COVID-19 VACCINE INFORMATION

LAST UPDATED: DECEMBER 3, 2021

WHAT

 

WHAT

What is COVID-19?


COVID-19 stands for the coronavirus disease, first identified in 2019. COVID-19 is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2.




What are the COVID-19 variants?


If you are exposed to a virus, it will enter your body and replicate itself, creating more and more copies. A mutation occurs when a virus makes a mistake when replicating. If enough mutations occur and are repeated, it will become a variant strain. A 'variant of concern' is a version of the virus that is typically more infectious, deadly, and/or is resistant to current preventive public health measures.
As of December 2021, there are five COVID-19 variants of concern. The most concerning one in Ontario is the delta variant.




What is the COVID-19 vaccine?


The COVID-19 vaccine is an injection that teaches your body to defend itself from the virus. The vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe and effective. The vaccines rely on mRNA or a non-replicating viral vector to achieve immunity. These vaccines do not inject you with the live virus. You cannot get COVID-19 from the COVID-19 vaccines. A visual illustration of what mRNA is from Virus to Spike Protein to mRNA to the mRNA encapsulated by the vesicle to create the vaccine.




What COVID-19 vaccines are available?


There are two mRNA vaccines and two non-replicating viral vector (NRVV) vaccines approved for use in Canada:

  • Pfizer: 2 doses (mRNA)
  • Moderna: 2 doses (mRNA)
  • AstraZeneca: 2 doses (NRVV)
  • Johnson & Johnson: 1 dose (NRVV)




What is the best COVID-19 vaccine for me to get?


The vaccines approved by Health Canada are all safe and effective. The best vaccination you can get is the first vaccine available to you! If you have concerns about the vaccines, talk to your health care provider. It is safe to mix vaccine brands as recommended by public health guidelines. If you receive an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) as your first dose, you can receive either of the mRNA vaccines as your second dose. If you received AstraZeneca as your first dose, you can receive an mRNA vaccine as your second dose or another dose of AstraZeneca.




What can I expect when I go to get my COVID-19 vaccine?


Experiences can differ across vaccine clinics. Below is what you may expect if you are going to a scheduled appointment:

  1. Arriving and checking in with a volunteer
  2. Answering COVID-19-specific screening questions, and providing your health card*
  3. Sitting down with a qualified healthcare worker to receive your vaccine
  4. Waiting for 15 minutes after your vaccination to ensure you feel okay
  5. Going home with a sheet that indicates you have received your dose and what side effects you could expect.
If you have a fear of needles, require translation services or need any other help, call ahead to make those arrangements. If you have a history of fainting, dizziness or allergic reactions to needles, you are not eligible for drive-through vaccination options and should attend a clinic, hospital, pharmacy or pop-up.

*If you do not have a health card, there are clinics available to serve your needs. Typically, these clinics require one piece of ID. You do not need to have a health card to get vaccinated in Ontario. If you need support in finding a vaccination clinic that fits your needs, send us an email at outreach@missinformed.ca .




What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?


Common side effects from the vaccine may include:

  • Body Pain
  • Redness and swelling around the site of injection
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever and nausea
Side effects after your second dose can be more severe than those from your first dose. These side effects are common and temporary. Having no side effects is also normal. Although very rare, severe side effects, including blood clots, heart inflammation, capillary leak syndrome, Guillain Barre Syndrome, or allergic reactions may occur. As of July 5th, 99.9% of vaccinated people have not had any of these severe side effects. Side effects to vaccines are always monitored. If you do develop any severe side effects, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital.

A diagram of the human body and the common side effects associated with the COVID-19 vaccines.




What is mRNA?


Ok, so, you’ve probably heard about DNA. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a molecule that stores your body’s genetic code. It contains the instructions your body needs to produce all the proteins it uses to function. In order to stay protected, DNA lives in the nucleus of the cell. When your body needs to make a protein, the specific region of the DNA which contains the instructions for that protein will be turned into mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid). mRNA is the messenger which will carry the instructions for making the protein outside of the nucleus and into the cytoplasm of the cell. There, the instructions of the mRNA will be read and turned into a protein. This is done by a specific part of the cell called a ribosome. And once the protein is made, the mRNA is broken down by the cell. That’s it! mRNA is just the intermediate step between the genetic instructions and the final protein. mRNA is absolutely essential for your body. Your genetic code could not be used by your body without it, and proteins would never get made.





