COVID-19 Vaccine

 

The Importance of Vaccines • What Is a Vaccine? • Vaccines and Public Health •  Variants and the Vaccine • Vaccine Hesitancy • Vaccine Safety • Side Effects 


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​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 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 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. Vaccines for children aged six months to five years old are approved by Health Canada and will be available soon. The FNHA's Medical Officers strongly recommend that you choose to get the vaccine.

​​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.

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.

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.

Vaccine Hesitancy

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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 Be a COVID-19 #VaxChamp!

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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.

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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.)​ ​​​