The Canadian National Vaccine Safety (CANVAS) Network is seeking hundreds of thousands of participants, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, in a web-based survey to track any potential adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Julie Bettinger
Dr. Julie Bettinger

"Tracking vaccine safety is a critically important task which CANVAS conducts for many vaccines," says BC Children's Hospital investigator Dr. Julie Bettinger, lead investigator for the CANVAS network and an associate professor at the University of British Columbia. "We are massively scaling up this work to find out whether and how often any adverse reactions occur after a COVID-19 vaccination."

Investigators aim to enrol 400,000 participants per vaccine across Canada, in B.C., Yukon, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. They aim to register a control group of approximately 50,000 unvaccinated participants to determine how often events similar to the adverse reactions reported amongst vaccinated people occur in the unvaccinated group.

Study participants will be asked to complete online surveys eight days after they receive the first COVID-19 vaccine, another eight days after the second dose – once they receive one – and then a final survey six months after that.

Non-vaccinated participants will need to complete up to three surveys. These surveys will estimate how much illness is expected in the community. Once those in the non-vaccinated group receive the vaccine they may fill out the vaccine surveys.

The CANVAS Network conducts active safetyWoman's arm bandaid surveillance for pandemic vaccines (e.g., H1N1 influenza vaccine in 2009), seasonal influenza vaccines (2010-2020) and other new vaccines (such as the meningococcal B vaccine in Quebec in 2014) to inform public health authorities about their safety.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada provided funding for the COVID-19 vaccines safety web survey project, which, as well as the five CANVAS sites, includes public health collaborators from four provinces and territories and the Canadian Immunization Research Network, of which CANVAS is a part.

To learn more about the study or to register, please visit: canvas-covid.ca