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Ask a Librarian - COVID-19 vaccines and the immunization roll-out

Last updated: March 2, 2021 - Originally published: January 26, 2021

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Joule’s Ask a Librarian team is committed to curating free evidence-based resources related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to update the Ask a Librarian: COVID-19 post with current clinical summaries, article collections, guidance and more. For public health information and resources for physicians and patients, visit the CMA’s COVID-19 page.

Here we focus on information sources specific to COVID-19 vaccines and the immunization roll-out.

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Clinical summaries


(Included with membership. Access now)  - COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) - see Prevention and Screening Immunization section. Updated March 2, 2021.

Recent updates

2 Mar 2021: FDA issues Emergency Use Authorization for Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 disease in persons ≥ 18 years old (FDA Press Release 2021 Feb 27) View in topic

2 Mar 2021: ChAdOx1-S [recombinant] (AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, COVISHIELD) receives authorization under interim order by Health Canada for use in persons ≥ 18 years old for active immunization to prevent COVID-19, with the following specific considerations for administration in Canada (Health Canada Press Release 2021 Feb 26) View in topic

22 Feb 2021: COVID-19 Vaccine (ChAdOx1-S [recombinant]) from AstraZeneca Pty Ltd granted provisional approval by Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 in persons ≥ 18 years old, with the following specific considerations for administration in Australia (TGA Press Release 2021 February 16) View in topic

19 Feb 2021: heterologous recombinant adenovirus type 26 (rAd26-S) and type 5 (rAd5-S) vector-based Gam-COVID-Vac vaccine may be 91.6% effective against COVID-19 in adults in Russia (Lancet 2021 Feb 2 early online) View in topic

10 Feb 2021: vaccination with SARS-CoV-2 stabilized trimeric form of spike (S)-protein (SCB-2019c) reported to be safe and induce humoral response in healthy adults ≤ 75 years old (Lancet 2021 Jan 29 early online) View in topic

4 Feb 2021: COVID-19 mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 (Comirnaty) from Pfizer-BioNTech receives provisional approval by New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe) for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 in persons ≥ 16 years old (New Zealand Ministry of Health Media Release 2021 Feb 3) View in topic

3 Feb 2021: COVID-19 vaccine (ChAdOx1-S [recombinant]) from AstraZeneca receives conditional marketing authorization by European Commission for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 in persons ≥ 18 years old (European Medicines Agency [EMA] 2021 Jan 29) View in topic

28 Jan 2021: Moderna mRNA vaccine authorized for use by World Health Organization (WHO 2021 Jan 25) View in topic

27 Jan 2021: COVID-19 mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 (Comirnaty) from Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd granted provisional approval by Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia (TGA Press Release 2021 Jan 25) View in topic

25 Jan 2021: CDC Interim clinical considerations for use of mRNA COVID-19 second doses (CDC 2021 Jan 21) View in topic

22 Jan 2021: adenovirus-vectored vaccine expressing SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (Ad26.COV2.S) reported to induce humoral response by day 29 and be associated with grade 3 adverse event in 1%-7% of healthy adults (N Engl J Med 2021 Jan 13 early online) View in topic

22 Jan 2021: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine multiple dose vials contain 6 doses (instead of 5 doses) once diluted (FDA Frequently Asked Questions 2021 Jan 7) View in topic


BMJ Best Practice

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). See “Vaccines”. Updated February 26, 2021.



Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Vaccines to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection. Literature review current through February 2021. Updated: March 1, 2021.


Clinical information hubs and toolkits

Center for Effective Practice - CEP Providers | COVID-19 Vaccines

Elsevier - COVID-19 Healthcare Hub: Vaccines Toolkit

Public Health Agency of Canada - Tool Kit for Health Care Providers 


Evidence reviews

American Family Physician

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Daily Research Briefs

March 1, 2021, Research Update

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen Biotech) Vaccine Efficacy 66% in FDA Report.

