Before Your Vaccination

The following information was developed for this website by medical professionals and public health experts using Canadian government and other scientific and medical sources. It is not intended as medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

Last revision: 2021-08-13

Yes, people who have previously had COVID-19 should still be fully vaccinated with two doses. Experts don’t yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness or possible COVID longhaul symptoms.

If you have recently had COVID-19, you should wait until you are feeling better and your period of self-isolation is over before receiving the vaccine.

If you received an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna) as your first dose, you will be offered an mRNA vaccine as your second dose. It is preferred that you receive the same type of vaccine as you had the first time, unless it’s not readily available or unknown, in which case it’s ok to receive the other type of mRNA vaccine. Both are equally safe and effective.

If you received AstraZeneca as your first dose, you may choose to get AstraZeneca as your second dose, but the NACI is now recommending that you take an mRNA vaccine for your second dose.

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

The important point is that you shouldn’t wait to get vaccinated with two doses for full protection. New virus variants are emerging that are causing more cases, hospitalizations and deaths, and mass vaccination is the only way to stop this.

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 two 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 two-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 interact with people in close proximity or do not follow public health measures.

No, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is entirely voluntary. It is your choice whether or not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, some employers, institutions and places of business may require you to be fully vaccinated for you to work/study/enter, and proof of vaccination will be required for travel into and out of Canada.

All residents of Canada, regardless of immigration status, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. You do not need to have a valid PHN. Currently, only individuals 18 years of age and older are eligible to receive the Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.