Answers to your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions

Updated April 29, 2022

Information about COVID-19 vaccines is continuously emerging. Information on this page is up to date as of the last update noted above.

Who is eligible to be vaccinated?

Everyone age 5 and older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. There is not yet an approved vaccine for children under 5.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Public Health clinics: Make an appointment at one of the locations available in the appointment booking system or drop in to a clinic during drop-in hours.

Pharmacies: Many pharmacies in the WDG area are offering vaccines as well. To book an appointment, find a participating pharmacy, some may be offering walk-ins as well.

You can also check with your primary care provider or doctor.

What vaccines are available and what vaccine will I get at my appointment?

There are six COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada so far. Information about each can be found on the Government of Canada website: Vaccines for COVID-19: Authorized vaccines.

Both mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) are available at our clinics. It is recommended that anyone younger than 30 receive Pfizer.

If you would prefer to receive a non-mRNA vaccine (Novavax, J&J or Medicago), please contact our call centre to make a request and learn more about availability at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006.

Why should I get vaccinated? 

Getting vaccinated is important because:

  • It can lower your chance of getting sick with and spreading the virus.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are proven safe and effective, especially at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
  • Getting vaccinated is a safer way to build immunity than risking the unpredictable effects or long-term consequences of COVID-19 infection.
  • The more people who are vaccinated in the community, the lower the risk of infection for those who:
    • can’t be vaccinated
    • are too young to receive vaccines
    • developed only partial immunity from the vaccine
  • COVID-19 vaccination has a predictable level of protection while natural immunity from infection may vary.
Do I need to get all doses I am eligible for?

Protection may wane over time and to protect against the latest variant, Ontarians are strongly encouraged to get all doses they are eligible for. Visit our Booster Doses page to check eligibility.

You are considered fully vaccinated in Ontario if you have received:

  • the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines (two doses of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, including COVISHIELD) in any combination or one dose of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada
  • three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada
  • your final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before providing the proof of being fully vaccinated.
When should I get my next dose of vaccine if recently had COVID-19?

If you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine but have recently had a COVID-19 infection, you should wait to receive your next dose until 84 days (3 months) months after symptom onset or positive test (if asymptomatic). Emerging evidence indicates that a longer interval between SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination is associated with improved antibody responses to COVID-19 vaccines. With informed consent, individuals may receive a booster dose once they are asymptomatic and have completed their isolation.

How do I know the vaccines are safe?

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Countries around the world have approved the vaccines based on thorough scientific evidence. Over 11.5 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across 184 countries and continue to be administered to a diverse range of people. The vaccines are being monitored continuously around the world with the most intensive and collaborative safety monitoring in history. You can view Canada’s adverse effects following immunization (AEFI) data here.

What should I do if I got vaccinated in another province or country or with a non-Health Canada-approved vaccine?

If you got vaccinated in another province or country or with a non-Health Canada-approved vaccine, please fill out this form prior to coming to a drop-in for your vaccine. Please bring your proof of vaccination with you on the day of your appointment.

Can I get a dose of a different vaccine than my other dose(s)?

mRNA vaccines can be safely mixed for all doses. Both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines provide strong protection against COVID-19 and its variants.

What are the common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines?

The most common side effects are mild to moderate and happen within the first 3 days after vaccination, lasting about 1-2 days. They include pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, chills and fever. Even if you experience mild side effects, it is important to receive all doses you are eligible for. You may get the same side effects or none at all.

A small number of people have had a severe allergic reaction (called “anaphylaxis”) after vaccination, but this is extremely rare and when it does happen, vaccination providers have medicines available that they can use to effectively and immediately treat the reaction. You will be asked to stay for a set amount of time after you get your vaccine so you can be observed and provided treatment in the rare case it is needed. You can view Canada’s adverse effects following immunization (AEFI) data here. There is nothing in the technology or the clinical experience to-date that suggests any risk or reason for long-term side effects.

Some of the side effects of the vaccine are similar to symptoms of COVID-19 infection. However, side effects from the vaccine should only last a day or two and go away on their own. Use the Ontario COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19 infection to determine what to do. PCR testing is available for specific people and settings and rapid tests are available free from pharmacies and grocery stores. Visit ontario.ca/exposed to learn more.

Should I talk to my primary care provider before getting the vaccine? 

Anyone looking for more information on the COVID-19 vaccine as it relates to their personal health situation is encouraged to discuss with their doctor.

There are situations where a discussion with your doctor is mandatory before getting the vaccine. Please visit Preparing for your vaccination to learn more. In general, check with your doctor or health care provider if you: 

  • have had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or any components of the COVID-19 vaccines in the past. 
  • are pregnant, could be pregnant, are planning to be pregnant or are breastfeeding. 
  • have any problems with your immune system or take medications that can affect your immune system. 
  • have an autoimmune disease. 
  • have a bleeding disorder or are taking medications that could affect blood clotting (e.g. blood thinners) 
  • have ever felt faint or fainted after a past vaccination or medical procedure.
Can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine if I was just vaccinated for something else?

Yes. On September 28, 2021, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its recommendations on the co-administration of COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines. Based on NACI’s review of the effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccines, NACI recommends that non-COVID-19 vaccines may be given on the same day, or at any time before or after the COVID-19 vaccine.

Should I get the vaccine if I feel sick?

You should not get the vaccine if you are sick or have COVID-19 right now. Wait until you are better to get vaccinated.

Where can I get trusted information about the COVID-19 vaccine for youth?

Visit Kids Health First Website for FAQs and resources for parents, youth and providers about the COVID-19 vaccine. This site was developed by the Children’s COVID-19 Vaccine Table and supported by the Children’s Health Coalition.

The Children’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Table is co-chaired by Dr. Vinita Dubey, Associate Medical Officer of Health at Toronto Public Health and Kimberly Moran, CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario and representing the Children’s Health Coalition. The purpose of the Children’s Vaccine Advisory Table is to provide strategic advice and recommendations to government regarding vaccine strategy in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic to inform planning, process and readiness with a focus on children.

Do children need parental consent to get vaccinated?

Anyone getting the COVID-19 vaccine must be able to provide informed consent or have consent from a parent or guardian. Informed consent means that you understand:

  • what the vaccine involves (for example, how it is given and what possible side effects there may be)
  • why it is recommended
  • the risks and benefits of getting or not getting it

You may want to talk to a teacher, parent or adult that you trust before getting the vaccine.

If someone under 18 is unable to provide informed consent to receive the vaccine (for example, for medical reasons), they will need consent from someone who can make a decision on their behalf, such as a parent or legal guardian.

Download the consent form (PDF)

How can I get my vaccination receipt (proof of vaccination) and QR code?

After you are vaccinated, you can log in to the provincial portal to download or print an electronic COVID-19 vaccine receipt (PDF) for each dose you have received.

To log in and get your receipt, you will need:

  • a green photo health (OHIP) card (you will need numbers from both the front and back of the card, expired cards will be accepted)
  • your date of birth
  • your postal code (the one associated with your health card)

Get your electronic vaccine receipt (proof of vaccination) here.

If you have a red and white health card or did not have a health card at the time of vaccination, call the Provincial Line at 1-833-943-3900 for assistance.

Do I still need to get tested for COVID-19 if I develop symptoms after I am vaccinated?

The vaccines are not 100% effective and transmission after vaccination is still happening, especially with the highly transmissible Omicron variant. To help stop the spread and protect others who may not be vaccinated or who are unable to be vaccinated, it is important that people who develop symptoms continue to take precautions like staying home when sick and getting tested if you are eligible (or use rapid tests). Take the self-assessment if you are unsure. More information can be found at ontario.ca/exposed.