COVID-19 Vaccines: Commonly asked questions

COVID-19 vaccines have started to be administered across Canada. This is an exciting time and will help ease the strain of COVID-19 on our healthcare system, businesses and individuals. Here are some commonly asked questions about the vaccine:

Why should I get the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine will protect you and your community from COVID-19. The vaccines currently being used in Canada are highly effective at reducing COVID-19 symptoms, and reduce the likelihood of being hospitalized due to COVID-19. 

How does the vaccine work?

There are many different vaccines being used and developed around the world. Each one works differently but they all have the same goal. When the vaccine is administered, it helps your body build up antibodies, which protect you against the virus. Once your body is familiar with the virus you are less likely to get sick and spread the virus to others. This will hopefully reduce hospitalizations, deaths and the spread of the virus.

Check out this video for an explanation for how COVID-19 vaccines works:

Is getting the COVID-19 vaccine dangerous? Should I be worried about side effects?

No, getting the vaccine is not dangerous. Each vaccine has been tested in clinical settings and approved by Health Canada. The vaccine does not have any live virus in it, instead it has certain cell parts that help the body build up immunity. 

Common side effects from the vaccine include a sore arm, fatigue and a slight headache. Some people also get a fever and feel weak. These are all normal side effects! Everyone’s body reacts slightly differently to the vaccine. 

Check out this video for an explanation of the short term side effects of vaccines:

How will the vaccine be administered?

The vaccine will be given as a shot. Currently, the approved vaccines require two doses, spaced about one month apart. This means that you will need to visit a vaccine clinic twice in order to be fully protected. Various healthcare workers are prepared to vaccinate people.

When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Eligibility to get a COVID-19 vaccine depends on where you live, your age, your occupation and your underlying health conditions. In many areas people above 80, people who live in long term care homes, and healthcare workers will be first to get their vaccine. This is because these people are most vulnerable to COVID-19 or work closely with people with COVID-19. Your doctor or local government will be in touch with you when you are eligible to get a vaccine.