This webpage has general information and answers to frequently asked COVID-19 vaccine questions. If you still need answers to your questions, please contact us by phone, 519.355.1071 x 1900 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last update Sept 22, 2021
FAQs About COVID-19 Vaccines
Why Get Vaccinated
COVID-19 can be a serious illness for many people and for some , symptoms can last for months. In Ontario, the predominant variant of concern is currently the Delta variant which is been shown to be more contagious. At this time, the majority of our cases since July 1, 2021 have been in those individuals who are unvaccinated.
- help your body build an effective immune response to help protect you from serious illness, hospitalization, and death, and
- add one more layer of protection for you, your family, friends, and our community.
Yes. You may have some immunity from your infection, but experts do not know how long it will last. Due to the severity of COVID-19 and the chance of re-infection with the virus, the vaccine will help your body better fight the virus if you are exposed again, even if you have already had COVID-19.
Individuals can get vaccinated after infection when they no longer have any symptoms.
Yes, the vaccines are very effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms in people who get it. It is not known if you can still give the infection to someone that has not been immunized if you have been exposed to the virus. This is why it is important that you continue to follow the public health measures, even once you have been vaccinated.
Vaccine Rollout & Eligibility
COVID-19 vaccination is available to all individuals born 2009 and earlier.
The best vaccine for you is the vaccine that is available to you at that time. Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible, with the vaccine that is being offered to you at that time. It is the best way to protect yourself as soon as possible.
At the time of booking and at the time of immunization, you will be notified of which vaccine you are receiving.
It is important to remember that all vaccines approved for use in Canada are safe and effective at preventing severe COVID-19 illness and hospitalization.
As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. This approach focuses on higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn and includes:
- Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
- Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
- Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres;
- Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sport;
- Sporting events;
- Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments;
- Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas;
- Strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs;
- Racing venues (e.g., horse racing).
In addition, some workplaces, schools and organizations are developing vaccination policies that may require vaccination to attend, work, school or a facility.
Vaccine Safety & Effectiveness
Creating a new vaccine typically takes years. The COVID-19 vaccines were developed quicker than normal for many reasons, including:
- being informed by decades of research on other strains of coronavirus prior to COVID-19, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Sars-CoV (SARS),
- an historic amount of money being invested into research,
- research and testing happening at the same time instead of in steps, and
- more people signing up for vaccine trials than typically do for other vaccines.
Before any vaccines are available in Ontario, they:
- undergo rigorous clinical trials to ensure they are safe and effective
- are evaluated and authorized for use by Health Canada, using rigorous standards
Ontario’s plan to make sure vaccines remain safe for Ontarians includes:
- securely and safely transporting and storing vaccines at required conditions and temperatures
- establishing safe clinic spaces to give people immunizations, including providing the required training to those administering vaccines
- monitoring for any adverse reactions or side effects that may occur after vaccination and taking appropriate measures
Health Canada will continue to monitor all authorized vaccines to ensure they continue to be safe and effective.
No, the COVID-19 vaccine will not make you sick. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
After getting vaccinated it is common and normal to have temporary side effects.
This is the body’s natural response as it is working with the vaccine to build protection against the disease.
Most of the common side effects for the COVID-19 vaccines are mild to moderate and will happen within the first 3 days after getting the vaccination, and will last for about 1-2 days. They include:
- Symptoms at the injection site: pain, redness, swelling
- Flu-like symptoms: headache, fatigue (feeling tired), muscle aches, joint pain, fever, chills
Even if you experience mild side effects with the first dose, it is important to receive the second dose. You may get the same side effects with your second dose.
In very rare cases, the COVID-19 vaccines could cause serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). A serious allergic reaction would usually occur shortly after receiving a dose of either vaccine. You will be asked to stay 15 minutes after getting your shot so you can be monitored for a severe reaction and provided treatment in the rare case it is needed.
