14508493

COVID-19 vaccines administered as of 5/07/2021

This Is Our Shot and we all need to act now. This Is Our Shot is a movement aimed to rally Canadians and encourage each other to replace vaccine hesitancy with confidence so that we can end the pandemic – together.

Join the movement, and let’s encourage our families and friends to take the vaccine when it is their turn. The #thisisourshotCA challenge is easy – post a picture of yourself with the This Is Our Shot t-shirt and challenge your friends and family to do the same.

Searching for a vaccine? Visit Vaccine Hunters Canada for help finding an appointment.

COVID-19 VACCINE INFORMATION

15,077,968 people in Canada have already received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s important to have questions and look after your health.

We are here to help empower you with the knowledge you need about vaccines so that you can feel confident about getting your shot and helping to end the pandemic.

Click for translated FAQs (available in 27 languages)

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

COVID-19 infection can result in death in ill and healthy people of any age. COVID-19 is highly contagious, especially the new variants.

Even if a person does not die of COVID-19, they may have long term complications including memory loss, fatigue, unexplained breathing difficulties, and damage to the lungs and heart. Clinics have already been set up to support the many COVID-19 patients who, although they are no longer infected, cannot go back to work or live a normal life.

The vaccine teaches our body’s immune system how to fight the virus and protect us from getting sick if we are exposed to COVID-19. The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19.

If enough people have immunity, the virus is less likely to spread. We need to vaccinate 70-80% of the population to achieve herd immunity and go back to our daily lives, reopen businesses, hug and see loved ones again.

No steps were skipped, and all safety procedures were followed. The vaccines were developed quickly because of technological advances and because non-medical parts of approval (bureaucratic processes and rubber-stamping) were fast-tracked.

There can be side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, but they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. The most common side effects are muscle soreness, headache, and fever/chills.

You will be monitored for any potential allergic reaction after vaccination.

Just like other vaccines, you cannot choose the specific brand you get. 

What is offered to you is the best one to keep you safe and protected as soon as possible, for as long as possible. 

All vaccines approved for use in Canada equally and effectively reduce hospitalization and serious illness, and all are 100% effective in preventing death from COVID-19.

You shouldn’t wait to get a vaccine. New virus variants are emerging that are causing more cases, hospitalizations and deaths, and mass vaccination is the only way to stop this.

COVID-19 vaccines should not be given at the same time as other vaccines. There should be a period of 14 days on either side of your COVID-19 vaccination where you do not receive other immunizations.

However, if a COVID-19 vaccine is given at the same time or within 14 days of another vaccine, neither dose should be repeated. Attempts should be made to schedule other vaccines where possible 14 days before or after each dose of COVID-19 vaccination.

The COVID-19 vaccines’ initial effectiveness is already very high after the first dose (80-92%) and lasts for at least a few months. Experience with other multi-dose vaccinations after a single dose suggest persistent protection could last 6 months or longer in adolescents and adults. Generally, vaccine manufacturing companies and national vaccine advisory bodies specify a minimum interval between vaccine doses but do not specify maximum intervals.

This is because for most vaccines, antibody levels (immunity) will go down over time and do not suddenly fall below protective levels. Even months or years later, another vaccine dose can boost antibodies (immunity) to higher levels.

In fact, for many vaccines, a longer interval to the booster dose results in higher antibody levels. High antibody levels are associated with longer duration of protection. So this is how we know that the 4 month interval between dose 1 and 2 of the COVID-19 vaccines is okay. 

Having said this, as vaccine supply in Canada increases, we may see reduced timelines between doses.

Everyone who receives the vaccine will still need to follow public health guidance. After you get a vaccine, it will still be extremely important to continue to practice preventive measures, including washing your hands, maintaining a safe physical distance, wearing a mask, and staying home when sick. There are several reasons this is important:

  • It takes a minimum of 2 weeks for your body to gain protection from the COVID-19 vaccine. This means that if you contracted COVID-19 before getting the vaccine, or within the 2 week period following the vaccine, you may still get sick from COVID-19. So if you experience symptoms of COVID-19 after you’ve been vaccinated, get tested.
  • The vaccine won’t stop everyone from getting COVID-19. For those who do get the virus, it is much less likely you will experience severe illness.
  • The available vaccines are highly effective, but you could be in the small number of people that don’t have immunity. You can still spread COVID-19 if you touch things and don’t wash your hands or interact with people in close proximity.

