COVID-19 Vaccine


Why Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccines? • What Is a Vaccine? • Vaccine Safety  What are COVID-19 Variants? • How Do Variants Affect COVID-19 Vaccines? Resources​ ​​​ How to Get Vaccinated • If You Have Had COVID-19  Your Vaccine Appointment

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Visit the BC's provincial COVID-19 vaccination website to register for a vaccination and get up-to-date information and help.

Why Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccines?

Getting vaccinated is the best protection against COVID-19. 

In clinical trials and in the administration of billions of vaccines throughout the world, evidence overwhelmingly shows that those who received COVID-19 vaccines are less likely to become seriously ill and hospitalized from the infection.

When you get vaccinated, you are protecting yourself, your loved ones and your community. You are also protecting those who are unable to get the vaccine. The more people in a community who are vaccinated, the harder it is for the virus to spread and mutate.

Reduced access to stable housing, income, clean water and health and social services place some First Nations peoples at higher risk of developing severe illness and becoming hospitalized due to COVID-19. The vaccine is one way that Indigenous and other people can protect themselves from this virus.

All people in BC age six months and older are eligible to receive a vaccine. The FNHA's Medical Officers strongly recommend that you choose to get the vaccine for yourself and your children.

​​What Is a Vac​​cine?

A vaccine is a product that produces immunity to a specific disease, such as COVID-19. When you have immunity to COVID-19, which is a serious and sometimes fatal disease, it means you may be exposed to it without developing severe illness.

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control COVID-19 webpage where you can learn more about tye types of vaccines available in BC, vaccine safety, and vaccine effectiveness.

​​​Vaccine​​ Safety

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective. We know this from experience, following the administration of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Canada alone, including across all population age ranges and groups.

However, feeling worried or hesitant is normal with so much misinformation circulating. Canada, in cooperation with consumer protection agencies, has worked hard to develop a vaccine approval process that is among the most rigorous in the world. 

Health Canada was able to approve the COVID-19 vaccines quickly by delaying approval of other medicines and vaccines and prioritizing COVID-19 vaccines. No safety standards were changed or compromised for reviews and approvals.

Scientists have spent more than 30 years developing mRNA technology (the technology Pfizer and Moderna used to develop their vaccines) for use in medicine. They have been used in clinical trials in people since at least 2010, both for fighting cancer and as vaccines for infectious diseases.

Based on our experience with mRNA technology and our knowledge of the human immune system, experts do not expect any long-term negative health effects from the vaccines.

We can feel assured that the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada are safe in both the short and long term, that they are effective, and that they will prevent serious illness and death.

Every possible vaccine reaction identified by primary care providers is carefully reviewed by experts, long after approval of the vaccine. Public Health officials assess the risks and benefits of a particular vaccine for the population they serve and decide whether to recommend its use.

What Are Common Side Effe​​cts After Vaccination?

You may experience side effects after getting vaccinated, as your body responds to the vaccine. Side effects are usually mild to moderate and similar to ones you might get from any shot:

  • pain in the arm at the site of the injection
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • low fever

Side effects may be stronger for some people, particularly after subsequent doses. They usually don't last more than a few days.

Allergic reactions are fortunately rare, but can occur when receiving any vaccine or medicine. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • hives (bumps on the skin that are often very itchy)
  • swelling of the face
  • tongue or throat
  • difficulty breathing

Allergic reactions are treatable by the medical staff who administer the vaccine. This is why you are asked to stay at the clinic at least 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine, and longer if you have a history of allergies. Clinic staff have the training and medications required to respond to an allergic reaction. 

​An inflammation of the heart called myocarditis or pericarditis can happen rarely in the first week after receiving an mRNA vaccine, mostly in young men and youth, and occurring more frequently following the second dose. Cases are generally mild and resolve on their own. As COVID-19 is far more serious than the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis it is strongly recommended to get the vaccine.

The major health risks associated with getting COVID-19 far outweigh the minor risks of and discomfort from possible allergic reactions and side effects.

If you have a symptom that is unexpected after receiving a vaccine you should seek health care.​​​

What Are COVID-19 Variants?

A variant is a strain of the COVID-19 virus that has mutated or changed from the original one.

Small mutations are a normal part of the reproduction of all viruses. They can change how the virus spreads from person to person, how sick the virus makes us and whether or not an older vaccine will still be effective.

Learn more about variants and what is circulating in BC by visiting the BC Centre for Disease Control website section on variants.

  • Each COVID-19 vaccine dose increases your protection against severe illness – black and white • colour​ ​(BCCDC infographic)​

How Do Variants Affect COVID-19 Vaccines?