Signs of a serious allergic reaction include, but are not limited to:
- trouble breathing
- swelling of the mouth and throat
- hoarseness or wheezing
- hives (a bad rash all over your body)
- a fast heartbeat
- convulsions (seizures)
- high fever (over 40oC or 104oF)
If you experience side effects, call your health care provider or public health to seek medical advice. Vaccine side effects will be continually monitored as people receive the vaccine. Public health will keep track of the reported side effects to make sure the vaccine continues to be safe.
On May 11, 2021 Ontario announced that it will pause the rollout and administration of first doses of the AstraZeneca Vaccine. The decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to an observed increase in the rare blood clotting condition, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Please read ‘Pressing Pause on First Doses of AstraZeneca’ for more information.
Viruses are always undergoing changes or mutations and scientists are constantly monitoring for these.
Early studies have found the vaccines are effective against the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7.) and Brazil variant (P.1), but may be less protective against the South African variant (B.1.351). However, experts believe the vaccines could still save lives by preventing severe illness and hospitalization.
Scientists are working to learn more about these variants to determine how easily the new variants spread and how effective the vaccines are against them. Information about these variants is rapidly emerging.
If you received AstraZeneca for your first dose, you can get AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer for your second dose.
If you received Moderna or Pfizer for your first dose, you can get either Moderna or Pfizer for your second dose when you are eligible to complete your vaccine series.
Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use similar mRNA technology and are safe to be used together for a vaccine series.
Mixing vaccines from different manufactures is not a new idea. Vaccine series for influenza, hepatitis A, and others have been completed with different vaccine products.
All vaccine options for second doses, including vaccine mixing (AstraZeneca with mRNA vaccines and switching between mRNA vaccines), are:
- provide strong protection against COVID-19, and
- will count towards a completed vaccine series (meaning you will be fully vaccinated once you get two shots).
How Vaccines Work
Vaccines work by training your body’s immune system to recognize and fight a virus that causes a disease. To do this, a vaccine triggers an immune response by introducing parts of the virus into the body through vaccination.
By injecting a vaccine, your immune system safely learns to:
- recognize a virus
- produce antibodies to fight the virus
- remember the virus for the future
If the virus reappears, your immune system will recognize it and attack it before it can develop and cause sickness.
There are two different types of COVID-19 vaccines, mNRA vaccines and viral vector-based vaccines.
mNRA vaccines, including Pfizer and Moderna:
- mRNA vaccines tell the cells in our body to make the COVID-19 spike protein so our body will learn to recognize it as a foreign invader. This will train our immune system to fight against COVID-19.
Viral Vector-based vaccines, including AstraZeneca and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
- These vaccines use a modified, harmless version of COVID-19 to send information to our cells. This information tells our cells to make the COVID-19 spike protein so our body will learn to recognize it as a foreign invader. This will train our immune system to fight against COVID-19.
To get the best protection against COVID-19, including serious illness, hospitalization, and death, you need to get two doses of:
It is safe to receive a vaccine different from your first dose for your second dose.
The province of Ontario has put in place an accelerated rollout of second doses for those who received a first dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
- All individuals 12+ who have received their first dose of a mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) at least 28 days ago can now book their second dose appointment.
Individuals who received AstraZeneca as their first shot, can get their second dose of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna 8 weeks after their first shot.
The Government of Ontario recently announced that 3rd doses will be made available to select individuals who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. For more information, please see the announcement here.
At this time, CK Public Health is offering 3rd doses for individuals with specific health conditions outlined by Ontario guidelines where individuals are required to show a letter from their Specialists, or primary care physician.
Yes. The time between doses can be lengthened; the time between doses can not be shortened.
A mixed vaccine series (or schedule) – meaning you get two different vaccines for your first and second dose – is effective and safe. The Government of Ontario provides this guidance as recommended by Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).
If you received AstraZeneca for your first dose, your second shot can be AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer.
If you received Moderna or Pfizer for your first dose, your second shot can be Moderna or Pfizer. Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are approved for use in Canada and use similar mRNA technology, so they are safe to be used together for a vaccine series.
