The Best Vaccine for You Is the One Available to You Right Now


​​​​​A message from Dr. Shannon McDonald, Acting Chief Medical Officer 

While there’s been a lot of media speculation about which vaccine is the most effective, experts are clear: the best vaccine for you is the one available to you right now!  

Despite the publicized vaccine efficacy rates that seem to indicate large differences between vaccines, there is little to support that one vaccine is overall better than another one. What is clear is that delaying your injection in hopes of getting a vaccine you think might be better only leaves you and others unnecessarily at risk of contracting COVID-19. All of this while infection rates remain high and are at risk of heading up again.  

The fact is, comparing the efficacy rates for different vaccines is like comparing apples to oranges. That’s because fairly large differences in apparent effectiveness can result from even small differences in each study’s design, including its:

• enrollment criteria, e.g., enrolling only younger, healthier people

• end-points, e.g., having different definitions of severe illness

• location/timing, e.g., having different predominant strains and infection rates 

The only way to determine true differences in vaccine effectiveness is to do head-to-head comparisons – that is, to test all of the vaccines under the same study protocol, in the same place, at the same time. 

While we don’t know if one vaccine is better, we do know that all of the vaccines currently available in Canada have been shown to be excellent in preventing severe illness and death. For example, AstraZeneca, which showed an overall efficacy in medical trials of 62 per cent against contracting COVID-19, also showed 100 per cent effective at preventing severe illness and death. All of the vaccines have been shown to be very safe both in clinical trials and during real-world use, which in many cases number in the millions of doses provided.​​


A video​ explanation of why you can't compare COVID-19 vaccines

What’s more, all of the vaccines have been shown to have effectiveness against the current variants of concern​, although they may be more effective against the original virus. Emerging evidence also indicates vaccines help to prevent transmission, or spread from person to person. 

So, while no vaccines provide 100 per cent protection, all vaccines provide a better level of protection against COVID-19 than not getting a vaccine at all, or delaying getting your vaccine when you have an opportunity to get one. 

Getting your vaccine as soon as you can will not only prevent you from getting ill, it will also prevent further variants of concern from developing, and will help us all to achieve ”community immunity” sooner.  This means we will be able to get back to being with the people we love and doing the things we love to do, which is something we can all look forward to! We are almost there; keep up the good work!

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 What are efficacy rates?

Vaccine efficacy is determined in carefully controlled clinical studies that compare immunized persons’ risk of becoming ill to that of non-immunized persons. Vaccine performance will be somewhat different in real-life situations – and different study designs. 
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