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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Vaccines work.

The COVID-19 immunization program now underway in our country is the most significant Public Health initiative in history. Getting vaccinated is the first step towards a future without the daily threat of COVID-19 and we must take it together.

Our responsibility  

We have the privilege of caring for the most vulnerable people in our communities which comes with a great responsibility to protect their health and wellness. Hundreds of our residents and team members have already received the vaccine. 

Questions about the vaccine? 

Get the facts. Consult reliable sources such as Health Canada, the World Health Organization and the Public Health Agency of Canada

The COVID-19 vaccines available in our country have been approved by Health Canada in close collaboration with health partners here in Canada and around the world. Together they have determined this is an effective and essential line of defense in the fight against this virus. 

Below are questions and answers we have received from residents and employees in our communities. 

Occupational Health Team

If you are an employee and still have questions or concerns, our team of occupational health nurses are here for you. Send us an email and we will connect you with someone to answer your questions about the vaccine. 

Resources

Following are reliable sources of information about the COVID-19 vaccines available in Canada.


Questions and answers

What are the risks of getting the vaccine?

Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine ensures you are doing everything you can to protect yourself and others from the virus. A vaccination could save your life or someone else’s. 

Approved COVID-19 vaccines have gone through a scientific evaluation which includes testing, human trials and post-approval surveillance.  Any vaccines administered in Canada have been reviewed and approved by Health Canada. They meet stringent safety, efficacy, and quality requirements. No major safety concerns have been identified and Health Canada will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines closely.

I am sensitive to even the flu shot. How do I know this won’t make me sick? What are the side effects?

Side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are similar to effects that you would feel from other vaccines. 

Side effects were mild or moderate including things like pain at the site of injection, body chills, feeling tired and feverish. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. With all vaccines there is a chance that there may be a serious side effect, such as an allergic reaction, but it is rare. No major safety concerns have been identified at this time and Health Canada will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines closely.

After receiving the vaccine, you will be monitored for 15 minutes after getting the vaccine to see if you have an immediate reaction. Most side effects happen within three days after vaccination and last only one or two days.

If I don’t receive the vaccine, will this affect my employment? Can Shannex force me to get it?

Provincial governments in every province where we operate have now announced COVID-19 vaccine mandates that require all healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated to continue working in the sector. We are pleased our government partners have provided this direction and we have a Shannex employer policy that is aligned with these mandates. This policy is being communicated widely with all team members.

Does the vaccine cause infertility?

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that the vaccine could cause infertility in women. In addition, infertility is not known to occur because of natural COVID-19 disease, further demonstrating that immune responses to the virus, whether induced by infection or a vaccine, are not a cause of infertility.

I just don’t feel like I know enough. How do I get more information?

When researching about COVID-19 vaccines, it is important to ensure that you are looking at a credible information source. With an excessive amount of COVID-19 information, it is important to identify trusted sources. We recommend the following: 

Remember, you can always contact your occupational health designate or a member of our clinical team to discuss any of your questions or concerns in more detail. 

Who is eligible for the vaccine?

Both Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) vaccines have Health Canada approval for those 12 years of age and older. Both vaccines require two does; it takes 14 days after your second shot to be considered fully vaccinated. It is very important you receive both doses at the interval recommended by your vaccine provider.

Nova Scotia’s immunization plan

New Brunswick’s immunization plan

Ontario’s immunization plan

Can a COVID-19 vaccine give you the virus?

No. Neither the mRNA vaccines (Moderna [Spikevax] and Pfizer [Comirnaty]) or the viral vector-based vaccines (AstraZeneca and Janssen) use the live virus that causes COVID-19. After immunization, you may develop symptoms that appear similar to COVID-19 but are negative for the virus. However, it does take a few weeks for your body to build immunity, so there is a chance you could become infected with the virus just before or after vaccination. Side effects of the vaccine should only last one or two days.

After I am vaccinated, do I have to follow Public Health protocols?

Yes. The vaccine takes a bit of time (sometimes up to three weeks) to become effective, so we need to follow the protocols even after receiving the vaccine. It is also unknown at this time if those vaccinated can still carry and transmit to others. Continuing to follow Public Health protocols is still very important.

Do the vaccines protect against COVID-19 variants?

Early research suggests that the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccines can provide protection against the aplha and bata variants of COVID-19.

What types of vaccines are there?

MRNA vaccines – Moderna (Spikevax) and Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccines are both this type of vaccine. When administered, this vaccine teaches our cells how to make protein that will trigger an immune response inside our bodies. This response then produces antibodies and in turn, protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters the body.

Is one of the approved vaccines better than the others?

All vaccines were considered effective and approved by Health Canada as a critical part of our defense against COVID-19. Canada’s top doctors are encouraging individuals to get whichever vaccine is available to them.