WHY


How


 

WHAT

What is COVID-19?


COVID-19 stands for the coronavirus disease, first identified in 2019. COVID-19 is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2.




What are the COVID-19 variants?


If you are exposed to a virus, it will enter your body and replicate itself, creating more and more copies. A mutation occurs when a virus makes a mistake when replicating. If enough mutations occur and are repeated, it will become a variant strain. A 'variant of concern' is a version of the virus that is typically more infectious and deadly. As of July 2021, there are four COVID-19 variants of concern. The most concerning one in Ontario is the delta variant.




What is the COVID-19 vaccine?


The COVID-19 vaccine is an injection that teaches your body to defend itself from the virus. The vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe and effective. The vaccines rely on mRNA or a non-replicating viral vector to achieve immunity. These vaccines do not inject you with the live virus. You cannot get COVID-19 from the COVID-19 vaccines. A visual illustration of what mRNA is from Virus to Spike Protein to mRNA to the mRNA encapsulated by the vesicle to create the vaccine.




What COVID-19 vaccines are available?


There are two mRNA vaccines and two non-replicating viral vector (NRVV) vaccines approved for use in Canada:

  • Pfizer: 2 doses (mRNA)
  • Moderna: 2 doses (mRNA)
  • AstraZeneca: 2 doses (NRVV)
  • Johnson & Johnson: 1 dose (NRVV)




What is the best COVID-19 vaccine for me to get?


The vaccines approved by Health Canada are all safe and effective. The best vaccination you can get is the first vaccine available to you! If you have concerns about the vaccines, talk to your health care provider. It is safe to mix vaccine brands as recommended by public health guidelines. If you receive an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) as your first dose, you can receive either of the mRNA vaccines as your second dose. If you received AstraZeneca as your first dose, you can receive an mRNA vaccine as your second dose or another dose of AstraZeneca.




What can I expect when I go to get my COVID-19 vaccine?


Experiences can differ across vaccine clinics. Below is what you may expect if you are going to a scheduled appointment:

  1. Arriving and checking in with a volunteer
  2. Answering COVID-19-specific screening questions, and providing your health card*
  3. Sitting down with a qualified healthcare worker to receive your vaccine
  4. Waiting for 15 minutes after your vaccination to ensure you feel okay
  5. Going home with a sheet that indicates you have received your dose and what side effects you could expect.
If you have a fear of needles, require translation services or need any other help, call ahead to make those arrangements. If you have a history of fainting, dizziness or allergic reactions to needles, you are not eligible for drive-through vaccination options and should attend a clinic, hospital, pharmacy or pop-up.

*If you do not have a health card, there are clinics available to serve your needs. Typically, these clinics require one piece of ID. You do not need to have a health card to get vaccinated in Ontario. If you need support in finding a vaccination clinic that fits your needs, send us an email at outreach@missinformed.ca .




What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?


Common side effects from the vaccine may include:

  • Body Pain
  • Redness and swelling around the site of injection
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever and nausea
Side effects after your second dose can be more severe than those from your first dose. These side effects are common and temporary. Having no side effects is also normal. Although very rare, severe side effects, including blood clots, heart inflammation, capillary leak syndrome, Guillain Barre Syndrome, or allergic reactions may occur. As of July 5th, 99.9% of vaccinated people have not had any of these severe side effects. Side effects to vaccines are always monitored. If you do develop any severe side effects, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital.

A diagram of the human body and the common side effects associated with the COVID-19 vaccines.





WHY

Why should I get vaccinated against COVID-19?


