Covid-19 Vaccine Information

COVID-19 – Vaccine FAQ

Last reviewed/updated: September 2, 2021

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COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ – General Vaccine Questions

  1. How do mRNA vaccines work?
  2. Can an mRNA vaccine change a person’s DNA?
  3. Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me a COVID-19 infection?
  4. Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have an allergy to an ingredient in it?
  5. Who should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
  6. Can Pregnant or Breastfeeding individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
  7. If I have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 in the past can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
  8. Once I receive all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, can I stop following COVID-19 guidelines?
  9. How was the vaccine approved so quickly?
  10. How are Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) reported?
  11. Is the vaccine mandatory? Do I have to get it?
  12. Is the AstraZeneca vaccine available in Ontario?
  13. How do the vaccines compare to one another?
  14. Does the COVID-19 vaccine impact fertility?
  15. Why are some people concerned that the package inserts that come with vaccines blank?

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ – Clinic Vaccine Questions

16. Where can I sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
17. How do I sign up to volunteer for the immunization clinics?
18. If I have a secondary residence in Peterborough (ex. school or seasonal residence), can I get the vaccine here?
19. How long do I have to wait after receiving dose 1 of the vaccine to receive dose 2?
20. When I book an appointment, how will I know which vaccine I am getting?
21. I do not have an Ontario health card, how do I book? I have a red and white health card, how do I book?
22. How do I book an appointment for a single dose?
23. What can I expect at a vaccine clinic?
24. What is a vaccine appointment standby list? Can I be added to it?
25. What is a vaccine receipt? How do I get one if the original is lost?
26. I received my first dose outside of Ontario, how do I book an appointment for my second dose in Ontario?
27. Can I get a different vaccine (ex. influenza, tetanus) after my COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ – Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe for Kids?

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

Watch a short video on how mRNA vaccines work

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

No. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19.  These 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.

4. 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 consult their healthcare provider before booking an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Please review the vaccine consent form and speak to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about your health and the COVID-19 vaccine.

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

Please review the vaccine consent form and speak to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about your health and the COVID-19 vaccine.

For more guidance please visit the Guidance for Special Populations 

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

It is recommended, but not required, that pregnant individuals and breastfeeding individuals have discussion with their treating health care provider, or with a health care provider familiar with their pregnancy or medical history. This consultation should include a review of the risks and benefits of the vaccine and the potential risks of acquiring COVID-19 while pregnant.

7. 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, all symptoms must be clear before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and a person MUST be out of their period of isolation.

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

For now, 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. 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.

For more information, please review the COVID-19 vaccine aftercare guidance.

9. 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 and Moderna approval.

10. 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.

Please note – if you experience an AEFI please seek medical attention immediately. Call your healthcare provider or in an emergency please call 911. local public health units receive reports from your healthcare provider.

Health Canada reports all AEFIs related to the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit the Health Canada website for more information.

11. Is the vaccine mandatory? Do I have to get it?

The vaccine is not mandatory at this time. The decision to receive the vaccine is a personal decision. Take the time to review the facts from reputable sources and ask your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your health and the COVID-19 vaccine.

12. Is the AstraZeneca vaccine available in Ontario?

On may 11, the province announced they would be pausing the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario. Details on this pause can be found here.

The province has now provided an option for individuals who receive AstraZeneca as their first dose. Learn more about the second dose guidance here.

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13. How do the COVID-19 vaccines compare to one another?

Check out this document for a comparison of the COVID-19 vaccines. Please note – these figures are from clinical trials. More research is being conducted about the effectiveness of the vaccines at preventing COVID-19 infection and preventing serious illness.

14. Does the COVID-19 vaccine impact fertility?

No.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) states: ‘There is absolutely no evidence, and no theoretic reason to suspect that the COVID-19 vaccine could impair male or female fertility.’

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility

15. Why are some people concerned that the package inserts that come with vaccines blank?

Vaccine packages are not intended for the consumer so there is no requirement to include a package insert. This is a common practice among pharmaceuticals whose end user is a healthcare provider. Some vaccine manufacturers use a QR code on their package inserts to direct healthcare providers to the most up-to-date information on the company’s website. Again, this is common practice as information related to a medication can change over time, e.g. new eligibility criteria, new contraindications, etc. Those with questions about vaccine package inserts are advised to contact the manufacturer directly. Click here for information about the ingredients in vaccines, or to book an appointment to speak with a physician about your specific vaccine questions, please click here or call 416-438-2911 ext. 5738.

