CPHA Canvax

CANVax in Brief are short evidence-based articles that aim to inform, engage and inspire its readers by bringing attention to current and emerging issues in immunization, and by profiling initiatives and activities from across Canada that aim to improve vaccine acceptance and uptake.

Contributions to CANVax in Brief are by invitation only. All articles are reviewed by CANVax staff and by the Expert Review Panel as part of the peer-review process prior to publication. If you have questions about CANVax in Brief, contact us

CANVax Brief Series - CANVax is collaborating with Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR) to publish short evidence-based briefs from our CANVax in Brief series throughout 2020. You can read our articles here.


February 14, 2020

Ethics Check-up of Public Health Immunization Programs in Canada

Noni E. MacDonald, Shawn Harmon, Janice E. Graham

The World Health Organization recognizes immunization as one of the most successful and effective public health interventions for saving lives. Its impact reaches far beyond the health and well-being of individuals and communities through improved social determinants of health affecting work productivity, equity, institutional stability, economic development, and innovation. Nevertheless, immunization needs to be subject to independent scrutiny of vaccine research data and manufacturing practices, legal and ethical assurance of informed consent, and social justice issues including the right to access.

December 2, 2019

Refusing Vaccination: Myths and Realities (Vaccinations. Le mythe du refus)

Laurence Monnais - Professor, Scientific Director, Director

Laurence Monnais is the author of the book "Vaccinations. Le mythe du refus," currently available only in French. Her book, intended for non-historians, public health experts, and health care professionals, examines the connection people tend to make between the refusal against vaccines and the "return" of certain diseases that we had thought to be eradicated. This article, prepared by Laurence Monnais for CANVax in Brief, provides a short summary of the arguments in the book.

September 16, 2019

Motivational Interviewing: A Powerful Tool for Immunization Dialogue

Arnaud Gagneur

According to the World Health Organization, vaccine hesitancy (VH) is among the top ten threats to global health. Effective strategies need to be developed to address this growing problem. To date, the educational intervention of promoting vaccinations based on motivational interviewing (MI) techniques is among one of the rarest strategies that have demonstrated their effectiveness to increase infants' vaccine coverage (VC) and curb parents' VH. MI has been described as a promising tool in health promotion and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) currently recommends its use for vaccination.

August 6, 2019

Growing Immunization Resiliency in the Digital Information Age

Noni MacDonald - Professor of Paediatrics (Infectious Diseases)

This brief has been updated for publication in the Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR). To read the updated version, please visit CANVax: Promoting immunization resiliency. The original version of this CANVax brief has been archived and is available upon request. Please contact us for a co…

July 2, 2019

Outcomes and unintended consequences of mandatory immunization programs

Noni E. MacDonald, Eve Dubé and Daniel Grandt

Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases occur even in high-income countries that have unrestricted and equitable access to immunizations. The reason is that vaccine uptake rates are not where they need to be for adequate control of vaccine-preventable diseases. As a consequence, several countries have discussed, enacted, or strengthened mandatory childhood immunization legislation. Mandatory immunization is seen as a "simple" solution to the problem.

April 8, 2019

Immunization stress-related responses: Improving our understanding of a type of adverse event following vaccination

C. Meghan McMurtry - PhD, C.Psych, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Guelph.

G. is a 15-year-old girl waiting in line to get her immunization at school. She starts to feel a bit dizzy and her heart starts to pound. G. becomes worried about what the needle is going to feel like. By the time she reaches the nurse, all she wants to do is get out of there. She faints immediately after the needle is removed.

March 8, 2019

Vaccine Acceptance in Canada: Building confidence, demand and resiliency

The CANVax Team

Vaccine acceptance has become a growing concern as we see outbreaks of diseases once thought to be under control and on their way to eradication. Despite the tremendous strides made in vaccine development, safety, and access, some parents continue to question the need for vaccines, their safety and effectiveness, and are hesitating to accept vaccines. Vaccine hesitancy is defined as the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines and is both complex and context specific, varying across time, place and vaccines. It is influenced by factors such as complacency, constraints (convenience) and confidence.

February 6, 2019

Immunizing kids is important. Helping them overcome pain and fear of immunization is important too.

Lucie Marisa Bucci - Senior Manager (Immunize Canada)

Immunizing school children is an effective way to increase coverage. Most public health jurisdictions in Canada have school immunization programs, which roll out meningococcal, hepatitis B and HPV vaccines, among others. The positive outcomes of these programs are numerous. Yet, we are just beginning to learn that a substantial number of children who receive vaccines at school have negative experiences. Often these negative experiences are attributed to pain and fear of needles. For some children, injection needles conjure anxiety and distress that can perpetuate into episodes of fainting, and eventually to vaccine refusals.