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Myths and Facts

Fact: No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response to vaccination, which is the goal, you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

Fact: No. Your menstrual cycle cannot be affected by being near someone who received a COVID-19 vaccine. Many things can affect menstrual cycles, including stress, changes in your schedule, problems with sleep, and changes in diet or exercise. Infections may also affect menstrual cycles.

Fact: None of the approved COVID-19 vaccines have porcine gelatin (a substance derived from pork products commonly used to stabilize vaccines) listed as a non-medical ingredient.

Fact: There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. 

Like all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will continue to study them for many years.

Fact: Precautions such as wearing a mask and physical distancing are still required, even if you are vaccinated. Public Health officials will let you know when precautions are no longer needed.

Fact: It is important you talk to your healthcare provider for advice based on your medical history before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fact: Similar to other vaccines, some individuals can develop short-term and mild side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Ongoing research is showing that 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.

Infection with the COVID-19 virus can lead to a variety of longer lasting, mild to severe symptoms.

Fact: Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Both types of COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.  However, these instructions never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.  This means the instructions in the vaccines cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. All COVID-19 vaccines work with the body's natural defense to safely develop immunity to the disease.

Fact: No this does not happen. Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use contain a live virus. The mRNA and viral vector vaccines are the two types of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines available.

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.

Read more information on vaccines and vaccine authorization updates from the Government of Canada.

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: People 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. Vaccines are only available to those who meet the eligibility criteria, but one caregiver can be at the appointment for support. 

Yes, a family member can assist in filling out the online booking form. For those unable to book online, help is available by contacting the booking hotline at 226-773-2200. Due to high call volumes, it may take multiple attempts to speak with a representative.

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. You do not have to be a Canadian citizen to receive a vaccine if you are a current resident of Windsor-Essex and in an eligible group.

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 individuals with autoimmune conditions and immunocompromised persons, and individuals with allergies is available in the Vaccination Recommendations for Special Populations guidance document.

Pregnant individuals may choose to receive the vaccine at any time during their pregnancy, and those who are breastfeeding can also receive a vaccine. It is recommended that pregnant or breastfeeding individuals have a discussion prior to being vaccinated with their treating health care provider or with a health care provider familiar with their pregnancy. Please see the COVID-19 Vaccination Recommendations for Special Populations for further details on COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant individuals. In addition, view Vaccination in Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Decision-Making Support Tool.

Please note:  The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) 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.

Please make every effort to keep your second dose vaccine appointment. Please note that second dose appointments are scheduled as per the direction from the Ontario Ministry of Health. When you are booking a second dose appointment at a mass vaccination site, you will be able to choose the location, date, and time from a selection of options available at the time.

If there is a concern about a second appointment, please contact the organization or pharmacy who administered the first dose (found on your vaccine receipt).

If you are a medical professional or student who will be in a different country or location, you may be able to contact the local hospital to inquire about getting a vaccine there; however, it is best if you do make every effort to keep the second dose appointment that is offered to you.

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.

Individuals who have been vaccinated will receive a paper receipt of vaccination and if they consent to receive information electronically, they can receive a digital receipt via email.

To get your vaccination receipts, visit

Updating personal information in the vaccine database:
The contact information you provided at your first dose appointment will be used to communicate with you about your second dose appointment if required. If you have since changed your contact information, please contact the agency who administered your first dose to request that your information be updated. This request may be completed on a case by case basis for essential changes only.

As it is not known when it may be possible to vaccinate homebound individuals, there may be transportation and support options available to attend the accessible, mass vaccination sites. Call 211 by phone for referrals to local services available to help with transportation to the vaccination site. If you are able to arrange for your own transportation, wheelchairs are also available on site.

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 a COVID-19 vaccine.

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.

As further information becomes available from clinical trials and Health Canada approvals, the groups for which the vaccines are authorized for use could change. To view current recommendations, visit Recommendations for the Use of COVID-19 Vaccines.

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 herd immunity is achieved, 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.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself from others and complete the online self-assessment to determine your next steps.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you are required to continue self-isolating and follow guidance outlined on our website. The WECHU case management team will record this when you are followed up with as a positive case. Please inform your case manager of your vaccination history when you are contacted.

The length of time between your first and second vaccine dose may be up to 16 weeks. View the anticipated second dose schedule. For eligibility and booking information, visit

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.

To learn about currently approved COVID-19 vaccines, how they work, their effectiveness, and how they are administered, visit About COVID-19 Vaccines. 

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 mass vaccination sites, participating pharmacies, and participating primary care providers are currently providing first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna depending on vaccine supply. Information on second doses can be found by visiting Please note: Individuals under the age of 18 on the day of their appointment are only eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

Please visit to learn more about the vaccines currently authorized by Health Canada.  If you have any concerns about whether a COVID-19 vaccine is right for you, please contact your health care provider.

See current eligible populations for first and second dose appointments and booking information by visiting

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.

To stay up to date with vaccine availability and when you may be able to receive a first or second dose, continue to visit regularly, sign up for WECHU email alerts, and watch our regular YouTube updates.

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 2 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.

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