That varies between vaccines and variants.

Every COVID-19 vaccine will prevent severe illness/death from any of the variants currently circulating in Canada.

Even with vaccines showing lower effectiveness against certain strains, the manufacturers are creating new versions of their vaccines to work better against these new variants, so that you can probably get booster doses in future which will be effective in the months and years to come.

SAFETY & HEALTH

Immunization is safe. It is much safer to get immunized than to get this disease and potentially suffer long-term side effects. Millions of Canadians have already received a vaccine and the vaccines have been shown to be safe. The vaccine cannot alter your DNA.

If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, a weakened immune system, or are pregnant, check with your physician before getting vaccinated.

While it’s difficult to definitively say whether or not there are long-term side-effects, the medical and scientific community is confident in the long-term safety of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. mRNA vaccines have been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). As soon as the necessary information about the virus that causes COVID-19 was available, scientists began designing the mRNA instructions for cells to build the unique spike protein into an mRNA vaccine. In addition, cancer research has used mRNA to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells. Decades of studying mRNA have shown no long-term side-effects.

In addition, the medical and scientific community is confident in the vaccine’s long-term safety, because of the track record of Canada’s vaccine approval and safety monitoring system, both for individuals and globally. Overall, this means that the end data and safety tests are exactly the same as other vaccines that have been approved in Canada. Canada’s system has proven time and again that the data necessary to get through the approval process is sufficient to prove safety, even for the long-term.

If you use cannabis, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for you. 

When it’s time for your appointment though, we recommend that you are not high. This is not because of a vaccine safety concern (that marijuana interferes with the vaccine) but because the healthcare provider needs your informed consent before giving vaccines. Marijuana may impair (lessen) your ability to fully understand the health information and ask questions.

There are no studies around cannabis use and the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. There is emerging evidence suggesting that cannabis smoking can have negative consequences on a person’s respiratory system and immune competence so it is even more important to get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself from the virus if you smoke.

It is not recommended that you drink alcohol or come drunk to your vaccination appointment. This is not because of a vaccine safety concern (that alcohol interferes with the vaccine) but because the healthcare provider needs your informed consent before giving vaccines. Alcohol may impair (lessen) your ability to fully understand the health information and ask questions.

There are no studies around alcohol use and the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. People who struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD) may have a compromised (weaker) immune system and should talk to their healthcare provider. Expert opinion is that we do not expect a moderate amount of alcohol use will have a negative effect on the immune response to the vaccine.

Side-effects are not an indication of whether or not the vaccine is working.

It is true that side effects are normal signs that the vaccine is working and your body is building protection. However, this doesn’t mean you should be worried if you don’t have side-effects. For example,  the mRNA vaccines provided protective immunity to over 90% of recipients in the clinical trials, but more than 50% reported no side-effects. In other words, most people did not experience any reactions, but had full immunity.

So, if you didn’t feel any side effects after your COVID-19 vaccine, it’s not something to worry about—you still have the same protection as someone who experienced a side-effect!

Menstruation is a complex process, and can be influenced by many things, such as environmental changes, stress, sleep and some medications. The lining of the uterus is in fact considered to be an active part of the immune system. When your immune system is working hard because you’re vaccinated or sick, you may experience changes in how the endometrium reacts. In this way it is possible that the vaccine affects menstruation somehow.

But, one thing to keep in mind is that anytime you look at a large group of people, there will always be some people experiencing changes in their menstrual cycle. With hundreds of millions of vaccines being given worldwide, there will be some people who experience changes in their menstrual cycle too. Researchers are confident that the vaccine is safe, and that there is not enough data to suggest that there should be concerns over potential changes to the menstrual cycle. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is not shed after vaccination, so being around recently vaccinated individuals would not be expected to affect someone’s cycle either.

Any changes you experience in your menstrual cycle after getting the vaccine are temporary, so it shouldn’t be a reason not to get a shot. However, women with concerns should speak with their doctor since cycles can be delayed for other reasons as well.