Note: As only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for 12 – 17 year olds at this time, this group will continue to receive Pfizer for both their first and second dose.
You will be considered to have a completed vaccine series after receiving two doses of Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccines, no matter what brand (Moderna or Pfizer) you receive for your first and second dose.
Everyone who is 12 years and older should get the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines add one more layer of protection for you, your family, friends, and our community.
The vaccine is given by a needle in the upper arm. Some vaccines require two doses, which are given at two separate times. If you require a second dose, instructions will be provided to you at the time you receive your first dose. At this time, Ontario is extending second doses with a few exemptions. Please read ‘When will I get my Second Dose?’ for more information.
You should wait 14 days before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine if you have had another type of vaccine.
After receiving your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you should not receive any other vaccines for 28 days. If for some reason you need another vaccine within 28 days, discuss this with your doctor or health care provider.
You should wait to get the vaccine if you have a fever or COVID-19 right now. If you have COVID-19 symptoms you should go to get tested.
You should not get vaccinated if you:
- have allergies to any of the vaccine ingredients, including polyethylene glycol (PEG), tromethamine (trometamol or Tris), and polysorbate 80. If you are unsure of your allergies, please talk with your physician or healthcare provider.
- have had a severe allergic reaction after the first dose of the vaccine or a severe allergic reaction after a dose of any other ‘adenovirus-based vaccine’.
If you are concerned about whether you are able to get the vaccine because of a medical condition you have, talk to your health care provider.
Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past. They will look at your medical records and help you make the decision.
Please talk with your physician or healthcare provider to learn if it is safe for you to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Yes. When you are eligible to get the vaccine, you will not be turned away because you do not have a health card or Government issued ID.
After Getting Vaccinated & Immunity
COVID-19 vaccines have been found very effective in preventing COVID-19, however, there is still a chance that some people may get COVID-19 even after they are vaccinated. There are a number for this, including:
- COVID-19 vaccines are not 100% effective
- Building immunity takes time. Depending on the type of vaccine you get, you may be required to get two doses. This is because the two doses are needed for your body to have maximum protection against COVID-19. This protection, however, is not immediate. Vaccines are not considered effective until about 14 days after getting both doses. Someone that comes into contact with the virus just before or after receiving the vaccine may still get COVID-19 since they have not yet built up their immunity.
All of this means that we need to continue to follow public health measures including washing your hands, staying home when sick, maintaining physical distancing, and wearing a face mask as appropriate, even after receiving both doses of the vaccine.
At this time, the long-term protection from the COVID-19 vaccines is unknown. A booster may be required. These booster shots would be similar to those that we get for other diseases such as the flu and tetanus.
Yes. The vaccines are not 100% effective and transmission after vaccination is unknown at this time, so it may still be possible to pass the virus on to others. To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect those who are not yet vaccinated or who are unable to get vaccinated, it is important that anyone who develops symptoms gets tested and continues to isolate.
As of July 5th, the Federal government started the first phase of easing international boarders. This means travellers who are fully vaccinated with vaccines approved by Health Canada and are permitted to enter Canada:
- Will not be required to quarantine or complete a COVID-19 test on day-8.
- Will not need to stay at a government-authorized hotel if arriving in Canada by air.
Fully vaccinated travellers will still be required to:
- take a COVID-19 test before and upon arrival in Canada.
- have unvaccinated children quarantine for 14 days, since they can still spread the virus.
Travellers who are not fully vaccinated will need to continue with the current testing and federal quarantine requirements.
- For more information, please visit Backgrounder: Phase 1 of easing border measures for travellers entering Canada.
Last update March 21, 2021
FAQs About COVID-19
Human coronaviruses are quite common, usually similar to the common cold, and can spread easily between people.
On December 31, 2019, health authorities in China identified a new (or novel) coronavirus (referred to as 2019-nCoV), after several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. On February 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization named the new illness COVID-19, where COVI stands for coronavirus, D stands for disease and 19 represents 2019, the year it was first identified.
