If I am taking medication (anti-inflammatory, aspirin) or vitamins, do I need to stop taking them before my appointment?
No. Continue taking any prescribed medications or vitamins as per usual. There is no need to adjust medications prior to getting your vaccine. If you are concerned or have additional questions, please contact your healthcare provider.
The vaccine was developed so fast, is it safe?
The short answer is: Yes.
The vaccine was developed quickly because there was a worldwide will to do so. However, the same critical steps needed to test the vaccine for safety and effectiveness were followed closely. In order to be declared safe and effective, a COVID-19 vaccine must pass certain tests and standards.
Like all vaccines, Health Canada reviews the safety and effectiveness of all COVID-19 vaccines that will be used throughout the country. Canada is recognized around the world for its high standards for drug and vaccine review, approvals and monitoring systems. The Government of Canada had real-time access to manufacturer clinical trial data, and works closely with the global regulatory community to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
Due to my health condition/medical history I am told I should talk to my doctor to see if I should get a vaccine, why?
Nearly everyone will be eligible to be immunized. However, some people were not included in vaccine clinical trials and vaccination, so it is important to consult with your health care provider to assess whether the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks. This includes:
- people with weakened immune systems, due to disease or treatment
- people with an autoimmune disorder
- people who are pregnant or breastfeeding
The COVID-19 vaccine may be offered with informed consent.
Can I get another vaccine around the same time as my COVD-19 vaccine?
Please speak with your health care provider if you had another vaccine in the past 14 days. While there are no medical concerns to prevent you from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine if you recently received another immunization, it is recommended that other vaccines be given at least 14 days before or 28 days after your two doses of COVID-19 vaccination.
Why are there different types of vaccines?
All vaccines are trying to achieve the same thing – immunity to COVID-19. Many vaccines will be evaluated and put through clinical trials to find out if they are both safe and effective. Not every vaccine that is developed will be approved. Having many different vaccines in development increases the chances that there will be one or more that will be shown to be safe and effective.
How long is the COVID vaccine effective?
There is not enough information currently available to say how long people will be protected from getting COVID-19 after receiving a vaccine. Vaccine developers are also looking at ways to boost the effectiveness of the vaccine.
What happens if you only get one dose and not two? Can you mix types of vaccine in the doses?
Getting both doses of the vaccine provides the fullest protection against COVID-19. You should receive the same type of COVID-19 vaccine for first and second doses, and this information is tracked in your immunization record to be sure.
What are the possible side effects from the vaccine?
As is the case with any vaccine, there could be side effects. This happens because the vaccine triggers your immune system to start fighting. Side effects are generally mild and might include tenderness at the site of the injection, a low fever, aching joints, a headache or lethargy. However, none of these symptoms should last more than a week, or lead to a high fever. If this happens, contact your health care provider.
A more serious side effect could be a severe allergic reaction–also known as anaphylaxis.
If you’re concerned about allergies or side effects, talk to your primary health care provider or call Health Links-Info Santé.
With different types of vaccines now available, which one should I choose?
All of the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in preventing COVID-19. When you’re eligible, choose to be immunized with the vaccine that’s available to you.
What should people who have already had a dose of AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine do for their second dose?
Manitoba public health officials will continue to monitor the situation and review the evidence. For the majority of people, the second dose is recommended up to four months after the first dose. During this time, it is expected evidence will continue to evolve about recommendations for use of second doses.
I tend to get light-headed and sometimes faint when I get needles. Is this going to be a problem at my vaccine appointment?
No. Please advise your immunizer when you arrive that you have a history of fainting when getting a needle. Your immunizer can help prevent this from happening, or provide appropriate support if you begin to feel faint.
How are vaccines approved in Canada?
Vaccination is one of the world’s greatest public health achievements. For over 50 years, vaccines have helped prevent and control the spread of deadly diseases and saved the lives of millions of infants, children and adults. For the COVID-19 vaccine, as for any vaccine, Health Canada will only approve a vaccine for public use if there is sufficient clinical data showing the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.
Is the vaccine safe if I’m pregnant?
Pregnant or breastfeeding people were not included in the vaccine clinical trials. Consult your health care provider to discuss the risks and benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
I have allergies, and I’ve heard people can have bad allergic reactions to this vaccine. What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction? What should I do?
There’s a small chance of an allergic reaction to a vaccine. This rare reaction affects about one in every million people who take the vaccine. It usually happens shortly after a person is immunized. Signs of an allergic reaction include:
- itchy rash,
- swelling of the face,
- sudden low blood pressure,
- abdominal pain and vomiting, or
- sneezing, coughing and difficulty breathing.
When you’re immunized, you will be asked to stay in the clinic for at least 15 minutes after vaccination, to monitor for unexpected reactions and deal with them quickly.
Your health care provider will then report the information to their public health department. These reports are tracked and investigated.
If you experience any unusual symptoms after your vaccination appointment, call your primary care provider for further advice.
Will the vaccine work if the virus mutates?
Small mutations do not affect how well the vaccine works. Scientists and health care providers around the world continue to monitor the effectiveness of the vaccines against new COVID-19 variants.
I’ve had COVID-19. Should I still get immunized?
You should be vaccinated even if you had, or suspected, you had COVID-19. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Although rare, we know that some people have been reinfected with the virus.
Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. In the meantime, it is recommended that people who have had COVID-19 in the past be immunized.
When will we reach herd immunity through vaccination?
It is difficult to say. Herd immunity depends on many factors, including how many people get vaccinated, how long it takes to get people vaccinated and how long the vaccine is effective.
We should all continue to follow the fundamentals. Stay home if you’re sick, practice physical distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands and keep practicing good cough and hand hygiene.
Does the second dose of the vaccine have to be the same brand and type as the first dose?
Yes. Right now, the plan is for people to get the same vaccine for their second dose.
Will we need booster shots in the future?
There is not enough information currently available, however, studies are underway about the long-term effectiveness of the vaccine. The results of these studies will help health care providers determine if booster shots are needed.