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

Get it now! You can get the vaccine through different ways:

  1. Find a walk-in clinic near you at the PPH walk-in clinic calendar at www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/walkin 
  2. Book an appointment for a local clinic online here
  3. Book an appointment over the phone at 1-833-943-3900
  4. Book at a local pharmacy clinic. Find a location here

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

A form is available on the Peterborough Public Health webpage that you can fill out.

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

Yes! Check out a local walk-in clinic for first and second doses.

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

National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has provided guidance that doses can be given up to 16 weeks apart. Ontario now recommends 28 days between doses.

21. When I book an appointment, how will I know which vaccine I am getting?

If you book through the provincial booking site, you will receive an mRNA vaccine. For more information on vaccine eligibility please visit the vaccine clinic webpage. For information on booking a second dose please visit the vaccine clinic webpage.

Before you book an appointment, please view the consent form to make sure you can verbally consent at the time of your appointment.

22. I do not have an Ontario health card, how do I book? I have a red and white health card, how do I book?

You can only book a vaccine appointment if you are eligible to receive the vaccine. Please visit the PPH vaccine page for more information on who is eligible to book an appointment.

If you do not have a health card, A process is developed to ensure people without an Ontario health card are able to receive the vaccine. Please fill out this form to begin the application process. You can also contact Peterborough Public Health at covidvaccine@peterboroughpublichealth.ca or at 705-743-1000 ext. 606. Please note – this email will only reply to people that are eligible to book a vaccine appointment and do not have a valid Ontario health card

If you have a red and white health card, please fill out this form to begin the application process. You can also contact Peterborough Public Health at covidvaccine@peterboroughpublichealth.ca or at 705-743-1000 ext. 606. Please note – this email will only reply to people that are eligible to book a vaccine appointment and do not have a valid Ontario health card

23. How do I book an appointment for a single dose?

The provincial vaccine booking system can now book single dose/second dose appointments. Review the Peterborough vaccine eligibility guidance document to learn more.

You can also attend a walk in clinic. No appointment needed! Check out a local walk-in clinic for first and second doses.

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24. What can I expect at a vaccine clinic?

Everything you need to know about attending a Peterborough vaccine clinic can be found here. 

You can also watch a video of the Evinrude clinic walk through here:

25. What is a vaccine appointment back-up list? Can I be added to it?

The back up list is now closed. If you require a COVID-19 vaccine you can get it by,

  1. Finding a walk-in clinic near you with the PPH walk-in clinic calendar at www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/walkin 
  2. Booking an appointment for a local clinic online here
  3. Booking an appointment over the phone at 1-833-943-3900
  4. Booking at a local pharmacy clinic. Find a location here

26. What is a vaccine receipt? How do I get one if the original is lost?

After a person has received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, they are given a vaccine receipt. This receipt may be a paper copy that you receive at the vaccine clinic. It may also be emailed to you after you receive the vaccine.

The vaccine receipt contains details about when and where you received your COVID-19 vaccine, which dose was received, and what type of vaccine was administered. This receipt is important to keep as a record of immunization.

If you have lost your COVID-19 vaccine receipt, you can get another one! Here is how:

  1. Go to the Ontario Vaccine Booking Online Form
  2. Type in your information as if you were booking a vaccine appointment, including health card information.
  3. Click the box that says ‘Vaccine Receipts’
  4. View and download your COVID-19 vaccine receipt(s)

27. I received my first dose outside of Ontario, how do I book an appointment for my second dose in Ontario?

Learn more here.

28. Can I get a different vaccine (ex. influenza, tetanus) after my COVID-19 vaccine?

It is best to space everything out. Try to schedule another vaccine (non-COVID vaccine) at least 14 days before your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Try not to schedule any non-COVID vaccine after your first dose and before your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Then try to schedule a non-COVID vaccine at least 28 days after receiving your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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