Once you are vaccinated, you are significantly less likely to get COVID-19. If you do get infected, you are less likely to experience severe side effects, need hospitalization or die from the virus. Even if you have had COVID-19, it is a good idea to get vaccinated as it provides a strong boost of protection. It is important to get vaccinated to prevent the virus from replicating and mutating into variants that can become resistant to the current vaccines. The virus can only mutate in infected people. Our best protection against the COVID-19 virus is to get vaccinated.




Why should I get a second dose?


If you received Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca as your first dose, you need a second dose to be fully vaccinated. Being fully vaccinated offers you the greatest protection against COVID-19. You will be partially protected 2 weeks after your first dose, but your second dose will provide more effective, longer-term protection from all existing variants.




Why is herd immunity important?


Herd immunity happens when most people are immune to a specific disease, making that disease less likely to spread. Herd immunity helps protect those who cannot get vaccinated, such as newborns, from contracting the virus. Vaccination is critical towards reaching a point of herd immunity. Measles, mumps, polio, and chickenpox are infectious diseases that used to be very common. With the help of vaccines, we have reached herd immunity for each of these infectious diseases. Now, these diseases are very rare in countries with high vaccination rates. To achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, we need every eligible person to get vaccinated. The sooner we get fully vaccinated, the quicker life will return to normal.





How


 

WHAT

What is COVID-19?


COVID-19 stands for the coronavirus disease, first identified in 2019. COVID-19 is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2.




What are the COVID-19 variants?


If you are exposed to a virus, it will enter your body and replicate itself, creating more and more copies. A mutation occurs when a virus makes a mistake when replicating. If enough mutations occur and are repeated, it will become a variant strain. A 'variant of concern' is a version of the virus that is typically more infectious and deadly. As of July 2021, there are four COVID-19 variants of concern. The most concerning one in Ontario is the delta variant.




What is the COVID-19 vaccine?


The COVID-19 vaccine is an injection that teaches your body to defend itself from the virus. The vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe and effective. The vaccines rely on mRNA or a non-replicating viral vector to achieve immunity. These vaccines do not inject you with the live virus. You cannot get COVID-19 from the COVID-19 vaccines. A visual illustration of what mRNA is from Virus to Spike Protein to mRNA to the mRNA encapsulated by the vesicle to create the vaccine.




What COVID-19 vaccines are available?


There are two mRNA vaccines and two non-replicating viral vector (NRVV) vaccines approved for use in Canada:

  • Pfizer: 2 doses (mRNA)
  • Moderna: 2 doses (mRNA)
  • AstraZeneca: 2 doses (NRVV)
  • Johnson & Johnson: 1 dose (NRVV)




What is the best COVID-19 vaccine for me to get?


The vaccines approved by Health Canada are all safe and effective. The best vaccination you can get is the first vaccine available to you! If you have concerns about the vaccines, talk to your health care provider. It is safe to mix vaccine brands as recommended by public health guidelines. If you receive an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) as your first dose, you can receive either of the mRNA vaccines as your second dose. If you received AstraZeneca as your first dose, you can receive an mRNA vaccine as your second dose or another dose of AstraZeneca.




What can I expect when I go to get my COVID-19 vaccine?


Experiences can differ across vaccine clinics. Below is what you may expect if you are going to a scheduled appointment:

  1. Arriving and checking in with a volunteer
  2. Answering COVID-19-specific screening questions, and providing your health card*
  3. Sitting down with a qualified healthcare worker to receive your vaccine
  4. Waiting for 15 minutes after your vaccination to ensure you feel okay
  5. Going home with a sheet that indicates you have received your dose and what side effects you could expect.
If you have a fear of needles, require translation services or need any other help, call ahead to make those arrangements. If you have a history of fainting, dizziness or allergic reactions to needles, you are not eligible for drive-through vaccination options and should attend a clinic, hospital, pharmacy or pop-up.

*If you do not have a health card, there are clinics available to serve your needs. Typically, these clinics require one piece of ID. You do not need to have a health card to get vaccinated in Ontario. If you need support in finding a vaccination clinic that fits your needs, send us an email at outreach@missinformed.ca .




What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?


