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The following are some key information about COVID19 vaccines. For the latest news updates, please check your news outlets or visit Protech’s vaccines news postings
This page is updated as of 03/23/2021.
Infection caused by COVID19
COVID-19 is a viral infection that mainly affects the lungs. Some people may have a mild illness. Others may get very sick, including seniors or people with a pre-existing health condition. The virus can also hurt the lungs, heart, brain and other organs, increasing the risk of long-term health effects. Very rarely, some children can get a serious inflammatory condition. Some people are more likely to get COVID-19 because of where they live or work.
How the Vaccine Work
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease has a “spike protein” that is only found on the virus surface.The vaccines give instructions to cells to make the spike protein so that the body can learn to recognize the virus. These instructions are called messenger RNA (mRNA). The body makes antibodies against the spike protein to protect us from getting sick if we are exposed to the virus. The vaccines do not contain the virus and so cannot give or infect people with COVID-19.
Approved COVID19 Vaccines in Canada
- Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine (approved Dec 9, 2020) can be given to people 16 years and older with 2 doses at least 21 days apart.
- Moderna’s vaccine (Approved Dec 23, 2020) can be given to people 18 years and older with 2 doses at least 28 days apart.
- Astra-Seneca Vaccine (approved Feb 26, 2021) can be given to 18 years and older with 2 doses at least 28 days apart.
- Jenssen Vaccine (approved March 5, 2021) can be given to 18 years and older. Only One dose is required.
Who Should Be Vaccinated?
Everyone who is able to get the vaccine should be vaccinated when it is their turn, and everyone who wishes to be vaccinated will have access. All available vaccines are safe and effective. Building immunity across communities is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19.
People with stable health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV, and hepatitis B or C may still receive COVID-19 vaccines. Some conditions require informed consent with the health care provider on the benefits and risks of vaccinating based on the underlying condition or medical therapy including if they are:
- are pregnant, could be pregnant or breastfeeding
- have an autoimmune disorder
- are immunocompromised due to illness or treatments
Vaccines are inactivated and still safe in those who have an autoimmune condition or are immunocompromised. Their efficacy has not been studied in these groups.
Vaccines are still recommended for those that may have had COVID-19 and recovered, however those with current COVID-19 symptoms should delay vaccination until symptoms resolve.
Are Vaccines safe?
The vaccines are safe for seniors and people with stable health conditions such diabetes and high blood pressure. People with stable hepatitis B, C or HIV, may receive COVID-19 vaccines. People with food, insect bite, medication or environmental allergies can get the vaccine as long as they do not have an allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients. If you have allergy concerns, we recommend reviewing the list of non-medical ingredients in the vaccine in advance of getting it, or speaking with your family healthcare provider.
Side Effects and Risks
Some people may have side effects from the vaccines. Common side effects include:
- redness, pain or swelling at the injection site
- headache, feeling tired, muscle aches, joint pain
- fever, chills, nausea, vomiting
- pain or swelling under the armpit (in the Moderna vaccine only)
- enlarged lymph nodes (this is less common)
Side effects are more common after the second dose. Side effects usually last one to three days. The side effects can be a sign that your body is developing an immune response to the vaccine. In rare cases, serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) can occur. Allergic reactions can be treated and are usually temporary. Seek medical attention if you have trouble breathing, hives, or swelling of the face and throat. If you have a reaction to the vaccine, speak with your health care provider to report the symptoms directly to public health. Public health will track reported side effects to ensure vaccine safety.
When I should consult my health care providers first:
- If you are pregnant, could be pregnant or are breastfeeding
- Have a bleeding disorder or weakened immunity due to illness or treatment
- Have known severe allergies/reactions to any vaccine ingredients. (such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) within Pfizer/Moderna, tromethamine within Moderna, or polysorbate under AstraZeneca)
How to get Vaccinated:
Please check your local health authority to get information on access and location.
In Toronto, please check Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 How to Get Vaccinated Website for details and updates.
Practice Safety measures after vaccinations
Until there are enough vaccines for everyone, and until we know that the vaccine prevents the spread of most COVID-19 infections, it is important to continue physical distancing, wearing a mask, and staying home if you are sick. Health care and other staff must still wear personal protective equipment (PPE), even after vaccination.
Toronto Public Health website on COVID19:
Health Canada COVID19 vaccines information