Covid-19 Vaccine Information

COVID-19 – Vaccine FAQ

Last reviewed/updated: 12:57 pm, February 11, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Home Page

COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ

  1. Where can I sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
  2. How do mRNA vaccines work?
  3. Can an mRNA vaccine change a person’s DNA?
  4. Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me a COVID-19 infection?
  5. Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have an allergy to an ingredient in it?
  6. Who should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
  7. Can Pregnant or Breastfeeding individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
  8. If I have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 in the past can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
  9. Once I receive all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, can I stop following COVID-19 guidelines?
  10. How was the vaccine approved so quickly?
  11. How are Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) reported?
  12. How do I sign up to volunteer for the immunization clinics?
  13. If I have a secondary residence in Peterborough (ex. school or seasonal residence), can I get the vaccine here?
  14. How long do I have to wait after receiving dose 1 of the vaccine to receive dose 2?

 

  1. Where can I sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

At this time, there is no registration list available to sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine locally. The vaccine will be distributed in accordance with the Peterborough Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Plan. As more vaccines become available in Peterborough there will be updates made to alert residents. Peterborough Public Health is committed to remaining transparent on vaccine distribution locally. Please continue to review this webpage and follow Peterborough Public Health on social media for updates on COVID-19 vaccine availability.

  1. How do mRNA vaccines work?

RNA’ stands for ribonucleic acid, which is a molecule that provides cells with instructions for making proteins. RNA vaccines contain the instructions for making the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. This protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The mRNA molecule acts like a recipe, telling the cells of the body how to make the spike protein.

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given by injection into the muscle of the upper arm.

After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them. The mRNA never enters the central part (nucleus) of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is found.

The cell then puts the protein piece on outside. Our immune system recognizes that the protein doesn’t belong there and begins building an immune response and making antibodies.

Visit Health Canada for more information

  1. Can an mRNA vaccine change a person’s DNA?

No. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease.

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  1. Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me a COVID-19 infection?

No. The COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19.  The two vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada are mRNA vaccines. These vaccines train your immune system to recognize the COVID-19 virus and respond to it before it causes an infection. The COVID-19 vaccines have side effects, similar to any vaccine. These side effects are often mild and the result of the immune system training to recognize and respond to the vaccine.

It is also important to note that the vaccine’s protection is not optimal until about 2 weeks after the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. A person can still contract COVID-19 before they are fully protected.

  1. Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have an allergy to an ingredient in it?

Individuals with a history of anaphylaxis or a known hypersensitivity to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Please speak to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about the ingredients in the vaccine.

Here is the ingredient list for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

  1. Who should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

You should not receive COVID-19 vaccines if you have a history of anaphylaxis, or known hypersensitivity to a vaccine component. Speak to your HCP if you have an autoimmune disease, are immunocompromised or receiving immunosuppressant therapy, are on blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder.

Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccination Special Recommendations

  1. Can Pregnant or Breastfeeding individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Pregnant and Breastfeeding individuals were excluding from the Phase 3 clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines. However, if a pregnant individual would like to receive the COVID-19 vaccine they must review the COVID-19 vaccine information with their healthcare provider before receiving the vaccine. Breastfeeding individuals should review the COVID-19 vaccine information with their healthcare provider before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

  1. If I have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 in the past can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Individuals with previously PCR-confirmed COVID-19 can still receive the vaccine. However, as a precautionary measure and in light of the need to be able to monitor for COVID-19 vaccine adverse events without potential confounding from symptoms of COVID-19 or other co-existing illnesses, and to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 at the time of immunization, NACI recommends that it is prudent to wait until all symptoms of an acute illness are completely resolved before vaccinating with COVID-19 vaccine.1 Also as per NACI, in the context of limited supply, to allow for the protection of a larger number of at-risk individuals, vaccination with a COVID-19 vaccine may be delayed for 3 months following a PCR-confirmed infection, as reinfections reported to date have been rare within the first three months following infection

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  1. Once I receive all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, can I stop following COVID-19 guidelines?

Public Health recommends that after receiving the vaccine you must continue to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. This is because:
1) Current guidelines are based on case numbers not immunization rates. COVID-19 regulations will remain in place at this time. Once you receive the COVID-19 vaccine you will still be required to follow public health measures. The province will continuously review COVID-19 cases and regulations.
2) COVID-19 immunization in combination with mask use, washing hands regularly, and staying 2m distance will provide the best protection against COVID-19.  Experts need a better understanding of how long a vaccine provides immunity for and how many people in the population should receive the vaccine to provide community protection before regulations will be lifted.

  1. How was the vaccine approved so quickly?

Due to the heightened need for a COVID-19 vaccine, Health Canada was able to quickly review the vaccine company’s data as it was made available to allow them to make a decision of approval. In instances where the product benefit outweighs the potential risk, health products can be approved with conditions to continue monitoring. The approval is supported by the evidence that the vaccine is safe, of good quality, and is effective at disease prevention. Data will continue to be collected as more people become immunized to ensure safety and efficacy, similar to any other vaccine. Review these pages for information on Pfizer BioNTech approval or Moderna approval.

  1. How are Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) reported?

In Ontario, health professionals are required to report Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFIs) to their local public health unit. Public Health units investigate AEFIs and provide recommendations for future follow-up. This information is collected by the Public Health Agency of Canada and can signal a response for the vaccine to be reviewed further if necessary.

12. How do I sign up to volunteer for the immunization clinics?

At this time, plans have not been made for the use of volunteers to assist with the immunization clinics. However, there is a form on the Peterborough Public Health webpage that you can fill out. If volunteers are needed you may be contacted to assist.

13. If I have a secondary residence in Peterborough (ex. school or seasonal residence), can I get the vaccine here?

At this time, the COVID-19 vaccine will be prioritized for those at highest risk for severe complications due to COVID-19 or for those that are in close contact with those that are at highest risk for severe complications related to COVID-19. From there it will be prioritized based on age and proof of age will be needed. It is not clear that vaccines will be limited to only residents in the Peterborough region. This will be communicated when the mass vaccination clinics open.

14. How long do I have to wait after receiving dose 1 of the vaccine to receive dose 2?

There are two vaccines available in Canada that require two doses of the vaccine for optimal protection against COVID-19. The second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is to be administered 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine is to be administered 28 days after the first dose.

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