CPHA Canvax

Project Title: Enhancing Adult Immunization Coverage in Prince Edward Island
Funding Recipient: Chief Public Health Office, PEI Department of Health and Wellness
Project Contact: Erin Bentley – Senior Public Health Policy Officer  (ebentley@ihis.org) 
Project Period: March 7th, 2017 – February 28th, 2019

About the Project

Adult patients tend to see many different health care providers (HCPs), including specialists who may not be vaccine providers.  This complicates coordination and reduces the likelihood that patients’ vaccination needs are routinely assessed and needed vaccines are offered.  This project is implementing a multi-faceted, province-wide initiative to increase adult immunization rates by: upgrading HCP capacity to identify under and unimmunized individuals; enhancing HCPs capacity to communicate effectively with their patients about immunization; and, developing a targeted communications strategy and social marketing campaign to promote adult immunization.


The overall goal of the project is to implement and evaluate the impact of an enhanced immunization assessment process on adult immunization rates in PEI.


The project objectives are:

  1. Development and pilot of an Adult Immunization Assessment Tool (IAT)
    • To improve access to adult immunization on PEI through timely opportunities for immunizations.
  2. Enhancement of PEI’s Adult Immunization Registry
    • To improve the ability of health care providers to assess and deliver timely and accurate adult immunizations in order to prevent missed immunization opportunities and over-immunization
  3. Public Communications Campaign
    • To create the culture among Islanders where immunization is given the same priority for adults as it is for children
  4. Project Evaluation
    • To determine if the interventions impact the KABB of adults and result in the adult obtaining the recommended immunizations.  
  5. Knowledge translation
    • To ensure the project outcomes and transferability are effectively communicated.


Short Term

1.    Increased awareness and knowledge among partners and stakeholders
2.    Increased provider competencies
3.    Increased accuracy in immunization and decreased missed immunization opportunities 
4.    Increased knowledge and awareness among Island adults


1.    Increased immunization seeking and uptake by adults
2.    Evidence- informed materials and commitment to communications strategies
3.    Increased operational budget allocated for vaccine procurement and immunization administration

Long Term

1.    Change in culture that places the same level of importance on adult immunization as immunization of children.
2.    VPD and outbreaks of VPD are prevented.

The challenge that the project addresses

Childhood immunization does not provide lifelong immunity against some diseases such as tetanus (lockjaw) and diphtheria and adults need booster doses of these vaccines. Adults also benefit from immunization against diseases that most typically affect adults, such as varicella zoster (shingles). However, studies suggest that despite setting national targets for adult immunization, health care provider knowledge and beliefs about immunization, as well as publicly funded vaccines, adult immunization rates remain low in Canada. In addition to the mortality and quality of life implications of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs), results from one epidemiological model suggested that the economic impact of four adult VPDs (influenza, pneumococcal disease, herpes zoster, and pertussis) is considerable, so it is important to address this issue and to increase the vaccination rates for adults.  

About the Chief Public Health Office of PEI

The Chief Public Health Office (CPHO) is responsible for health protection programs as legislated under the Public Health Act, and collaborating with partners in areas of health promotion to proactively support Islanders in leading healthy lives. The division conducts surveillance and monitors provincial health trends to help inform program and public health policy development. Surveillance and evaluation for immunization is conducted by Population Health, Surveillance and Assessment team under the leadership of the Provincial Epidemiologist and policy support is provided by the Senior Public Health Policy Officer.  Similar projects and studies have been successfully completed by the CPHO in the past. The CPHO works collaboratively with immunization providers in Health PEI, the single health authority in PEI, and other external immunization providers including pharmacists.