The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force Helping guide Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Helping to Guide Canada’s Epidemic Response2021-08-17T12:31:14-04:00

The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force’s mandate

On April 23, 2020, the Government of Canada launched the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF). We are charged with leading a Canada-wide effort to help determine the extent of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Canada (in the general population as well as in specific communities and priority populations), understand the nature of immunity following infection, and develop improved antibody testing methods. In December 2020, the Task Force was assigned an additional role in vaccine surveillance and, in addition, the Vaccine Surveillance Reference Group was formed.

The Task Force’s mandate supports the implementation of relevant research projects, aligning studies across Canada, and seeking to provide useful information to federal, provincial, and territorial decision-makers as they oversee responses to the COVID-19 pandemic to best protect Canadians.

Priority Areas of Research

Immune Science

Advancing our understanding of immunity: Is immunity a given once someone has had COVID-19? How long does it last? Are there factors that make immunity wane faster?

Seroprevalence Studies

Collecting serologic data: How many Canadians have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, suggesting they’ve had COVID-19? Are some populations more likely to get SARS-CoV-2 and how could we better protect them?

Immune Testing

Fine-tuning methods for accurate serologic testing: Which tests can detect the new variants? Are there antibody tests that can be developed giving us results in minutes?

Vaccine Surveillance

Supporting research partners from across Canada in a new collaboration that will study vaccine effectiveness and safety in the population at large and in high-priority groups.

Research Spotlight

Study results show subtle differences in antibody response between Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for older people

Long-term care (LTC) residents in Ontario who received the Pfizer vaccine had lower antibody responses to Alpha, Beta and Gamma than those vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine.

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CITF-funded Research Results

Older adults likely remain at higher risk for COVID-19 − particularly infections caused by variants of concern − even after vaccination

Immune science|

In a recent CITF-funded pre-print, therefore not yet peer-reviewed, Drs. Mark Brockman and Zabrina Brumme from Simon Fraser University and Dr. Marc Romney from the University of British Columbia studied immune responses following COVID-19 vaccination in over 150 adults aged 24-98 years. They found that although two doses of the [...]

Poor antibody response to the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for patients with chronic kidney disease

General vaccine surveillance|

Patients with chronic kidney disease, including those on dialysis, have been prioritized for vaccination due to increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes such as hospitalization and death. In a CITF-funded study now published in JAMA Network Open, several CITF and VSRG-affiliated researchers, including Drs. Michelle Hladunewich and Matthew Oliver report [...]

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SeroTracker: the SARS-CoV-2 serosurveillance knowledge hub

SeroTracker is a knowledge hub we support that tracks findings from SARS-CoV-2 serosurveillance efforts worldwide. Peruse the map and see how many people worldwide are estimated to have been infected with this coronavirus to date (based on published research).
Explore SeroTracker

What is serosurveillance and why is it important?

Serosurveillance is a common way of seeing how many people have been previously infected with a certain infectious agent, in this case SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. Blood samples from hundreds of thousands of Canadians are currently being tested to check levels of antibodies, which suggest a past infection. Serosurveillance can also help determine priority groups for vaccination and will be used to monitor the effectiveness of vaccines.

What does “vaccine surveillance” mean?

Vaccine surveillance includes studies of vaccine effectiveness (how good vaccines are at preventing severe disease, new infections, and transmission) and safety (identifying and quantifying the vaccine adverse effects). Although vaccines go through numerous trials before being approved for use, it is crucial to monitor their effectiveness and safety within a broader population and with various population groups (children, pregnant women, elderly, etc.).
See all FAQs

What is serosurveillance and why is it important?

Serosurveillance is a common way of seeing how many people have been previously infected with a certain infectious agent, in this case SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. Blood samples from hundreds of thousands of Canadians are currently being tested to check levels of antibodies, which suggest a past infection. Serosurveillance can also help determine priority groups for vaccination and will be used to monitor the effectiveness of vaccines.

What does “vaccine surveillance” mean?

Vaccine surveillance includes studies of vaccine effectiveness (how good vaccines are at preventing severe disease, new infections, and transmission) and safety (identifying and quantifying the vaccine adverse effects). Although vaccines go through numerous trials before being approved for use, it is crucial to monitor their effectiveness and safety within a broader population and with various population groups (children, pregnant women, elderly, etc.).
See all FAQs

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Seeking information on vaccine procurement and advice?

For those seeking information on vaccine procurement and advice, please note that it is the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force that advises the federal government on COVID-19 vaccine procurement and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization that advises the federal, provincial and territorial governments on vaccine delivery policy and priorities.

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