Vaccines are a critical way to limit the spread of COVID-19. They are effective and safe. Immunization protects your health, as well as the health of your loved ones and the community. The COVID-19 vaccine protects against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (also known as COVID-19).
Vaccines make your immune system stronger. They build antibodies to help prevent diseases. Immunization is safe. It's much safer to get immunized than to get this disease.
Q: Why is immunization important?
A: Although some individuals are at greater risk for severe complications, without immunization, we have seen that even healthy Albertans are at risk of severe illness and even death from this virus.
Q: How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
A: Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. These vaccines contain the genetic instructions for making a protein that is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. It uses our cells to make this protein and triggers our immune system to make antibodies against it. Then, if the real virus enters our body in the future, these antibodies will help fight the infection.
Q: Who should have the COVID-19 vaccine?
- have health problems, such as heart, lung, kidney, or liver problems, high blood pressure, or diabetes
- have a lot of extra weight
- are over the age of 60
- those at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19
- those who may spread disease to people at high risk
- essential workers, like frontline healthcare workers
Q: Who should not have the COVID-19 vaccine?
- have an allergy to parts of the vaccine
- had a severe or unusual side effect after this vaccine or one like it
- are under age 16 years
- have had another vaccine in the last 2 weeks
- have a weak immune system (because of a medicine you take or a health problem)
- have an autoimmune disorder (like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus)
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
Q: Are there side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?
- redness, swelling, or feeling sore where you had the needle
- feeling tired
- fever or chills
- body aches or sore joints
- feeling sick to your stomach (nausea), vomiting (throwing up), or loose stool (diarrhea)
- swollen lymph nodes
- get another vaccine
- try to get pregnant
Q: What goes into making sure vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines, are safe and effective?A: Canada is recognized around the world for high standards for vaccine review, approvals, and monitoring systems. Only vaccines that are safe and effective will be approved for use in Canada. After a vaccine is approved for use, evidence on safety and effectiveness is reviewed by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization who provide recommendations on immunizations for individuals and for public health programs.
Q: How well does the vaccine work?
- following guidelines of when to wear a mask or other equipment that helps protect you
- washing your hands often
- staying 2 metres away from others
- staying home when you’re sick
Q: I’ve recovered from COVID-19, should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?A: Yes, you should still be immunized. There is no mandatory waiting period between having COVID-19 disease and being immunized; however, it is recommended that people wait until they are feeling better.
Q: Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me a coronavirus infection?A: None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in use in Canada contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
Q: Will mRNA change my DNA?A: No. Injecting mRNA into a person does not change the DNA of a human cell.
Q: How many doses do I need?
Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- If you live in a long-term care or supportive living facility, you should get your second dose 3 to 4 weeks after your first dose.
- For all others, you should get your second dose 3 to 6 weeks after your first dose.