Women: the vaccine has no impact on female fertility. We already have study results of women who were either vaccinated or developed an infection during the trials, and it has had NO impact on their ability to get pregnant or stay pregnant (ie. they don’t suffer miscarriages as a result). Since then, hundreds of thousands of women have received the vaccine and gotten pregnant and had uncomplicated pregnancies. 

So far, there’s no data linking the vaccines to changes in menstruation. One unusual period is no cause for alarm. There is a long list of triggers that can cause changes to the menstrual cycle, including stress, illness and changes in diet and physical activity. While some women may anecdotally note a temporary change in their period, there is no evidence that it has any longterm effect on your menstruation or affect menstrual cycles in people around you.

 Men: the vaccine has no impact on male fertility. In fact, men who get infected with COVID-19 have a higher chance of problems with erectile dysfunction, producing less sperm or getting testicular infections.

No. The protein used in the vaccine never interacts with or alters your DNA. It is naturally destroyed within hours of vaccination, leaving behind only the instructions on making antibodies if you ever get exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

ELIGIBLITY

Even if you had COVID-19 in the past, it is uncertain how long immunity will last. It is possible to get COVID-19 again. You should still get the vaccine to protect yourself and others.

There are very few reasons someone should not get the COVID-19 vaccine.

You should not get the vaccine if you:

  1. Have serious allergies to any of the ingredients in the vaccines: an ingredient in the mRNA vaccines that have been associated with a rare but serious allergy (anaphylaxis) is polyethylene glycol (PEG), which can be found in some cosmetics, skincare products, laxatives, some processed foods and drinks and other products. Note: PEG is not in the AstraZeneca vaccine and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. An ingredient in the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines that has been associated with a rare but serious allergy is Polysorbate 80 – It is also found in medical preparations (e.g., vitamin oils, tablets and anticancer agents) and cosmetics.
  2. Have had a life-threatening reaction to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or to any part of the vaccine.

Talk to your health care provider if you have had an anaphylactic reaction but do not know the cause. Serious, life-threatening allergic reactions to vaccines (anaphylaxis) are extremely rare – much rarer than people think. Anaphylaxis is preventable in many cases and treatable in all cases. All immunizing healthcare providers in Canada are required to be trained and actively watch for and treat anaphylaxis immediately. Rarely, based on the recommendations of an allergist and Medical Health Officer, a person may receive a vaccine in a hospital setting.

In general, it is safe for you to get the COVID-19 vaccine, even if you are recovering from an illness (e.g., shingles), but if you have a new illness preventing you from performing your regular activities, you should wait to get immunized until you have recovered. This will help to distinguish potential side effects of the vaccine from worsening of your other illness.‎ Also, waiting till you are recovered from an infectious illness ensures that you’re not putting others at risk of infection when you come for your vaccine. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home and get tested.

People who are sick with COVID-19 should wait until they have recovered from acute illness and public health has told them they no longer need to isolate. It is important that you wait the full isolation period before getting the vaccine so that you do not expose people at your vaccination clinic to the virus.

If you had COVID-19 you should still get the vaccine once you have recovered. This is because you may not be immune to the virus that causes COVID-19 and you could get infected again. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last three months you are expected to have protection for the short term and can have your COVID-19 vaccination deferred up to 3 months.

The Canadian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SOGC), the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, and public health experts in Canada all advise that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be prioritized and offered vaccination at any time (in any trimester) during pregnancy and during breastfeeding if they are eligible and no contraindications exist. If you have questions, and you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding, speak to your health care provider about COVID-19 vaccines.

Nearly everyone will be able to safely receive the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines, and there are no significant concerns about safety for those with weakened immune systems or auto-immune disease. It is possible that the vaccine may not work as expected in people who have a weakened immune system. If you have questions and have a weakened immune system or auto-immune disease, speak to your healthcare provider about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nearly everyone will be able to safely receive the vaccine, although a very small number of people may need to avoid vaccination due to severe allergies to parts of the vaccine. In the context of ongoing risk of COVID-19, most individuals can be offered vaccination. In fact, people with underlying health conditions that are clinically extremely vulnerable may be more prone to complications from Covid-19 infection and should get the vaccine as soon as it is available to them.