Written by Mark H. Ebell MD, MS, on February 24, 2021. (Source: FDA briefing document: Janssen Ad26.COV2.S vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19. Prepared for the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting, February 26, 2021. 


February 25, 2021, Research Update

Initial Public Report of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness. (CAUTION: This data is from a press release; there is no scientific publication as of February 14, 2021.)

Written by John Hickner on February 14, 2021. Source: Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson announces single-shot Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate met primary endpoints in interim analysis of its phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial. January 20, 2021.


February 24, 2021, Research Update

Initial Results of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine. 

Written by John Hickner, MD, MS, on February 14, 2021. (Source: Voysey M, Costa Clemens SA, Madi SA, et al.; Oxford COVID Vaccine Trial Group. Single-dose administration and the influence of the timing of the booster dose on immunogenicity and efficacy of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) vaccine: a pooled analysis of four randomised trials [published online February 1, 2021]. Lancet. 2021. 


February 19, 2021, Research Update

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Is 94% Effective. 

Written by John Hickner, MD, MS, on February 12, 2021. (Source: Baden LR, El Sahly HM, Essink B, et al.; COVE Study Group. Efficacy and safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 vaccineN Engl J Med. 2021;384(5):403-416.)


February 9, 2021, Research Update

Anaphylaxis to the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Occurs in one in 400,000 Doses

Written by John Hickner, MD, MS, on January 26, 2021. (Source: Allergic reactions including anaphylaxis after receipt of the first dose of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine — United States, December 21, 2020–January 10, 2021. MMWR. 2021;70(4):125-129.)

(Source: Shimabukuro TT, Cole M, Su JR. Reports of anaphylaxis after receipt of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in the US—December 14, 2020–January 18, 2021 [published online February 12, 2021]. JAMA. 


February 8, 2021, Research Update

Anaphylaxis to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Occurs in One in 200,000 doses. 

Written by John Hickner, MD, MS, on January 26, 2021. (Source: Allergic reactions including anaphylaxis after receipt of the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, December 14–23, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021;70(2):46-51.)


McMaster University

COVID-19 Evidence Alerts – weekly update of high-quality clinical studies with free email notifications

Recent reviews

Single-dose administration and the influence of the timing of the booster dose on immunogenicity and efficacy of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) vaccine: a pooled analysis of four randomised trials. Voysey M, Costa Clemens SA, Madhi SA, et al.   Lancet. Reviewed February 27, 2021.

Safety and efficacy of an rAd26 and rAd5 vector-based heterologous prime-boost COVID-19 vaccine: an interim analysis of a randomised controlled phase 3 trial in Russia. Logunov DY, Dolzhikova IV, Shcheblyakov DV, et al.  Lancet. Reviewed February 14, 2021.


Primer AI - COVID-19 primer

Vaccine Efficacy & Vaccine Hesitancy  – dashboard for latest research and trending news and articles on vaccines


University of Pennsylvania Center for Evidence-based Practice

Penn Medicine COVID-19  Guidance Summaries


Veterans Affairs (VA) Evidence Synthesis Program

COVID-19 Evidence Reviews

Recent reviews

A rapid review of recent advances in diagnosis, treatment and vaccination for COVID-19 

Umakanthan S, Chattu VK, Ranade AV, et al. | AIMS Public Health. Aim: To give a detailed insight into the recent trends of diagnosis and therapeutic options for COVID-19

Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2): a systematic review for potential vaccines 

Bhatta M, Nandi S, Dutta S, et al. | Hum Vaccin Immunother. Aim: To analyze the availability, development and status of new COVID-19 vaccine candidates as well as the status of vaccines for other diseases that might be effective against SARS-CoV-2 infection.


A Rapid Systematic Review of Public Responses to Health Messages Encouraging Vaccination against Infectious Diseases in a Pandemic or Epidemic   

Lawes-Wickwar S, Ghio D, Tang MY, et al. | Vaccines. Aim: To identify and synthesise evidence relating to effective messaging for encouraging vaccination in order to prevent virus transmission during pandemics or epidemics.


