COVID-19 Vaccine Myths, Facts, and FAQs
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Myths and Facts
Fact: There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines cause any problems with fertility.
Fact: Similar to other vaccines, individuals can develop short-term and mild side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Ongoing research on the vaccines indicates serious side effects are extremely rare. Experiencing mild side effects, such as pain where the needle was given, tiredness, chills, headache, and muscle pain can be expected and indicates that the vaccine is working to produce protection or immunity. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine side effects.
Infection with the COVID-19 virus can lead to a variety of longer lasting, mild to severe symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, new or worsening cough, tiredness, shortness of breath, sore throat, lack of taste and/or smell, nausea, and more. Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms.
Fact: Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines were developed quickly, however, are still safe and effective. Only vaccines that Health Canada determines to be safe and effective will be approved for use in Canada and Ontario. The progress on COVID-19 vaccines is happening quickly for many reasons including:
- Research on other strains of coronavirus before COVID-19 (e.g. Sars-CoV),
- Advances in science and technology,
- International collaboration among scientists, health professionals, researchers, industry and governments, and
- Increased dedicated funding.
Health Canada has maintained the same scientific and quality standards for the review and approval of COVID-19 vaccines that were in place before the pandemic. All four approved vaccines are effective at preventing severe, symptomatic infection with COVID-19.
Fact: You cannot get the COVID-19 virus from the COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19 and do not cause the disease they are designed to prevent.
Fact: Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 may contract the virus again and would still benefit from the protection of the vaccine. It is important to follow public health guidelines after you have recovered from COVID-19 to protect yourself from contracting the virus again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. If you do not have an OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) card, you can still get a vaccine by presenting another form of a government issued-photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport, Status Card or other provincial health cards.
It is recommended to speak with your health care provider before you receive the vaccine if you have any pre-existing health conditions or concerns.
Guidance for special populations, including pregnant and/or breastfeeding women, individuals with autoimmune conditions and immunocompromised persons, and individuals with allergies is available in the Vaccination Recommendations for Special Populations guidance document.
Individuals who have previously had COVID-19 can still receive the second dose. Individuals cannot receive the vaccine if they currently have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19. If you have received the first dose, you can receive the second dose if you have fully recovered and have no symptoms.
Yes. Please continue to follow current public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Vaccines work by teaching your immune system how to produce natural protection that prevents you from becoming sick if you are exposed to the virus in the future. The vaccine provides your body with something that looks like the infection so that your immune system can learn how to produce natural protection, without exposing you to the virus that causes COVID-19. All four of the vaccines are administered by injection as a needle in the upper arm.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a method called messenger RNA (mRNA) which acts as a code that tells your cells how to make a piece of the outer lining of the virus, for a short period of time. This piece of the virus is enough for your immune system to learn how to recognize and be ready to fight off the virus, but it cannot hurt you.
The AstraZeneca and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines are slightly different in that they use a harmless non-replicating viral vector, which produces components of the outer lining of the virus. These will not cause COVID-19 infection, but it remains in the body long enough to build an immune response to the virus.
All four of the vaccines are administered by injection as a needle in the upper arm. Learn more about the Extension of the Second Dose Interval.
- Pfizer-BioNTech – Two doses*
- Moderna– Two doses*
- AstraZeneca – Two doses*
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) – One dose
*Effective March 10th, all second doses will be scheduled 4 months following the first dose.
It is very important that you receive the second dose, if required. Both doses are necessary to promote continued immunity to COVID-19.
Individuals who have been vaccinated will receive receipt of vaccination and if they consent to receive information electronically, they can receive a digital receipt via email.
Yes. If you have already had COVID-19, have fully recovered from it, and are eligible to receive the vaccine under Ontario’s phased distribution plan, there are no limitations on receiving COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
It is very important that those who have tested positive for COVID-19 not leave isolation to try to obtain a vaccine. Individuals must complete their isolation period, be symptom free, and meet current eligibility criteria before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
See current vaccination clinics and sites, and information related to registration for eligible individuals, by visiting our website. As our region begins to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, there will initially be a limited supply.
Please note that the provincial government’s three phase vaccine distribution plan sets the order and priorities for distribution for local public health units to follow. The groups selected in each phase are based on an ethical framework established by the Government of Ontario.
As availability increases, they will be more widely available and the WECHU will continue to update the community.
To stay up to date with vaccine availability and when you may be able to receive the vaccine, continue to visit wechu.org regularly, sign up for WECHU email alerts, and watch our regular YouTube updates.
When a large percentage of the population becomes immune to a disease, in this case - COVID-19, the spread of the virus will slow down or stop. This is known as herd immunity. In most cases, 80 to 95% of the population must be immune to a disease to stop its spread and achieve herd immunity.
Until vaccines are widely available in our region, we all must continue to follow local public health advice for our region and avoid travelling. Read about current public health advice for our region.
COVID-19 vaccines should not be received at the same time as other vaccines. You can receive other vaccines after at least 28 days after you receive the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. You should wait 14 days after receiving another vaccine before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
For the current distribution phase, daily doses administered, total doses administered, and total vaccinations completed, visit the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario webpage.
The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines have each been approved by Health Canada and are used to prevent COVID-19. View Health Canada’s authorized vaccines for COVID-19. Before any vaccines are available in Ontario or Canada, they undergo large clinical trials to determine if they are safe and effective. Health Canada has maintained the same quality standards for review and approval of COVID-19 vaccines as were in place before the pandemic.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that the COVID-19 vaccine should currently not be offered to the following individuals until further evidence is available:
- Individuals who have any symptoms that could be due to COVID-19.
- Individuals who have received another vaccine (not a COVID-19 vaccine) in the past 14 days.
- Individuals who are NOT in the authorized age group.
- The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine: Individuals under the age of 16 years.
- The Moderna vaccine: Individuals under the age of 18 years.
- The AstraZeneca vaccine: Individuals under the age of 18 years.*
- The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine: Individuals under the age of 18 years.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please speak with your health care provider for additional advice.
- Individuals who have ever had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of an mRNA or viral vector vaccine or to any of its components.
- Individuals with allergies to any of the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine. See Product Monographs for list of ingredients:
- Individuals with autoimmune conditions, or individuals who are immunocompromised due to disease or treatment. Please speak with your health care provider for additional guidance.
Please note: The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit does not provide individual patient counselling on the suitability of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals should speak to their health care provider about any serious allergies or other health concerns they may have before receiving the vaccine. As further information becomes available from clinical trials and Health Canada approvals, the groups for which the vaccines are authorized for use could change.
* The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should not be used in adults under 55 years of age at this time. Learn more about NACI rapid response: Recommended use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in younger adults.
As more vaccines are made and distributed, the Government of Canada expects to be able to offer free vaccination to every Canadian who wants one
A ‘variant’ is when the virus has changed or mutated. Some variants of the virus can become a concern for public health when the mutation or change makes it harder to stop the spread. For example, a variant of concern (VOC) can:
- Spread more easily
- Cause more severe symptoms
- Make it harder to diagnose
- Affect the effectiveness of the vaccine
The provincial distribution plan has not been altered due to the VOCs. Ontario is currently in Phase 1 of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan and continues to administer vaccines to the province’s most vulnerable populations.
Public health is monitoring variant strains of COVID-19 and ensuring safety recommendations are followed in order to stop the spread of the virus. For more information, visit Public Health Ontario’s website.