COVID-19 Vaccine

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The Importance of Vaccines • Vaccine Facts  • Variants and the Vaccine • Side Effects • Children and Youth • Maternal Health 


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

The Importanc​​e of Vaccines

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you against COVID-19.

In clinical trials and in the administration of billions of vaccines throughout the world, evidence overwhelmingly shows that those who received a vaccine are less likely to become sick with COVID-19. Fully vaccinated people are also very highly protected against severe illness, hospitalization and death, which is the main purpose of getting vaccinated.

When you get vaccinated, you are helping to protect yourself and others, including 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 Indigenous peoples at higher risk of COVID-19. The vaccine is one way that Indigenous and other people can protect themselves from this virus.

All people in BC age five and older are eligible to receive a vaccine. The FNHA's Medical Officers strongly recommend that you choose to get the vaccine.

Vacci​ne Facts

​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 stop the spread of the virus, enough people need to be immune either through natural infection or immunization. The WHO estimates that at least 70 per cent of the entire population, including children, need to be immune to ensure community immunity.

Vaccines and Pub​​lic Health

Even after you have been vaccinated, it is important to follow 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.

Public health measures include all people aged five and older wearing a mask in all indoor public spaces throughout BC.

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 for approval. 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.

Currently, there are four COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in Canada:

  • the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty)
  • the Moderna vaccine (SpikeVax)
  • the AstraZeneca vaccine (Vaxzevria)
  • the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (Janssen)

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty) and Moderna vaccine (SpikeVax) are the two used in the vast majority of clinics across Canada.

If You Have Had ​​COVID-19

If you have had COVID-19 already you should still get vaccinated. This is because you still may not be immune to the virus that causes COVID-19 and you could get infected again.

Wait until you have recovered or for the full isolation period (10 days) before getting the vaccine so that you do not expose people at your vaccination clinic to the virus.

If You Are in ​​Quarantine

If you are in quarantine you should not get vaccinated, whether you are in quarantine on the advice of public health officials due to possible contact with COVID-19 or following travel outside the country.

If you live in a rural and remote community and you are not sure if the vaccine will be available after your quarantine, you should let your health care provider know about your situation. Do not go to the clinic, but instead contact your health care provider by phone or email to discuss options.

Variants and th​​e Vaccine

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.

The main variant currently of concern in BC is the Omicron variant. This variant spreads more easily than both the original virus and other variants we have seen to this point.

Two doses of COVID-19 vaccine provide better protection against variants, especially against severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death. It is very important to get the second dose to have strong protection and to reduce the seriousness of any infection that may occur.

Side Effe​​cts

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.

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

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

Children and​​ Youth

Although children are less likely to get severe COVID-19 infections, they can still get sick from the virus and have long-term consequences. They may also spread the infection to others.

Regardless of your child's age, it is important to keep their routine immunizations other vaccine-preventable diseases up-to-date. A strong immune system can reduce the impact of COVID-19, and prevent illness from other communicable diseases.

Children un​​​der Age 5

Vaccines for babies and toddlers (aged six months to four years old) are not yet available as testing is underway for this age group. Babies who are breastfeeding from a vaccinated mother can benefit from the COVID-19 antibodies passed through the breast milk.

Children Age 5​​ to 11

The Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine is authorized in Canada for children aged 5 to 11.

Children age 5 to 11 require a parent or guardian to give verbal permission to get the pediatric vaccine, or written permission if the child is accompanied by somebody other than a parent or guardian.

Youth Ag​​e 12 to 17

All youth age 12 to 17 are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are authorized for this age group, however the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the recommended vaccine for individuals from age 12 to 29.

Youth who are able to make medical decisions can receive the vaccine without being accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The FNHA recommends that parents and guardians discuss getting the vaccine with their children to help them make their decision.

Materna​l Health

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should still get vaccine. Experts strongly agree that pregnant and breastfeeding individuals would benefit from receiving the vaccine.

The risk of getting sick with COVID-19 during pregnancy can be greater than the potential side effects of getting the vaccine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and have questions about the vaccine, please contact your health care provider, or call HealthLinkBC at 811 or the First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day at 1-855-344-3800. 


 Be a COVID-19 #VaxChamp!

Marlene, Kitselas First Nation, 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.

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 Been exposed or experiencing symptoms?

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