Table 2.6: Organizational Landscape of Vaccine Research, Delivery, and Evaluation – Federal

Organization Role in Immunization Delivery

National Advisory Committee on Immunizations in Canada (NACI)


  • Reports to Assistant Deputy Minister of Infectious Disease Prevention and Control.
  • Makes recommendations about current and newly approved immunization practices in Canada.
  • Develops and updates the Canada Immunization Guide (CIG).


Public Health Agency of Canada



  • Prevents and controls infectious diseases in Canada.
  • Develops the National Immunization Strategy (NIS).
  • Identifies under and unimmunized populations in Canada.
  • Sets goals for vaccine-preventable disease reduction in Canada.

Centre for Immunization and Respiratory Infectious Diseases (CIRID)


  • Works collaboratively with the provinces and territories to implement the National Immunization Strategy (NIS).
  • Enhances Canada’s response to and management of infectious diseases and respiratory infections.
  • Works together with other countries to develop immunization programs and disease prevention strategies.

Immunize Canada



  • National coalition of non-governmental, professional, health, government, and private sector organizations.
  • Provides reliable information regarding immunization practices recommended by the NACI.
  • Promotes and supports the use of vaccines and public health policies to control vaccine-preventable diseases through promotional products and media campaigns.

Canadian Public Health Association


  • Launched the Creation of a Canadian Immunization Resource Centre in July 2017 that resulted in CANVax, an online database of curated resources to support immunization planning and promotion activities to improve vaccine acceptance and uptake in Canada.
  • Offers access to latest evidence-informed products, resources, and tools on immunization.

Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS)


  • Provides online education opportunities and clinical guidelines for vaccine providers.
  • Provides parents and caregivers information regarding vaccinations.

Canadian Association for Immunization Research and Evaluation (CAIRE)


  • Supports vaccinology research and the development and evaluation of immunization programs in Canada.

Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate (BGTD), Health Canada


  • Regulates and assesses the use of bacterial and viral vaccines.
  • Collaborates with other branches/directorates in Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada to monitor safety and effectiveness.


Table 2.7: Organizational Landscape of Vaccine Research, Delivery, and Evaluation – Provincial

Provincial and Regional

Organization Role in Immunization Delivery

Public Health Ontario


  • Provides annual surveillance reports on immunization coverage, vaccine safety, etc.
  • Provides resources on vaccine-preventable disease.

Local Public Health Units


  • Provides annual surveillance reports on immunization coverage and vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Provides immunization clinics and resources for healthcare providers, parents and caregivers.


Table 2.8: Organizational Landscape of Vaccine Research, Delivery, and Evaluation – International

Organization Role in Immunization Delivery

World Health Organization (WHO)


  • Provides annual surveillance reports on global immunization coverage, and global vaccine action plan reports.
  • Provides guidelines and recommendations on immunization standards, immunization schedules, vaccine quality, vaccine reference preparations, and regulation.
  • Organizes World Immunization Week campaign.



Centre for Disease Control (American)


  • Establishes National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC).
  • Advises on Immunization Practices.

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) (WHO for the Americas)


  • Prevents and controls vaccine-preventable diseases through mandates and strategies.
  • Reports immunization coverage and number of vaccine-preventable diseases in the Americas.
  • Provides communication materials on vaccine-preventable diseases.





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Vaccine Practice for Health Professionals: 1st Canadian Edition Copyright © by Oona St-Amant; Jennifer Lapum; Vinita Dubey; Karen Beckermann; Che-Sheu Huang; Carly Weeks; Kate Leslie; and Kim English is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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