Common side effects from the vaccine may include:

  • Body Pain
  • Redness and swelling around the site of injection
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever and nausea
Side effects after your second dose can be more severe than those from your first dose. These side effects are common and temporary. Having no side effects is also normal. Although very rare, severe side effects, including blood clots, heart inflammation, capillary leak syndrome, Guillain Barre Syndrome, or allergic reactions may occur. As of July 5th, 99.9% of vaccinated people have not had any of these severe side effects. Side effects to vaccines are always monitored. If you do develop any severe side effects, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital.

A diagram of the human body and the common side effects associated with the COVID-19 vaccines.





WHY

Why should I get vaccinated against COVID-19?


Once you are vaccinated, you are significantly less likely to get COVID-19. If you do get infected, you are less likely to experience severe side effects, need hospitalization or die from the virus. Even if you have had COVID-19, it is a good idea to get vaccinated as it provides a strong boost of protection. It is important to get vaccinated to prevent the virus from replicating and mutating into variants that can become resistant to the current vaccines. The virus can only mutate in infected people. If people are fully vaccinated, the virus will not have the chance to mutate and create more variants. Our best protection against the COVID-19 virus is to get vaccinated.




Why should I get a second dose?


If you received Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca as your first dose, you need a second dose to be fully vaccinated. Being fully vaccinated offers you the greatest protection against COVID-19. You will be partially protected 2 weeks after your first dose, but your second dose will provide more effective, longer-term protection from all existing variants.




Why is herd immunity important?


Herd immunity happens when most people are immune to a specific disease, making that disease less likely to spread. Herd immunity helps protect those who cannot get vaccinated, such as newborns, from contracting the virus. Vaccination is critical towards reaching a point of herd immunity. Measles, mumps, polio, and chickenpox are infectious diseases that used to be very common. With the help of vaccines, we have reached herd immunity for each of these infectious diseases. Now, these diseases are very rare in countries with high vaccination rates. To achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, we need every eligible person to get vaccinated. The sooner we get fully vaccinated, the quicker life will return to normal.





How

How do the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines work?


The most widely available vaccines in Canada are Pfizer and Moderna. These vaccines use mRNA to teach your body to protect itself from COVID-19. mRNA is a molecule that provides instructions to your cells on how to build proteins. The mRNA vaccine supplies instructions for your cells to build a specific spike protein found on the COVID-19 virus. Once your body makes the spike protein, it breaks down the mRNA instructions and removes them. The spike proteins trigger your immune system to produce antibodies. The antibodies will recognize the spike proteins and destroy them if they reappear, preventing COVID-19 infections or lessening the symptoms caused by a COVID-19 infection. A second dose is needed to remind your body of the spike protein and produce more antibodies so that you are more fully protected against the virus.




How do I know the COVID-19 vaccine is effective and safe?


COVID-19 vaccines followed the same review and approval processes as other drugs and vaccines approved in Canada. This review process aims to ensure the vaccines are safe and effective before administering to the public. Below are the steps each of the COVID-19 vaccines underwent in order to be approved:

  1. Exploratory: The vaccine was developed using existing technology that has been in development for the treatment of other similar viruses.
  2. Preclinical: The vaccine was tested on cells and animals to collect initial information on whether it was safe and effective to move forward to humans.
  3. Clinical Trials: These trials compared vaccinated and unvaccinated groups to answer questions about the efficacy* and safety of the vaccine.
  4. Phase I: The vaccine was tested in small groups (tens of people) to determine a safe dosage level, side effects, and whether there were any major safety concerns.
  5. Phase II: The vaccine was tested in larger groups (hundreds of people) to identify how well it works, the optimal dose, and to confirm if it is safe.
  6. Phase III: The vaccine was tested in even larger groups (thousands of people) to determine the vaccine’s efficacy* in preventing disease and to identify any other side effects.
  7. Approval: After all the trials had well-documented data, an application was sent to Health Canada for an independent review. A separate group of health experts reviewed all of the clinical trials to make sure they used proper methods and reported data correctly. This is the highest standard of review required to approve the vaccine to be administered to the public.
  8. Continued Monitoring (Phase IV): Health Canada regularly monitors information about approved vaccines. This stage consists of safety monitoring, examining vaccine effectiveness within specific subgroups, and studying the duration of immunity.
While clinical trials and approval processes can take years to complete, the COVID-19 vaccines received an enormous amount of funding and joint effort between multiple governing and research organizations. Through this collective effort, the world was able to approve safe and effective vaccines in a short time. *Efficacy is the degree to which a vaccine prevents disease under ideal and controlled environments like a clinical trial. Effectiveness refers to how well the vaccine works in the real world.




