COVID-19 Vaccine


Why Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccines? • What Is a Vaccine? • What Are Common Side Effects After Vaccination? • Vaccines and Public Health •  What are COVID-19 Variants? • How Do Variants Affect COVID-19 Vaccines? Vaccine Hesitancy • Vaccine Safety Resources

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​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.

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 whitecolour​ ​(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.

Bivalent Vaccine

The mRNA vaccines approved for use against COVID-19 by Health Canada in 2020 target the original strain of the virus first discovered in 2019. Bivalent vaccine targets not just that original COVID-19 virus, but also the Omicron variant that is found to spread more easily.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has stated that a bivalent Omicron-containing mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is the preferred vaccine product for booster doses for individuals aged 12 and older.

NACI continues to recommend that COVID-19 booster doses be offered at an interval of six months after a previous COVID-19 vaccine dose or after a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection.

At present, there are two bivalent vaccines approved by Health Canada, both from Pfizer and Moderna, the manufacturers of the mRNA vaccines that target the original virus.

Booster doses of original mRNA COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide good protection against severe outcomes from COVID-19, including from Omicron infection. People who have already received an original mRNA COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose will have good protection against serious illness and hospitalization and do not need to be revaccinated with a bivalent Omicron-containing vaccine, provided their vaccine was given within the past six months.

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.


 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.)​ ​​​