Do interventions containing risk messages increase risk appraisal and the subsequent vaccination intentions and uptake? - A systematic review and meta-analysis   

Parsons JE, Newby KV, French DP | Br J Health Psychol. Aim: To examine interventions reported in the literature to see whether those that include risk messages have been successful in influencing risk appraisals and the subsequent intentions and uptake of vaccination.


The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Immunization Campaigns and Programs: A Systematic Review   

Lassi Z, Naseem R, Salam RA, et al. | Int J Environ Res Public Health. Aim: To review the evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immunization campaigns and programs.


A systematic review of interventions for reducing parental vaccine refusal and vaccine hesitancy   

Sadaf A, Richards JL, Glanz J, et al | Vaccine. Aim: To amass and evaluate the literature on interventions to decrease parental vaccine refusal and hesitancy toward recommended childhood and adolescent vaccines.

Emerging evidence about COVID-19 vaccines 

NSW Health COVID-19 Critical Intelligence Unit. Aim: To review the evidence on the efficacy, safety and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.


Articles and article collections

CMAJ articles

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine: an ethics-based framework for shared decision-making. Jonathan S. Zipursky, Rebecca A Greenberg, Cynthia Maxwell and Tali Bogler. CMAJ March 01, 2021 193 (9) E312-E314

Medical experimentation and the roots of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Ian Mosby and Jaris Swidrovich. CMAJ February 24, 2021 cmaj.210112

Canada’s long road to a vaccine injury compensation program. Terry Murray. CMAJ February 22, 2021 193 (8) E294-E295

Feds update immunization advice with Moderna vaccine approval. Lauren Vogel. CMAJ January 18, 2021 193 (3) E108-E109


See links to additional articles and article collections in our COVID-19 post


Vaccine trials, monographs and tracking

Epocrates COVID-19 Drug Therapy Trial Updates – links to trials and resources focused on therapeutics.

Government of Canada –  COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker – Real-time reporting of doses administration across Canada. Updated March 1, 2021.

Government of Canada –  COVID-19 vaccines and treatments portal –  Information on vaccines and treatments authorized for COVID-19, as well as those currently under review. Updated March 1, 2021.

Government of Canada –  Vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 – progress, clinical trials, rollout and safety. Updated December 16, 2020.

Health Canada –  COVID-19 Vaccines - Information on COVID-19 vaccines including authorized vaccines, types of vaccines and on-going safety monitoring. Updated February 26, 2021.

Lexicomp –  Lexi-Drugs COVID-19 Vaccine (mRNA) monograph

Lexicomp – Lexi-Drugs Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Tracker (includes links to trials)

Milken Institute – COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Tracker – Updated March 1, 2021.

Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (US) - COVID-19 vaccine tracker


Guidelines and other information


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Different COVID-19 Vaccines. Updated January 15, 2021.

International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) - “expedite and streamline the development, authorisation and availability of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines worldwide.”

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Vaccines Q&A Updated February 19, 2021.

 World Health Organization - COVID-19 vaccines. Updated February 18, 2021.



Indigenous Services Canada – COVID-19 vaccines and Indigenous peoples. Updated February 25, 2021.

Public Health Agency of Canada – Guidance on the prioritization of initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine(s). Publication date: December 18, 2020.

Public Health Agency of Canada – Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines. Updated March 1, 2021.

Public Health Agency of Canada – Vaccines and treatments for COVID-19: Vaccine rollout. Updated February 25, 2021.



British Columbia

BC Centre for Disease Control – COVID-19 vaccination at a glance. Updated March 1, 2021

Doctors of BC -  Vaccine roll-out toolkit for doctors’ offices –- provides products for doctors and their staff to use to address questions from patients about the COVID-19 vaccine. Updated: January 2021.

Government of British Columbia - COVID-19 Immunization Plan. Updated March 1, 2021.

