needle being injected into vial of vaccine

This Version Posted: April 20, 2021

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

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About COVID-19 Vaccine
  • Currently, four COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in Canada. They include: the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, a vaccine developed by Moderna, the AstraZeneca vaccine, and the Janssen vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson. Other vaccine candidates are also currently under review by Health Canada.
  • Vaccines are safe, reliable and are shown to be effective against COVID-19.
  • Health Canada uses strict safety and quality requirements for regulating and approving vaccines. These same standards were applied to the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Some of the approved COVID-19 vaccines require two doses given several weeks apart to provide full protection against the virus. They include: the Pfizer vaccine, Moderna vaccine and AstraZeneca vaccine. After completing the two-doses, it may take another one to two weeks to achieve maximum protection against COVID-19. The Janssen vaccine is a single-dose vaccine.
  • 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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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 provided based on age and other factors.
  • In Phase Two (April to June 2021), vaccines will be available to more people based on age, health conditions, where they live, and where they work. Timelines are subject to vaccine availability.
  • In Phase Three (July 2021 and beyond), COVID-19 vaccines will be widely available for anyone 16 years of age and older who wants to receive a dose.
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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 about COVID-19 vaccine distribution, development and safety:

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