Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine
Why should I receive the COVID-19 vaccination?
COVID-19 can cause serious illness and even death. It is difficult to know how each person will be affected. Even if you have a mild or no symptoms, you can pass the virus to others. There are a number of different COVID-19 vaccines now being used throughout the world. All COVID-19 vaccines available in Canada have been shown to be safe and highly effective at preventing COVID-19 disease. And, for those who still get infected despite being vaccinated, you will have a much milder form of the disease.
How long will I be protected after receiving the vaccine?
Researchers are still studying this question. The protection (immunity) gained through infection is potentially different than vaccine-induced immunity.
Are there side effects of COVID-19 vaccine?
With any vaccination, mild pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site may occur. Some people might have a mild fever, sore muscles, headache, and feel tired after receiving the shot. These reactions mean that the vaccine is working to help your body mount an immune response to fight off COVID-19 if you are exposed. For most people, these symptoms will not last longer than a few days.
Can vaccination cause COVID-19 disease?
No, it is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. None of the approved vaccines contain the virus that causes COVID-19. Rather, they contain inactivated virus, parts of the virus (e.g., spike protein), or a gene from the virus. None of these can cause the disease.
Can a vaccinated person spread COVID-19?
This is still being investigated. While researchers believe that the vaccine will reduce transmission, more studies are needed to determine if a vaccinated person can spread COVID to a person who has not been vaccinated.
Should I get vaccinated if I already had COVID-19 disease?
Yes. Although very rare, there have been reports of individuals becoming infected more than once. Data so far suggests that individuals appear to have short-term natural protection for at least 90 days after infection. However we still don’t know for how long this immunity lasts. Vaccination is the best protection and is safe. If you’ve been previously infected, wait until symptoms have resolved before receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. Be sure to inform the health care provider about your previous infection prior to getting the shot.
When will I be able to get the vaccine?
BC has recently announced aCOVID-19 Immunization Plan. The general population will have the opportunity to be immunized after phase 1 and 2. Vaccines will primarily be distributed by age, starting with the oldest. BC is currently in stage 1. See BCCDC for more information: BCCDC COVID-19 Immunization Plan
The proposed schedule is split into four phases:
Phase 1: December to February: Resident, staff, essential visitors with long-term care/assisted living; people in remote Indigenous communities and hospital workers caring for COVID-19 patients.
Phase 2: February to March: Seniors over 80; Indigenous seniors over 65, Indigenous elders; more health-care workers; vulnerable populations and nursing home staff.
Phase 3: April to June: Members of the general public aged 60 to 79.
Phase 4: July to September: Members of the general public aged 18 to 59.
There is currently no COVID-19 vaccine approved in Canada for children under 17 years with exceptions for those with certain medical conditions. Trials are underway and a vaccine for children is expected in the future.
Where will I be able to get the vaccine?
The provincial government states they will be releasing further details regarding the public access to the vaccine by late February. Large vaccine clinics coordinated through public health will be held in school gymnasiums, community halls, recreation centres, etc. Other vaccine providers including pharmacies, GP offices, and private clinics may be involved in the future. TravelSafe Clinic is monitoring the situation closely and is hoping to access the vaccine and offer COVID-19 vaccination services to our clients in the future.
Can I stop wearing my mask or practice social distancing once I get the vaccine?
No. Masks and other preventive measures including washing your hands and physical distancing must continue until more is known about the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing transmission. More studies are needed to determine how long vaccine immunity lasts and whether a vaccinated person can still spread the virus to others.
There have been news reports about a new and more contagious COVID-19 variant virus. Will the approved vaccines be effective against the new variants?
There is currently no evidence to suggest COVID-19 vaccines won’t protect against the variant strains.