Research conducted in BC found that vaccines provide very good protection against serious illness and hospitalization for all of the COVID-19 variants, including all lineages and sublineages of Delta and Omicron.


How to Ge​t Vacc​inated

There are two ways to get vaccinated:

  • In community. The FNHA works with First Nations communities to offer vaccine clinics. While intended for those who live on reserve, some can serve members who live off-reserve but nearby.
  • Provincial booking. The province offers vaccination clinics, and this is usually the best option for people who live away from home (off-reserve).

Learn more about the BC COVID-19 Immunization Plan here.

Pharmacies may offer COVID-19 vaccines, also booked through the provincial registration system.

A First Nations person who received their first dose in community and wishes to receive any subsequent dose through the provincial program may do so. In addition, any First Nation person who received their first dose through the provincial program may receive any subsequent dose through their First Nations community clinic.

All people in BC age six months or older may register for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment as part of the province's vaccination program. Youth age 12 to 17 do not need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive the vaccine. 

Register for a Pro​vincial Clinic

To get vaccinated through a provincial clinic, register online through the provincial vaccine registration webpage.

In order to register online, you must provide your first and last name, date of birth, postal code, your Personal Health Number (PHN isn't mandatory if you don't have one) and an email address or a phone number that can receive text messages.

After registering, confirmation via email or text should come within 15 to 30 minutes, but could take up to 24 hours.

You can also register by phone at 1-833-838-2323 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., every day, with reduced hours on statutory holidays. Dial 711 if you are hearing-impaired.

Register for a Community Clinic

Talk to your local nursing station or health centre.

If You Have Had ​​COVID-19

If you have had a positive COVID-19 test result or are experiencing any symptoms (even mild), you must wait until you feel better to get a vaccine, including your booster dose.

Even if you have recently had COVID-19, it is important to get a booster dose to extend your protection.

Learn more about vaccination after COVID-19.

Your Vacci​ne Appointment

Communit​y Clinics

Community and provincial clinics offer vaccinations to everyone age five and over. Vaccines for children aged six months to five years old are approved by Health Canada and can be administered by Community Health Nurses.

Clinics are available for primary series doses, and for third or booster doses, including for those people who missed receiving them in the past.

Communities receive confirmation from the FNHA when a vaccine clinic is available for their community in order to notify their members.

FNHA regional teams will then provide wrap-around support to move forward with community vaccination campaigns as needed. 

There are some things you can do to be ready for the vaccination clinic when it comes to your communities:

  • Talk to your health care provider if you have any concerns about allergies, medical conditions or side effects of the vaccine.
  • Watch for the invitation to book an appointment, or call your health centre to book an appointment or find out about clinic locations.

Booster Shots

For most people a first and second dose of the vaccine make up what’s known as one “primary series.” While this “primary series” provide great protection, your immunity wanes over time. Additional vaccines can “boost” the antibodies in your immune system to provide better and longer protection. Learn more about boosters.

Vaccine Br​and

If you get vaccinated in a First Nations community clinic, an Indigenous vaccine clinic or a provincial clinic, you will receive an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna).

In most cases, you will get the same brand of vaccine for your second dose, but you may get the alternate brand, depending on availability. These vaccines are interchangeable, so there is no worry about “mixing and matching" doses.

There are limited supplies of vaccines that do not use mRNA technology. The Janssen vaccine is a viral vector-based single dose vaccine, while the Novavax vaccine is protein-based.​

If you would like either of these vaccines, please call 1-833-838-2323 and inform the agent during booking of your preference.

Vaccines and Public Health

Even after you have been vaccinated, it is important to follow recommended public health measures. These measures help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help protect you and others who are in contact with you from getting it.

Wearing masks in public indoor settings or proof of vaccination is not currently required by any public health order. Wearing a mask is a personal choice. Masks are encouraged on public transit and BC Ferries, but not required. While masks are no longer required to travel within Canada, all travellers are strongly recommended to wear high quality and well-fitted masks during their journey.

Individual businesses and event organizers can choose to continue requiring masks or proof of vaccination on their premises. It’s important that we respect the choices of people, businesses and one another.

 Be a COVID-19 #VaxChamp!

Naomi Mack, Toquaht Nati​on, Takes the Pledge!

 Want government info?

Vis​it the BC's provincial COVID-19 vaccination website to register for a vaccination and get up-to-date information and help.


 Been exposed or experiencing symptoms?

Contact y​​​​our primary care provider or local public health office or call 811(Ta​ke a self-assessment.)​ ​​​