No. The COVID-19 vaccines contain no meat products, no fetal products, and contain no ingredients that would be restricted for dietary or religious reasons.

AFTER VACCINATION

Yes. It is still important to practice public health measures until most people are vaccinated.

It takes about 2 weeks after the second dose for the body to build immunity after vaccination. Someone could be infected with the virus just before or just after vaccination and get sick, because the vaccine didn’t have enough time to provide protection.

The COVID-19 vaccines’ initial effectiveness is already very high after the first dose (80-92%) and lasts for at least a few months. Experience with other multi-dose vaccinations after a single dose suggest persistent protection could last 6 months or longer in adolescents and adults. Generally, vaccine manufacturing companies and national vaccine advisory bodies specify a minimum interval between vaccine doses but do not specify maximum intervals.

This is because for most vaccines, antibody levels (immunity) will go down over time and do not suddenly fall below protective levels. Even months or years later, another vaccine dose can boost antibodies (immunity) to higher levels.

In fact, for many vaccines, a longer interval to the booster dose results in higher antibody levels. High antibody levels are associated with longer duration of protection. So this is how we know that the 4 month interval between dose 1 and 2 of the COVID-19 vaccines is okay. 

Having said this, as vaccine supply in Canada increases, we may see reduced timelines between doses.

No. Getting any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccine, will not affect the results of a COVID-19 test as it is not a live vaccine.

We can’t say with certainty, but it is likely that you can still carry the virus even if you’re vaccinated. We do know that the vaccine will protect people from getting sick from the virus, but it’s possible that you could still carry the virus and be contagious to others even though you got your immunization. We will learn more as the clinical trials continue and real world evidence emerges. In the meantime, we’ll need to continue wearing our masks, practicing physical distancing, and keep following public health recommendations until enough Canadians are vaccinated.

We don’t know yet how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. Studies on the mRNA vaccines currently show that people who were vaccinated had a very strong immunity to COVID for at least 6 months. It looks like immunity will last a while, but studies need to follow this over time.

At this point, we’re not sure if immunity will last a year or 10 years, or if there will be a need for a booster shot at some point.

Although studies are underway where they are testing benefits of mixing different types of vaccine to see if it boosts immunity levels or provides better protection against variants, at this time in Canada your second dose of vaccine will likely be the same one you got for your first dose.

It is NOT advisable to try to mix and match vaccines on your own.

The answers on this site were developed with information from the CDC and Immunize BC. The information will be updated during the campaign as information develops on the vaccines. See below for printable versions of this FAQ available in 27 languages developed by 19 to Zero.

The campaign

Anyone can participate in the #ThisIsOurShotCA campaign. By participating, you are helping spread the message that we can end the pandemic in Canada by getting vaccinated. 

HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

  1. Get the vaccine when it is your turn.
  2. Take part in the #ThisIsOurShotCA challenge by buying a shirt and posting a picture or video wearing it. Tag your friends and family and ask them to take part in the challenge by doing the same thing.
  3. Share your favourite #ThisIsOurShotCA posts to help more people see the message.
  4. Wear your shirt to your vaccination appointment and take a selfie of you getting your vaccine. Post it using the #ThisIsOurShotCA hashtag.

 

You will be directed to our partner’s website to make your purchase. All proceeds go to Kids Help Phone.

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 mental health national service offering bilingual (English and French) professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people.

Latest News

CBC Dr. Samir Gupta discusses rare AstraZeneca blood clots

Dr. Samir Gupta, Canada Tonight medical contributor, discusses Quebec confirming the first death related to rare AstraZeneca-linked blood clots.

Read more

Simerpreet on Omni Television

The South Asian COVID Task Force is hosting town halls to answer your questions about vaccines. Here’s more from Dr. Simerpreet Sandhawalia.

Read more

This is our Shot interview with Global News to end vaccine hesitancy

Doctors and other front-line professionals, backed by Canadian celebrities, have banded together to get accurate vaccine information to those most at risk of contracting COVID-19.

Read more