COVID-19 can spread by direct contact or when the droplets from a cough or a sneeze from an infected person are breathed in by anyone who is close to the infected person.
At this time, several new variants of concern (VOCs) are circulating in Ontario with the B1.1.7 VOC being the most prevalent. VOCs are transmitted similar to original strain but many describe them as more transmissible. The same public health measures and vaccinations are effective at preventing against VOCs spread.
Symptoms may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days, after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. *This time period may be updated as new information becomes available.
The infections are diagnosed by a specific laboratory test. See the Symptoms & Seeking Healthcare page for more details.
See our ''Stop the Spread' page for ways to protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, CK Public Health recommends that ALL residents practice physical distancing.
What is Physical Distancing?
Physical distancing is about taking steps to limit the number of people we come into close physical contact with to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It's working together as a community to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities, especially people who are at increased risk, such as older adults and people with chronic health issues.
Here are ways you can practice physical distancing:
- Stay home whenever possible;
- Avoid non-essential trips into the community (i.e. only go to medical appointments, pharmacy, get groceries, walk pets, or support vulnerable community members)
- Use takeout or delivery services when possible;
- If going into the community:
- leave 2-metres (the length of a hockey stick) between you and others;
- try to go during off-peak hours;
- call to ask neighbours if they need anything;
- wash your hands or use 70% alcohol hand sanitizer frequently.
- Avoid close contact with people outside your household
- Avoid bringing children together in groups (includes hanging out with friends, playdates, childcare in groups);
- Avoid in-person gatherings with friends/family outside your designated household. This also means gathering in people's homes;
- Arrange with employers to work from home when possible. Every workplace is different. Get in touch with your employer if you have questions about work arrangements;
- If working at home is not possible, space should be kept between all staff (at least 2 meters);
- Hold meetings virtually instead of in-person;
- Avoid hugs, handshakes, and other direct contact with others outside your designated household.
The decision to order physical distancing is not taken lightly. There are consequences for individuals, families, and communities. But, the restrictions to individual freedoms are needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If social distancing measures are taken seriously, the benefits outweigh the consequences.
What can you do while physical distancing?
If you do not have symptoms and have not travelled, there are many ways to stay healthy and active while practicing social distancing.
- Go outside to take a walk, while keeping the 2-meter distance from others outside your designated household;
- Explore delivery services available in Chatham-Kent or shop in off-peak hours;
- Check in on family and neighbours by phone or other technology options;
- Instead of a handshake you can smile, wave, or air hug to say hello;
- Make sure to keep 2 meters apart from others when going out into the community.
One of the most important benefits of social distancing is slowing the spread of infection to make sure our healthcare system is able to keep up.
Remember: Even though you might not feel sick and these measures are an inconvenience, social distancing is a way to protect each other. Please be mindful of the members of our community who are more at risk to COVID-19.
For More Information:
Public Health Ontario Physical Distancing Fact Sheet
Government of Canada's Social Distancing Infographic
Government of Canada's Éloignement physique
Face coverings will be required in all public spaces in Ontario.
Please see our face covering page to learn how to safely wear a mask.
Wearing a mask is only one aspect in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Please continue to abide by the following public health measures:
- Maintain physical distancing of two metres at all times
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol frequently
- Stay home (not going into the community or to work) if you’re not feeling well, and get tested for COVID-19.
Gloves are a very important piece of personal protective equipment for our healthcare workers. Gloves do not need to be worn by community members during daily activities such as grocery shopping.
Gloves can give us a false sense of security and if not used properly, can put us at increased risk for spreading infection. Gloves are meant to be used for one task and then thrown away properly. Wearing the same pair of gloves for long periods of time or for multiple tasks is not effective. For gloves to be used safely, we would have to change them frequently in between tasks. To use this many single-use, disposable gloves when hand hygiene is a better alternative is bad for the environment and the global shortage of protective supplies for healthcare workers.
Gloves cannot replace hand hygiene, and this is the most effective way to get rid of the virus if it does get on our hands.
