Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is one of the most important and effective things Ontarians can do to stop the pandemic. Ontario’s doctors are sharing their expert advice to ensure Ontarians have the information they need to keep their families safe and healthy.
For information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout visit the government on Ontario’s website.
All vaccine candidates are heavily scrutinized in clinical trials and by Health Canada. The approval process is rigorous. Even after approval, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.
The government of Ontario has implemented a three-phase vaccination plan that details who is eligible to receive the vaccine, who will administer the vaccines and the timeline for each phase. For more information on the vaccine rollout in Ontario, visit the government’s COVID-19 vaccine website.
Mass vaccination sites, family doctors’ offices and pharmacies are all administering COVID-19 vaccines. Where you get vaccinated depends on several factors including your region and your priority for receiving the vaccine as defined by the provincial vaccination plan.
As of March 13, family doctors in certain regions have a role in administering the AstraZeneca vaccine. Doctors will contact their highest-risk patients with details. Please do not call your doctor to book an appointment for the vaccine. Doctors need to keep phone lines open for sick patients who have immediate questions.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccine administration sites, visit the government of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine website.
The vaccine is approved for people 16 years of age and older. Clinical trials are underway for those age 12 to 15, and under 12. It is likely children will be involved in Phase Three of the vaccine distribution scheduled to begin in July, after further clinical trials.
Pregnant women have been identified as a priority group in Ontario’s vaccine rollout plan. It is recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding speak with their family doctor before getting vaccinated.
You can expect to feel similar to what you feel after receiving the flu vaccine. In the short term, you may experience minor symptoms such as localized swelling or pain at the injection site. You can also feel unwell or get a headache or fever that lasts a few days.
Health Canada recommends those who have experienced anaphylaxis should avoid the vaccine only if they’ve had an allergic reaction to the first dose of the two-dose regime, or those allergic to one of the components. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid the vaccine. If you have specific questions regarding your eligibility, ask your doctor.
Pfizer and Moderna are both mRNA vaccines. After receiving a mRNA vaccine, your body makes a protein to trick your body into thinking it’s infected. Your body generates an antibody, an immune response it will remember if it encounters the virus in the future. While this is a new vaccine, it is not new technology. The messenger RNA response has been used for other medical treatments.
The level of immune response begins to show 10-14 days after the first dose, but clinical trials show that to receive the best response and optimal immunity, two doses are required up to four months apart.
We do not know how long it will protect us, but the vaccine will continue to be studied to understand if we require annual vaccines, as we do with the flu shot. The flu vaccine triggers an immune response with a weakened or inactivated virus, whereas the COVID-19 vaccine allows our cells to make a protein that triggers an immune response and produce antibodies that protects us from getting infected.
It may take months or even years to see a dramatic decline in cases following the vaccine. Until we see a significant impact on the pandemic, public health and all levels of government will continue to mandate COVID-19 precautions such as physical distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand washing.
Yes. Ontario’s doctors trust the COVID-19 vaccines because they are safe and they work. We encourage the public to receive the vaccine when they are able to. Ask your doctor to learn more.