Vaccines are now here in the fight against COVID-19. Please read further for more information.
- VIDEO: Watch Acting local Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Gemmill explain how the COVID-19 vaccine will be rolled out in 2021, why it’s being done this way, and why getting vaccinated is the key to a return to normal.
On This Page:
- About COVID-19 Vaccine
- Vaccine Approval
- How COVID-19 Vaccines Work
- Facts on COVID-19 Vaccine
- Possible Side-Effects
- When Will COVID-19 Vaccines Be Available Here
- Who Gets the Vaccine First – A Phased Approach
- What You Can Do
- Additional Resources
About COVID-19 Vaccine
- Currently, two COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in Canada. One is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while the other is a vaccine developed by Moderna.
- Both of these approved vaccines are safe, reliable and highly effective against COVID-19.
- Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine require two doses given a few weeks apart to provide full protection against COVID-19. Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective against getting COVID-19 symptoms, while two doses of the Moderna vaccine is 94 % effective against getting COVID-19 symptoms. After completing the two-doses, it may take another one to two weeks to achieve maximum protection against COVID-19.
- In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccines will be free to everyone. You are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated for COVID-19 when it is available. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. When a large percentage of people become vaccinated against COVID-19, it stops the spread of the virus. That benefits everyone and means a quicker return to normal.
- Health Canada uses strict safety and quality requirements for regulating and approving vaccines. These same standards were applied to the COVID-19 vaccines. Learn more by watching this federal government Video on How Vaccines are Developed and Approved for Use in Canada.
- Other COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently being reviewed by Health Canada. If approved, these would also be available to protect people in Canada from COVID-19.
How COVID-19 Vaccines Work
Vaccines have saved millions of lives over the past century. COVID-19 vaccines will work similarly to protect millions more. Here’s how:
- COVID vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to build protection against coronavirus.
- It does this by telling your body to make spike proteins.
- Spike proteins are unique to the virus that causes COVID-1.9
- Your immune system responds to the spike proteins by making antibodies that can protect you against COVID-19.
The result is that you build up immunity to the virus, allowing your body to fight off COVID-19 more easily.
Facts on COVID-19 Vaccine
- COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the coronavirus and cannot give you COVID-19. Instead, the vaccine offers a dose of protection!
- Like other vaccines, it may take several days for your body to build full immunity against COVID-19. This means if you come in contact with the virus just before or after you complete the vaccine series, you could still develop COVID-19. That makes it important to continue taking COVID-19 precautions until you are fully protected.
- The Ontario Medical Association also offers additional facts about COVID-19 vaccine.
- Serious adverse reactions to vaccines are rare. They happen less than one time in a million (Source: Ontario Ministry of Health).
- If you get any vaccine, minor side-effects may occur. These are usually mild and clear up within a few days. Some common side-effects include: pain at the site of injection (even redness and swelling), body chills, feeling tired or feeling feverish.
- Vaccines are constantly monitored for potential reactions and safety measures are put in place if needed. You can be assured COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective!
When Will COVID-19 Vaccines Be Available Here
- The local Health Unit is working closely with the Province, local hospitals, health care partners, and long-term care and retirement homes to prepare for a safe and orderly rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in this region. A mass vaccination plan is ready to go once supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine are available.
- It’s expected the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes in early February. These will be provided first to residents and staff at long-term care homes. As more supplies arrive, more people will be able to get vaccinated.
- There is no waiting list for the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines. Please do not call your health care provider or the Health Unit to be added to the list.
- When COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available to the public later in 2021, information about how and where to be vaccinated will be shared. Please check back often for updates.
Who Gets the Vaccine First – A Phased Approach
Due to limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Ontario, the Province has outlined a three-phase approach to provide vaccines to people.
- In Phase One (currently underway), high-risk groups will get the vaccine first. This includes residents/staff of long-term care homes and other health care workers. Priority is also being given to provide COVID-19 vaccines first to parts of Ontario with the highest COVID-19 infection rates. Indigenous communities will also be able to get the vaccines in this phase.
- In Phase Two (expected to be April to August 2021), vaccines will be available to more people as the supply increases. During Phase Two in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes, the following groups will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Older adults, beginning with those 80 years of age and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout.
- People who live and work in high-risk congregate settings (like shelters, community living).
- Frontline essential workers (including first responders, teachers and other education staff and the food processing industry)
- Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers.
- Other populations and communities facing barriers related to the determinants of health across Ontario who are at greater COVID-19 risk.
- In Phase Three (August 2021 and beyond), COVID-19 vaccines will be widely available for anyone who wants to receive one.
What You Can Do
Watch for more information from the Health Unit about when the COVID-19 vaccine is available in your community and when you can go to get vaccinated.
Until you are vaccinated, continue your efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19:
- Stay home if sick.
- Only leave home for essentials like groceries and medical matters.
- Avoid all non-essential travel.
- Wear a mask or face covering that covers your nose, mouth and chin when inside public places.
- Practise physical distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart from anyone outside your immediate household
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
- Practise other COVID-19 prevention measures.
Learn more on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, development and safety:
- Government of Ontario
- Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan
- COVID-19 Vaccine Safety
- Ethical Framework For COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution (document outlines how Ontario will ensure fair and equitable distribution of vaccines)
- Ontario Medical Association