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Incomplete national data makes it hard to assess exactly how far along Canada is on vaccination

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Officials in Canada’s most populous province are not submitting key COVID-19 data to the federal government’s health agency, making it difficult to get a clear, national picture of how the first phase of the country’s vaccination program is progressing.

Since Dec. 19, provinces and territories have been reporting the number of people vaccinated in three target populations that are top priority groups in the first phase: adults living in group settings, adults over the age of 80 and health workers.

The data is gathered by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and published once a week on its vaccine coverage website — with one key exception.

“Data for Ontario are not included,” reads a disclaimer on the PHAC site.

The reason given is that the province’s data is “not broken down by key population groups.”

In an email in response to CBC’s request for more information, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Health said the ministry is working with PHAC to provide more data in “the near future.”

In a statement released on Sunday, the chair of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force outlined a list of priority recipients for vaccination that included some health-care workers and adults aged 80 and over as “next priority” groups.

The ministry also provided some general estimates to CBC of its progress vaccinating some of the key populations so far.