UPDATE: This story has been amended with calculations reflecting a shift from first doses to second doses in the future. 

TORONTO -- More than 60 per cent of eligible Canadians have been vaccinated with their first COVID-19 vaccine doses in Canada. But the rate at which second doses are being administered is still lagging far behind the first-dose rate.

The federal government has previously stated that everyone who is eligible and willing to receive the vaccine can be fully vaccinated by September, however in the past seven days, Canada has been vaccinating an average of almost one per cent of Canadians with their first dose and 0.11 per cent of Canadians with their second dose.

If this rate of vaccination continues throughout the summer, the country would have 20 per cent of its eligible population—those 12 years of age and older–fully vaccinated by early October.

That will change, though, as Canada finishes administering first doses.

Canada is currently administering an average of 356,304 vaccines each day. Approximately 90 per cent (319,531) of those are first doses, with 10 per cent (36,773) being second doses. Assuming the overall vaccination rate holds, how much of a shift to second doses would we need to see a significant portion of Canadians fully vaccinated by the end of summer?

Say Canada keeps up its current pace until 90% of Canadians have a first dose, and then switches to focus every dose to second vaccinations. The country is set to hit 90% with one vaccine by June 26, and would have 8.5% fully vaccinated by that day. A shift to administering our current number of vaccines as second doses would see the second dose rate jump up to 1.07% of eligible Canadians per day. That would see the country hit:

  • 20% fully vaccinated by July 7
  • 50% by August 4
  • 80% by September 1
  • 90% by September 11

These calculations assume the number of vaccines administered each day stays the same -- if overall rates change, so do these projections.

The chart below shows projections based on our current rates, and will update each day as rates change. The chart projections don’t account for future changes in rates, and the chart doesn’t recalculate second dose projections even if the first dose projection has hit 100%. But it is useful for an updated answer to the question "If each dose stays atour current pace, when will we hit that target?"

Currently, for second doses, that answer is further away than it will be in reality — but as the rate of second doses increases, this chart will reflect that increased pace.


The gap between first and second dose rates was a decision made individually by provinces, but came after a National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendation to extend the duration between the first and second dose from four to 16 weeks.

 “The idea was to have more people partially vaccinated so that there was a reduced likelihood that they would be transmitting it and getting sick from it,” Dr. Brenda Coleman, infectious disease epidemiologist at Sinai Health in Ontario, told CTVNews.ca, adding that after one vaccine dose the effectiveness is approximately 80 per cent.

To date, Canada has received more than 25.39 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from manufacturers and, according to Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie, has confirmed more than 40 million doses by the end of June.

Dr. Coleman says that with the increase of doses that Canada is receiving, up to 75 per cent of adults can be fully vaccinated at the end of the summer.

“The number of doses that are forecasted to come in between now and the end of August will probably mostly be used up giving second shots to people,” Coleman said. “If that’s the case, 70 to 75 per cent of adults should have both shots by the end of the summer if we can get them into people’s arms.”

With a large proportion of adults fully vaccinated, Coleman says that this would reduce the rate of transmission significantly from a herd immunity approach, however fully vaccinating 80 to 90 per cent would help draw the pandemic to a close in Canada.

While first doses are well underway for adults, vaccinations are just starting in younger Canadians.

Earlier this month, Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children who are 12 years of age or older, citing clinical trials that proved the vaccine to be 100 per cent effective in individuals between the ages of 12 and 15.

“One of the reasons for doing the 12 to 17 year olds is they're in school, they're out there visiting friends, and doing that sort of thing. So if we can get them vaccinated, we're going to reduce the transmission,” said Coleman.

If the waiting time between the first and second dose is shortened, Coleman suggests prioritizing people that are in high transmission situations, including those who are 12 to 17 years of age.

“We need to be prioritizing those people that are out there and seeing a lot of people. So people working in factories, people in healthcare, teachers,” she said. “One of the other groups will be our children going back to school…they can’t help that they’re in small rooms with lots and lots of people around. So even though they tend not to get as ill as older people, we don’t know what to expect from these mutations.”


The story previously included a section looking at the rate of full vaccinations for the entire Canadian population based on current second-dose rates only. It has been removed, as the story has been changed to better reflect a reality where second doses will increase after first doses are administered.