It is important to remember that the virus does not get into our body through our skin. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 enters our body through mucus membranes (our eyes, nose, and mouth) through respiratory droplets from a person who has the virus. However, the average person touches their face more than 20 times per hour. If someone touches their face with gloves on, they are still at risk for spreading infection.
On March 26, the Government of Canada announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. THIS IS MANDATORY. Travellers are at higher risk of developing symptoms and infecting others.
Anyone permitted to enter Canada are subject to this Order, with the exception of certain people who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services. People who are exempt from the Order must practice physical distancing and self-monitor for symptoms, stay in their place of residence as much as possible, and follow the instructions of their local public health authority if they feel sick.
Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.
For more information see our Information for Travellers section.
The following people should self-isolate:
- Anyone who has returned from outside of Canada whether or not they you have symptoms of COVID-19. THIS IS MANDATORY;
- Anyone who has a lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection, does not need to be hospitalized, and a medical practitioner has told to recover at home;
- Anyone who has been tested or assessed for COVID-19 infection by a healthcare provider and are awaiting results or still have symptoms;
- Anyone who begins to feel unwell (fever, new cough or difficulty breathing) should return home and self-isolate immediately;
If you are self-isolating and need care, you should seek clinical assessment over the phone – either by calling your primary care provider’s office or Telehealth Ontario 1.866.797.0000. If you need additional assessment, your primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario will direct you to in-person care options.
If you are in close contact with someone who does not have COVID-19, but who was exposed to someone with COVID-19, you do not need to self-isolate. You can self-monitor for 14 days.
For more information on self-monitoring vs self-isolation see the Government of Canada's Know The Difference resource.
See CK Public Health's Current Level page for information about what is required to close and what can open.
CK Public Health staff are working with retail stores to develop practices and procedures that support physical distancing and other safe practices found on our information for workplaces page.
The short answer is: only if you are within 2-metres of someone who has the virus.
The main routes of transmission are through direct contact with an infected person and through droplets which are sneezed or coughed by someone who is infected and then enter someone else’s mouth, nose or eyes. The droplets that hold the virus are only in the air for a short time and travel only a short distance before they are pulled down by gravity. The latest science tells us that someone can only be infected while it’s in the air if they are within 2-metres of the cough or sneeze. This is why we are encouraging people to stay 2-metres away from others.
Longer and more complicated answer: Some evidence is suggesting that some situations could cause airborne or aerosol transmission. Physical settings with poor air circulation, and with crowds of people performing riskier behaviours (singing and speaking loudly without masks for instance) could be possible.
READ FULL REPORT OF ROUTES OF TRANSMISSION from Public Health Ontario
No, although research continues, there is no treatment or cure for COVID-19. And, the virus can be spread in all areas. The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is cleaning your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and staying 2-meters away from others. If you are spending time in a sweat lodge or sauna, please follow the prevention measures in our Prevent the Spread section and the infection prevention measures in our Resources for Healthcare Professionals & Service Providers section. And, drink lots of water.
While it may not seem like much, your efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 have a big impact. You help stop the spread when you:
- wash your hands frequently;
- cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow;
- avoid touching your face with unwashed hands;
- disinfect frequently touched surfaces;
- practice physical distancing & self-isolate when you should;
- share facts from good sources of information (like CK Public Health, the Governments of Ontario and Canada);
- help friends, family and neighbours who are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 (i.e. people who are 70 years or older or who have compromised immune system).
Learn more about how you can help stop the spread!
You may also consider connecting with local nonprofits to find out how to support friends, neighbours and community members affected by COVID-19.
Health care providers can sign up to help on the Health Workforce Matching Portal.
SPARK and the Government of Ontario are connecting volunteers with community response efforts to the COVID-19 Pandemic here.
COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it affects pregnant women. There is currently no evidence that suggests pregnant women are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. There is currently no evidence that a developing child could be negatively affected by COVID-19.
For more information visit: