Last updated: May 7, 2021 at 4:15 p.m.
COVID-19 vaccines tell our body to make antibodies that protect us from COVID-19. The antibodies can protect us from getting sick with COVID-19, as well as from getting and spreading the virus.
Health Canada has approved four vaccines. These vaccines do not have the COVID-19 virus in them and cannot give us COVID-19
Until most people are vaccinated (herd immunity), you still need to:
Health care workers and staff must still wear personal protective equipment (PPE), even after they get their vaccine.
Currently, if you are identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 you will need to self-isolate, even if you are vaccinated.
Learn more about how to reduce virus spread.
Three Health Canada approved vaccines require two doses. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine only needs one dose.
It takes 2 weeks after getting vaccinated to be protected. One vaccine dose is effective against getting seriously sick. Protection is 80% after the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Protection is 90% after the second dose. Your protection will not suddenly go down. Extending the time between doses means that more people can get the vaccine so we can save more lives.
Like all medicine, some people may have side effects from the vaccine. If these side effects happen they usually last for 1 to 3 days.
Common side effects:
Some side effects are more common after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Learn more about rare side effects with the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine.
After your vaccine please stay at the clinic for 15 minutes. You will be monitored for any reactions. In very rare cases, serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) can occur. Allergic reactions can be treated and are usually temporary. Get medical attention if you get allergic reactions such as hives, itching, swelling of the face and throat, and/or trouble breathing.
The vaccine contains an active ingredient that gives our body instructions to make antibodies. Other vaccine ingredients include lipids (fats), salts, sugars and buffers.
COVID-19 vaccines do not contain eggs, gelatin (pork), gluten, latex, preservatives, antibiotics or aluminum.
People with allergies to any of the vaccine ingredients should not get the vaccine. If you get a serious reaction after your first dose, do not get the second dose. Talk to your health care provider if you are unsure about which ingredients you are allergic to.
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. PEG can also be found in laxatives, makeup, skin care products, personal lubricants, toothpastes, and some contact lenses. It is also in cough syrup, over-the-counter medications, and in some food and drinks.
Tromethamine is in the Moderna vaccine. It helps to make the vaccine stable. Tromethamine can be found in dyes used for CT or MRI scans, medications, cosmetics, perfumes and skin creams.
Polysorbate-80 is in the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines. It is used to hold (or bind) the vaccine ingredients together. Polysorbate-80 can be found in most processed food, sauces, condiments, soups, ice cream, chewing gum, soaps, creams, bath gels, shampoo, body butter, cosmetics, vitamins, heart medication and contraceptives (birth control).
Pregnant individuals are able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at any point in their pregnancy. Many people who are pregnant have gotten very sick from COVID-19 requiring hospitalization and critical care. Getting vaccinated is safe and an important way to be protected in pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor or midwife if you have questions about getting vaccinated and to understand benefits of getting the vaccine compared to the risks of getting the COVID-19 infection. For many people, getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the safest choice.
The Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologists of Canada also recommends pregnant people get vaccinated in pregnancy. Many pregnant people who get COVID-19 can have mild symptoms. However, especially with the new variants spreading in Ontario, some can get very sick and develop respiratory complications that need care in the hospital. Giving birth too early in pregnancy (preterm birth) may be more common.
Vaccines can protect against these variants and lower the risk of severe illness while pregnant. All COVID-19 vaccines are safe in pregnancy and are being used around the world.
If you are planning on becoming pregnant, it is recommended to get both doses of the vaccine ahead of pregnancy (where possible) when it’s available to you. There is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine.
If you are pregnant or become pregnant soon after getting the first dose of the vaccine you will have to decide if you should get the second dose. The decision should be made by looking at the risks of not being completely vaccinated during pregnancy.
While COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials did not include people who were pregnant or breastfeeding, many people who are pregnant and have been vaccinated are being followed to ensure the vaccine continues to be safe.
People with stable health conditions can get vaccinated. Conditions include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, respiratory diseases, including asthma or COPD, hepatitis B, C and HIV.
People with a weak immune system because of illness, treatment or an autoimmune condition:
People taking medication that make their immune system weak may be able to schedule their vaccine and treatment to get the best protection.
People of all levels of ability can get COVID-19. Some people with disabilities may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19. For example, those who require daily service provision or who reside in congregate care settings may be at higher risk.
Most people should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Review information about Vaccine Eligibility to see if you can get your COVID-19 vaccine now. Caregivers may also be able to get the vaccine at the same time.
See the interactive map of the City Immunization Clinics to find clinic locations and information about accessibility and accommodations.
Bring your mobility device with you to the appointment, if you use one. One support person can accompany you, if needed. See What to Expect at City Immunization Clinics for more information.
If you need help to get to the vaccination clinic, see Transportation to Clinics.
Other helpful resources can be found on the COVID-19: Vaccine Resources page, including an American Sign Language translation of information about COVID-19 vaccines. Also see this video on Getting Ready for Your COVID Vaccine.
People who have had COVID-19 in the past should still get vaccinated. Natural immunity from having COVID-19 may not last long and may not protect against COVID-19 variants. Get vaccinated to stay protected.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, should not go to a vaccine clinic. Please wait at least 10 days until you are no longer in self-isolation or your symptoms have gone away.
|Pfizer BioNTech||mRNA||16 years +||2 doses||Available|
|Moderna||mRNA||18 years +||2 doses||Available|
|AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD||Viral vector||40 years +||2 doses||Available|
|Janssen||Viral vector||18 years +||1 dose||Not yet available|