How much do the COVID-19 vaccines cost?


All COVID-19 vaccines in Canada are FREE for everyone, even if you do not have a health card or citizenship/ permanent resident immigration status. Click here to find a clinic near you.




How do I know if I am eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?


In Ontario, you are eligible to receive a vaccine if you are over the age of 12. Some clinics require that you present an Ontario health card to receive the vaccine, but there are many pop-up vaccination sites that do not require a health card. If you are looking for a low-barrier clinic (ex: surveillance-free setting, no ID necessary, no appointment necessary), we are here to support you! Please email us at outreach@missinformed.ca and one of our team members would be happy to help find a low-barrier clinic near you.




How do I know the COVID-19 vaccine was tested on people who look like me?


Representation of racialized people and ethnic minorities in vaccine trials is important to ensure a vaccine is safe and effective in different populations. The two primary manufacturers for vaccines approved in Canada are Pfizer and Moderna. Both manufacturers ran large trials for their respective vaccines; the demographic data of the trials is outlined below. All participants in these trials gave their informed consent to receive either the COVID-19 vaccination or a placebo (injection without vaccine). Whether someone received the vaccine or placebo was a random process and neither the participant nor the researcher knew which injection someone may have received.
In addition to these trials, millions of people living in Canada have been vaccinated. It’s very likely that many people from your community have already been vaccinated! Try to talk to people in your community who have been vaccinated and learn about their experiences.




How many people have been vaccinated?


68% of people living in Ontario are fully vaccinated.




How do I get my vaccine if I can’t book time off work?


If you live in Ontario, you are eligible for job-protected infectious disease emergency leave to get your vaccine. Employers must provide eligible employees with up to three days of paid leave for certain reasons related to COVID-19. This includes taking time off to get your vaccine and taking time off if you develop any side effects from the vaccine. Employers cannot fire you for taking time off work to get vaccinated or rest at home due to side effects from the vaccine. The Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Benefit will be in effect until September 25, 2021. Read more about the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Benefit here.





 

WHERE

There are many places to get vaccinated across the province including pharmacies, doctor’s offices, hospitals and pop-up clinics.

Find the closest place to you and get vaccinated.
 

Book your appointment via the link below

 

COMMON 
QUESTIONS + MISCONCEPTIONS

Is it safe to mix vaccines?


It is safe to mix the COVID-19 vaccines. Mixing vaccines is not a new idea. It has been done in the past with Ebola, flu shots, and hepatitis vaccines. 

 

Mixing Astrazeneca with mRNA

New evidence suggests mixing AstraZeneca with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna) is highly effective and safe. There is also no known risk of blood clots with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. If you got Astrazeneca as your first dose, it is recommended you get either Pfizer or Moderna as your second dose. However, you can also get a second dose of Astrazeneca if you had no severe issues with your first dose. Once you have two doses, you are fully vaccinated and have the greatest protection against COVID-19.

 

Mixing mRNA with mRNA

The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) can also be mixed because they are so similar. Vaccines from different companies can be mixed when they:

  1. Have the same purpose

  2. Are used in the same populations

  3. Work in the same way

  4. Are equally safe

  5. Are equally effective

Looking at all these characteristics, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are pretty much the same. This means that if you got Pfizer as your first shot, you can get Moderna as your second. If you got Moderna first, you can get Pfizer second.

The most important thing is to get the first vaccine available to you!

Have More Questions?

Is there anything else you would like to know about the vaccine rollout? If there is a question that you would like for us to look into please submit it here!

Thank you!