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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

Why should front line health care workers get vaccinated against COVID-19?

  1. It protects you

You are on the front lines of the nation’s fight against this deadly pandemic. By providing critical care to those who are or might be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, healthcare personnel have a high risk of being exposed to and getting sick with COVID-19.

  1. It protects health care capacity

When front line healthcare workers get sick with COVID-19, they are not able to work and provide care and service to residents. There is also the risk they will spread COVID-19 in their workplace. Given the critical role you play, your continued protection at work, at home, and in the community remains a national priority. 

  1. It helps prevent residents from getting COVID-19

Front line health care workers who get COVID-19 can also spread the virus to those they are caring for or their colleagues.

  1. Benefits of vaccination outweigh the possible risks

No serious health problems were reported by the tens of thousands of people who received their vaccines during clinical trials. The most common side effects were fatigue, headaches, chills, and muscle pain. Symptoms lasted about one day and most often occurred after the second dose. These reactions are a sign the vaccine is prompting an immune response.

I will not be getting this vaccine.  It has not been properly been tested. Why should I take a risk?

Receiving the vaccine means you will be protected from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 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. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine have been reviewed and approved by Health Canada by meeting 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.

The Moderna vaccine has been tested on 30,000 participants and was 94 per cent effective in initial trial results.

The Pfizer vaccine has been tested on over 42,000 participants and was over 95 per cent effective. 

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 you have a history of severe allergic reactions to other vaccines or injectable medications, consult with your doctor to determine if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

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

Shannex cannot force employees to receive a COVID-19. We highly encourage everyone that is able to get the vaccine to do so. We understand there are instances where staff may not be able to get vaccinated.

Is there anyone that should not get the vaccine?

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are not currently recommended for everyone. If you identify with any of the situations below, contact your physician or occupational health designate to discuss if you should get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

  • Has a weakened immune system due to disease or treatment of auto-immune disorder
  • Is pregnant, thinks they may be pregnant or has plans to become pregnant
  • Is currently breastfeeding
  • Has a history of anaphylactic reactions to any of the ingredients in the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
  • Has previous had problems with the first dose of the vaccine (allergic reaction or breathing problems)

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 occupation 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?

In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario, long term care staff and residents are among the first people eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines are being distributed in a location-by-location basis and the process differs by province. We will communicate with employees, residents and their families as soon as we know when we will be administering.

The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people who are 16 years of age and older and the Moderna vaccine is for those who are aged 18 and over.

I can’t get the vaccine because I do not meet screening criteria but I want to. How can I protect myself?

Continue following public health procedures such as social distancing, wearing masks, practice good hygiene, monitor your symptoms and stay home if you are sick.

Which vaccine will we get?

Some locations will receive the Pfizer vaccine and others will receive the Moderna vaccine.

Will we need two shots or one?

Both the Moderna and Pfizervaccine require two shots. The first shot builds protection and the second which can be given a few weeks after is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer.

Will we need to get them every year or only once?

Research is ongoing regarding how long the vaccine will protect an individual from COVID-19 for. Developers are looking at ways to boost the effectiveness of a vaccine so it provides longer immune protection than a natural infection with COVID-19.

Can a COVID-19 vaccine give you the virus?

No. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccine do not 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. Vaccines are only about 95 per cent effective, meaning that about 1 in 20 people who receive the vaccine may not have protection from the virus. 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.

I previously tested positive for COVID-19. Will I need to get a vaccine?

At this time there is not enough information to determine if/how long people who previously tested positive will remain immune to COVID-19.