Immunize BC - COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions. Updated March 1, 2021.


Government of Yukon – COVID_19 Vaccine – vaccine schedule and appointment booking, vaccine strategy and rollout schedule. No date.

Northwest Territories

Government of the Northwest Territories - COVID-19 Vaccine – includes vaccine information in multiple languages. Updated March 2, 2021.


Government of Alberta - COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Updated February 28, 2021.

Alberta Health Services – COVID-19 Immunization booking. Updated March 1, 2021.


Government of Saskatchewan - COVID-19 Vaccine - delivery strategy, vaccine information, and information for health care workers. No date.


Province of Manitoba – COVID-19 Vaccines – includes Q &As, Information for Health Professionals, and eligibility criteria. Updated March 2, 2021.


Nunavut Department of Health - COVID-19 Vaccination – includes vaccine information, rollout and FAQs. No date.


Government of Ontario - COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario – vaccination status, safety and rollout. Updated March 2, 2021.

Ontario College of Family Physicians - COVID-19 Vaccines – curated list of provincial and federal vaccine information. No date.

Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table - A Strategy for the Mass Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines in Ontario Based on Age and Neighbourhood. Updated February 26, 2021.

Public Health Ontario - COVID-19 Vaccines. Updated January 13, 2021.


Government of Quebec - Progress of the COVID-19 vaccination – vaccine development, safety and priority groups. Updated March 2, 2021

New Brunswick

Government of New Brunswick – Vaccine – development, rollout and information for health professionals. No date.

Nova Scotia

Government of Nova Scotia - Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine – includes immunization plan, supply and distribution, and vaccine data. No date.

Nova Scotia Health - COVID-19 Vaccine – vaccine information and distribution plan. No date.

Prince Edward Island

Government of Prince Edward Island -  COVID-19 Vaccines and Immunization Phased Approach – vaccination status, rollout schedule, and safety. Updated January 12, 2021.


Government of Newfoundland and Labrador – COVID-19 Immunization Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador – vaccine information, administration and resources for health care professionals. No date.


Ethics and medical-legal resources

Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) – Vaccination - “As the COVID-19 vaccination rollout expands, there are a number of medical-legal considerations physicians will want to be aware of.”

Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics - Coronavirus Ethics and Policy Insights and Resources. Updated March 2, 2021.

National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy/ Institut national de santé publique (Québec) – Public Health Ethics and COVID-19: Vaccination – Selected Resources. Updated December 2020.


Webinars and podcasts

Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada. COVID-19 vaccine foundations webinar for health care providers

National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases. NCCID hosts the Public Health Agency of Canada COVID-19 vaccine webinars for health care providers

New England Journal of Medicine - COVID-19 vaccine training.


Patient information

Canadian Medical Association, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Questions and answers on COVID-19 – See Vaccines and Vaccination section (current as of March 1, 2021).

EBSCO - Patient decision aid for Covid-19 Vaccination. Updated January 27, 2021.

Immunize BC -  COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions. Updated March 2, 2021.


MayoClinic - COVID-19 vaccines: Get the facts

Ontario Ministry of Health - Vaccine safety.


Pre-populated literature searches

Vaccines in PubMed search by the SMHS & EMHS Library and Information Service

Google Scholar Pfizer or Moderna vaccines search by Dean Giustini – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)—For Beginners to Experts - University of British Columbia.


Need more information or have a more focused clinical question on COVID-19 vaccines or any other clinical topic of interest? Contact the Ask a Librarian team to request a literature search.

This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. The opinions stated by the authors are made in a personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect those of the Canadian Medical Association and its subsidiaries including Joule.

About the author(s)

CMA Joule’s medical librarians are the professionals behind “Ask a Librarian”, a service for all CMA members looking for clinical search expertise. This experienced team of librarians can support you by searching on your behalf, teaching you effective search strategies or training you to use our clinical resources.