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What are the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines?
The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines protect against infection from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19. The vaccines instruct your body to produce antibodies that will protect you from getting sick if exposed to the virus. Injecting mRNA into your body will not interact or do anything to the DNA of your cells. Human cells will break down and get rid of the mRNA soon after they produce the antibodies.

Will the vaccine be free?
As more vaccines are made and distributed, Health Canada expects to be able to offer free vaccination to every Canadian who wants one.

Who should get the vaccines?
Vaccination has started and will be expanded to the entire population throughout 2021.The vaccines are being provided to those who are at increased risk of exposure to the virus and those most at risk of serious complications. The vaccines will only be available for certain groups of people at first due to limited supply. As supply increases other groups of people will be able to get the vaccine.

Who are considered priority high-risk groups?
  • Residents and staff of shared living settings that provide care for seniors
  • Adults 70 years of age and older
    • Beginning with adults 80 years of age and older, and then decreasing the age limit by 5-year increments to age 70 years as supply becomes available
  • Health care workers who have direct contact with patients, including those who work in health care settings and personal support workers
  • Adults in Indigenous communities
*Please note: priority groups may vary between provincial and territorial jurisdictions

When can I get my vaccine?
For information on when a vaccine will be available in your region, click on your province or territory below:

British Columbia

How are the vaccines given?
The vaccine is given by injection as 2 doses. It is important to get both doses of the vaccine for full protection. Speak with your immunization provider about when you should get your second dose. It is important to keep a record of all immunizations received. Be sure to bring your immunization record when returning for your second dose to verify timing and brand of vaccine received.

*Please note: As new COVID-19 vaccines are approved by Health Canada, the number of required doses as well as the interval between doses may vary by vaccine type.

What should I do after I get the vaccine?
After you get the vaccine, continue to follow public health recommendations such as: washing your hands or using hand sanitizer, physical distancing and wearing a mask where required. You should not receive any other vaccines for 28 days after receiving your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

What are the benefits of the vaccine?
The vaccine is the best way to protect you against COVID-19. In clinical trials, those who received the vaccines were about 95% less likely to become sick with COVID-19. When you get immunized, you protect yourself and help protect others including those who are unable to get the vaccine.

What are the possible reactions after the vaccines?
It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get COVID-19. The vaccines are not live virus vaccines and cannot give you COVID-19. Common reactions to the vaccines may include soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site. These reactions are mild and generally last 1 to 2 days. If you have concerns about any symptoms you develop after receiving the vaccine speak with your health care provider or call 811 for advice.

Who should NOT get the vaccine?
You should not get the vaccine if you have a serious allergy (anaphylaxis) to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or have had a life-threatening reaction to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or to any part of the vaccine.

Speak with your health care provider if you:
  • Have an immune system weakened by disease or medical treatment
  • Have an autoimmune disease
  • Are pregnant, may be pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have received a monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma for treatment or prevention of COVID-19
  • Have received a vaccine in the last 14 days
  • Have symptoms of COVID-19
If you have a new illness preventing you from your regular activities, you should likely wait until you have recovered. This will help to distinguish side effects of the vaccine from worsening of your illness.

About COVID-19 - Learn more