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Safety First! The Race For a COVID-19 Vaccine

This lesson is meant for grades 8+

What are the steps in making a new vaccine?

Making a vaccine usually takes a very long time. Part of the reason it takes so long is because vaccines must go through a very thorough approval process. In fact, did you know that it’s more difficult to get a vaccine approved compared to other medicines? This is because vaccines are held to the highest safety standards. This is important since they are given to healthy people, including children. They have to go through so much testing to prove that they are safe and that they work before they are allowed to be used. On average, it takes about 10 years or longer for a vaccine to be developed, tested, and finally approved for use. Even then, the work doesn’t stop there. Once a vaccine has been given to the public, there are several advanced systems in place all over the world to carefully monitor and detect any vaccine safety concerns.

Developing COVID-19 vaccines

Countries all over the world are doing their part to help find vaccines for COVID-19. What that looks like may be different depending on the country, so let's take a look at Canada as an example. In Canada, all vaccines (including vaccines for COVID-19) are approved by Health Canada in the same way. However, during a pandemic there are many ways to speed-up the vaccine development process without compromising vaccine efficacy and safety.

Click on the boxes below to compare the process of developing a vaccine and what we are doing right now to make COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible.

Post Marketing Surveillance

Even after all of that testing, the work doesn’t stop once a vaccine is approved. Health Canada continues to monitor the vaccine for as long as it is used to ensure it is still protecting Canadians, while also looking for any side effects.



Dr. Theresa Tam is Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer (aka Canada's top Doc!). In a recent speech she said “Canada can’t wait 10 years for a COVID-19 vaccine, but we also can not and will not compromise safety and efficacy.



Watch the video below to learn more about how fast a vaccine can be made:


All lessons & quizzes are free!

 This was just one of the lessons in our Immune System section. There are over 60 lessons on Kids Boost Immunity just like this one on a variety of subjects. Each lesson includes a quiz, and every time a student scores 80% or higher on a quiz, we will donate life-saving vaccines to UNICEF Canada. Sign up now!

To see other sample lessons, click here.

  Sep 18, 2020