needle being injected into vial of vaccine

This Version Posted: February 23, 2021

Vaccines are now here in the fight against COVID-19. Please watch and read further for more information.

Video Resources
  • COVID-19 Vaccines – A Dose of Protection – Get the facts on the vacs from Health Protection Manager Marianne Rock as she discusses why COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and worth getting.
  • ‘Blown Away’ By COVID-19 Vaccines – Acting local Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Gemmill explain how COVID-19 vaccines will be rolled, 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
  • 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.
    • 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.
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When Will COVID-19 Vaccines Be Available Here
  • The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine have arrived locally and are currently being given to residents in local long-term care homes. Further vaccination efforts will continue, as more vaccines are delivered to the area.
  • The Health Unit continues to work 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. 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.
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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), immediate priority for vaccines will be:
    • Residents/staff/essential caregivers of long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes.
    • Alternate level of care patients in hospitals who have a confirmed admission to a long-term care home, retirement home or other congregate care home for seniors
    • Health care workers identified as highest priority.
    • Indigenous adults in northern remote and higher-risk communities (on-reserve and urban)
  • Also being offered the vaccine in Phase One (currently underway) are next priority groups, which include:
    • Adults 80 years of age and older
    • Staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes and other congregate care settings for seniors (such as assisted living)
    • All Indigenous adults
    • Adult recipients of chronic home care.
  • 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 79 years of age 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.
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Vaccine Approval
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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.

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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.
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Possible Side-Effects
  • 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!
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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.
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Additional Resources

Learn more on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, development and safety: