Disease and Illness

Algoma Public Health

COVID-19 Vaccine

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 

 

  1. Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccines
  2. Staying Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccinations
  3. About Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccines
  4. Children Aged 6 Months and Older
  5. Eligibility for Vaccination after Having COVID-19
  6. Where can I get my COVID-19 Vaccine?
  7. Population Specific Considerations
  8. What are COVID-19 Vaccines?
  9. COVID-19 Vaccine vs. Flu Vaccine: What's the difference?
  10. Vaccine Safety
  11. Side Effects and COVID-19 Vaccines
  12. Long-Term Side Effects
  13. Ongoing monitoring of side effects and reactions
  14. Allergic Reactions
  15. More Support and Credible Resources

 

 


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Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccines

 

Vaccination remains one of the most effective ways to protect your health.

 

COVID-19 vaccines used in Canada are effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death related to COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are currently free and available to all individuals 6 months and older.


For those without a health card, government-issued photo ID (e.g. a driver’s license, passport, Status Card, etc.) can be used to get your COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario.

 

Use the table below to see which dose(s) you are eligible to receive to be up to date for based on your age.

 

General Population Recommendations
Age Recommended Intervals

6 months to 4 years 

 

There is currently no vaccine preferred product for children 6 months to 4 years of age. Children within this age span may receive either a monovalent Pfizer (3 dose primary series) or monovalent Moderna (2 dose primary series).

Primary Series*

Pfizer-BioNTech (3mcg)

  • 2nd dose, 56 days after 1st dose
  • 3rd dose, 56 days after 2nd dose

 

Or*

 

Moderna (25 mcg)

  • 2nd dose, 56 days after 1st dose

 

Booster Doses - Not eligible

5 years and older

 

Preferential recommendation for the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 5-29 years of age if receiving a primary series dose, or 5-17 years of age if receiving a booster dose. This is due to an increase in myocarditis/pericarditis following vaccination with Moderna in adolescents and young adults.

Primary Series

  • 2nd dose, 56 days after 1st dose

 

Booster Doses

  • 6 months (168 days) after last dose
Immunocompromised Recommendations

6 months to 4 years

 

Preferential recommendation for the use of Moderna Spikevac primary series (25 mcg). If Moderna (25 mcg) is not readily available, a four-dose primary series of Pfizer-BioNTech (3 mcg) may be offered. This recommendation is due to feasibility in completion of the primary series, not due to any observed safety differences.

 

Primary Series

Pfizer-BioNTech (3mcg)

  • 2nd dose, 56 days after 1st dose
  • 3rd dose, 56 days after 2nd dose
  • 4th dose, 56 days after 3rd dose

 

Or*

 

Moderna (25 mcg)

  • 2nd dose, 56 days after 1st dose
  • 3rd dose, 56 days after 2nd dose

 

Booster Doses - Not eligible

5 years and older

Primary Series

  • 2nd dose, 56 days after 1st dose
  • 3rd dose, 56 days after 2nd dose

 

Booster Doses

  • 6 months (168 days) after last dose

 

For more details on Booster Doses, intervals and eligibility see the following guidance documents:

 

 

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Booster doses and Staying Up-to-Date with COVID-19 Vaccinations

 

Staying Up to Date: Means you have completed your primary series and have received a COVID-19 vaccine within the last 6 months.

 

Booster doses are recommended because over time, protection from COVID-19 vaccines will decrease. A booster reminds your immune system how to protect itself and helps improve vaccine effectiveness against severe illness. 

Booster Dose Recommendations

 

Currently within Ontario all individuals aged 5 and older are eligible to receive one or more booster doses and individuals aged 12+ are eligible to receive a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine as their next booster dose.

 

Health Canada has authorized two bivalent mRNA vaccines for use as booster doses: the Moderna Spikevax Bivalent and the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty Bivalent.

 

Bivalent vaccines are updated versions of the COVID-19 vaccine that targets the original COVID-19 virus and the Omicron variant. Both the Moderna and Pfizer bivalent vaccines protect against, the original COVID-19 strain and Omicron sub variants. The bivalent Moderna (50 mcg) targets the BA1 Omicron subvariant, and the bivalent Pfizer (30 mcg) targets the BA4/5 Omicron subvariants.

 

Evidence shows that both of the bivalent mRNA vaccines provide improved protection against the Omicron variant and subvariants compared to the original mRNA vaccines. They also help restore immune protection that has decreased since previous vaccination.

 

If eligible and available, it is recommended that all eligible individuals receive a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine as their next booster dose as they protect against the most commonly circulating COVID-19 variants.

 

If a bivalent vaccine is not readily available, or you are not eligible to receive it, an original monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to ensure timely protection.

 

To determine which booster dose you are eligible to receive, view the table below

 

Population Recommended or Preferred Booster Dose Type

6 months to 4 years

Not eligible for booster doses

5 to 11 years of age Monovalent Pfizer BioNTech (10 mcg) is recommended (this is the only product authorized for this age)

12 to 17 years of age

Bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech (30 mcg) is the only authorized bivalent product for this age group

  • Bivalent Moderna (50 mcg) may be given to individuals 12-17 years old who are immunocompromised. This is off label and must be given with informed consent.
18 years and older

No preference between bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech (30 mcg) or bivalent Moderna (50mcg)

 

Why Stay Up to Date?

 

Evidence suggests that protection from COVID-19, either via vaccination or previous infection, decreases over time. Studies on the effectiveness of a booster dose in adults show that protection increases after receiving a booster dose, including protection against severe diseases cause by the Omicron variant.

 

Booster doses and 5-11 year olds

 

Children 5-11 are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster dose. At this time, the only authorized vaccine for the first booster dose for children 5-11 is monovalent Pfizer (10 mcg).

 

Clinical trials found a monovalent booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was well tolerated in children 5-11 years of age. Side effects from monovalent booster doses were typically moderate and resolved within a few days.

 

While most children who get COVID-19 have mild symptoms, some experience severe disease and require hospitalization. Severe COVID-19 outcomes are lower in children who are vaccinated against COVID-19. Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations is one of the most effective ways to protect your child’s health.

 

What is considered up to date for COVID-19 vaccines may be modified over time based on availability of new vaccines, potential changes in the virus, and new evidence. 


For more details on Staying Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccinations, see:

 

 

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About Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccines

 

Scientists and vaccine manufacturers are updating COVID-19 vaccines to specifically target circulating strains of the virus.  Bivalent vaccines differ from previous monovalent booster doses as target the original COVID-19 virus and Omicron variants of concern. Due to increased protection against currently circulating variants, for those who are eligible, bivalent vaccines are recommended as booster doses over monovalent COVID-19 vaccines.

 

There are currently 2 Health Canada authorized bivalent COVID-19 vaccines: the Moderna Spikevax Bivalent (50 mcg) and the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 (30 mcg) vaccine. There is no preferred bivalent product for individuals 18 years and older. Both the Moderna Spikevax Bivalent (50 mcg) and the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 (30 mcg) vaccine have shown to provide improved protection against the Omicron variant and subvariants compared to the monovalent vaccines.

 

 

Resources

 

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Children Aged 6 Months and Older

 

Note: All individuals 6 months to 4 years who receive Pfizer-BioNTech (3 mcg must receive 3 doses to complete their primary series. For those who receive Moderna (10 mcg), the primary series consists of 2 doses. The recommended interval between doses in the primary series is 2 months (56 days). Moderately to severely immunocompromised infants and children 6 months to 4 years should receive a primary series of three doses of Moderna (25 mcg). If Moderna (25 mcg) is not readily available, a four-dose primary series of Pfizer-BioNTech (3 mcg) may be offered. This recommendation is due to feasibility in completion of the primary series, not due to any observed safety differences.

 

Children aged 6 months and older are eligible to receive either the monovalent Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines as their primary series. To provide the best protection possible against COVID-19, children aged 6 months and older are strongly recommended to complete their primary series.

 

Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect your child and family from COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines help children fight off the virus that causes COVID-19, and offer strong protection against severe outcomes.

 

Vaccinating children against COVID-19 is beneficial for their health and well-being. Though children are less likely to get really sick form COVID-19, if they get infected they could still require hospitalization from complications of COVID-19, experience longer-term effects (“long COVID”), and are at risk off experiencing a rare but serious complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

 

Children who have already had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated. Vaccination after infection helps improve the immune response and may provide stronger and longer-lasting protection against COVID-19, including against new variants. 


We encourage you to make an informed choice about the COVID-19 vaccine, in the same way that you do when considering other vaccinations for your child.

 

Talk to Your Primary Care Provider and Get Your Questions Answered

 

Your decision to vaccinate your child with the COVID-19 vaccine should consider the risks of the disease and the benefits of the vaccine. If you have questions or concerns, get information from credible, evidence-based sources.

 

Talk to Your Children

 

Be honest and share information in an age-appropriate way. Listen and answer their questions or work with them to find the answers from credible, evidence-based sources.

 

Have questions about COVID-19 Vaccines?

 

If you do not have a health care provider, you can speak with one of our public health nurses at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Algoma, or call our immunization program (705-541-7085).

 

Resources for talking to kids about COVID-19

 

 

More information for Kids

 

 

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Eligibility for Vaccination after Having COVID-19

 

While previous COVID-19 infection can provide some protection, staying up-to-date vaccination including booster doses is still recommended to provide longer-lasting protection and better effectiveness.

 

You can get COVID-19 more than once for a variety of reasons. While a previous COVID-19 infection may provide some degree of short-term immunity, immunity does decrease over time and a person’s risk of severe illness may increase with each re-infection (Public Health Ontario).

 


If you are infected with COVID-19, you are able to receive your next dose of COVID-19 vaccine once your isolation period has ended. However, it is strongly recommended to wait the suggested interval below to boost your immune response and protection against COVID-19.
 

 

Infection timing relative to COVID-19 vaccination Population Suggested interval between infection and vaccination
Infection prior to completion or initiation of primary vaccination series Individuals 6 months of age and older who are not considered moderately to severely immunocompromised and with no previous history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) Receive your next dose of COVID-19 vaccine 2 months (56 days) after symptom onset or positive test (if asymptomatic).
Individuals 6 months of age and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and with no previous history of MIS-C Receive the vaccine dose 1 to 2 months (28-56 days) after symptom onset or positive test (if asymptomatic)
Individuals 6 months of age and older with a previous history of MIS-C (regardless of immunocompromised status) Receive the vaccine dose when clinical recovery has been achieved or ≥90 days since the onset of MIS-C, whichever is longer
Infection after primary series

Individuals currently eligible for booster dose(s)

A minimum of 3 months (84 days) after symptom onset or positive test (if asymptomatic); however a 6 month (168 day interval) may provide a better immune response regardless of product given.

 

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Where can I get my COVID-19 Vaccine?

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics

 

COVID-19 vaccine clinics are being offered across the Algoma district by public health and community partners for those eligible aged 6 months and older

 

Community Clinics

 

Appointments for COVID-19 immunizations can be booked online and by phone.

To book an appointment for an upcoming clinic online, select the clinic you are interested in visiting on our COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Calendar and click “Book Now”. Follow instructions on the booking page.

Phone lines are open Monday to Friday for appointment booking. To book an appointment for an upcoming clinic by phone:

 

  • If you live in Sault Ste. Marie and Area, Central and East Algoma, or Wawa call 705-541-7370 or 1-888-440-3730.
  • If you live in Elliot Lake and Area call the Elliot Lake Family Health Team at 705-461-8882 ext. 611
  • If you live in White River and Area call the Northern Neighbours Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic at 807-822-2320.
  • If you live in Dubreuilville and Area call the Dubreuilville Medical Centre at 705-884-2884.   

Pharmacies

 

COVID-19 vaccines are also available at select pharmacies across the Algoma district. Pharmacies can administered COVID-19 vaccines to anyone 2 years of age and older.

Vaccine product (i.e. brand), availability, and appointment booking vary by location.

Visit covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations to find pharmacy near you offering COVID-19 vaccines and details on how to make an appointment or walk-in. 

 

Indigenous-Led Clinics

 

Please contact your community health centre or primary care provider for details on upcoming clinics.

 

Reminders after Getting Vaccinated

It is important to continue following public health measures once you have received your dose of vaccine.

You may still get COVID-19 after being vaccinated, as no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing disease. However, your risk for severe illness, hospitalization and death related to COVID-19 is reduced 14 days after your dose. This is why it is important to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, to ensure you remain as protected as possible.

It is still important to continue wearing a mask when appropriate, physical distancing, washing hands often, and staying home when sick to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 no matter how many doses of COVID-19 vaccine you have received. This protects you and others!

 

 


Book an Appointment
 

 

 

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Population Specific Considerations  

 

History of fainting, dizziness, or fear of needles

 

Individuals with a fear of injections/needles are still encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

See CARD resource for ways to improve the vaccination experience for you and/or your child.  

 

Breastfeeding or Pregnant

 

Breastfeeding and/or pregnant individuals are eligible and should receive all recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccines (including booster doses, as eligible). A COVID-19 booster should be offered at any stage of the pregnancy (i.e., in any trimester), regardless of the number of booster doses that been previously received. Booster doses may be administered at an interval of 6 months from the previous COVID-19 vaccine dose or previous COVID-19.


Resources for breastfeeding or pregnant individuals:

 

Autoimmune Conditions or Immunocompromised

 

It is recommended that all moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals receive a 3-dose primary series of COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals with autoimmune conditions or that are immunocompromised are encouraged to speak with their health care provider regarding the timing of immunizations.  


Resources for Individuals with autoimmune conditions or that are immunocompromised:

 

 

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What are COVID-19 Vaccines?

 

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at reducing your risk of serve illness, hospitalization, and death related to COVID-19.  Staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccine can also reduce the likelihood of developing post COVID-19 conditions, also known as long COVID.

 

COVID-19 vaccines are one of the most effective ways to protect our families, communities and ourselves against the virus. Currently, Health Canada has approved six COVID-19 vaccines for safe and effective use in Canada.   

Health Canada Approved Vaccines

 

Health Canada has approved the following COVID-19 vaccines for use in Canada:

 

 

For more details on Health Canada's approved COVID-19 Vaccines see:

 

How the Vaccines Work and Types of Vaccines

 

COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune system to make antibodies that protect us from the COVID-19 virus.

 

These antibodies provide us protection from getting, spreading, and becoming severely sick with COVID-19. The vaccines cannot give you COVID-19 because they do not contain the virus that causes it. 

 

 

Have questions about your health and COVID-19 Vaccines?

 

 

If you do not have a health care provider, you can speak with one of our public health nurses at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Algoma, or call our immunization program (705-541-7085). 

 

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COVID-19 Vaccine vs. Flu Vaccine: What is the differences?

 

While COVID-19 and seasonal flu may at times show similar symptoms, they are not caused by the same virus. This means that the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccines are not the same, as they target and protect against different viruses.

Influenza viruses cause the flu, and each year flu vaccines are tailored to provide the best protection against the strain that is projected by evidence to be the most common that year. In contrast, the COVID-19 vaccine is designed specifically to target COVID-19 and not influenza.

Since the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine protect against different viruses, they are both recommended for those who are eligible.

For individuals 5 years of age and older, COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time, or any time before or after, non-COVID-19 vaccines (including live and non-live vaccines). This means you can get your flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. 

 

At this time, COVID-19 vaccines for ages 6 months to 5 years should not be given at the same time as other vaccines.  The COVID-19 vaccine for this age group should be given 14 days before or after any other routine immunizations. This will help to determine if a potential side effect is due to the COVID-19 vaccine or a different vaccine. 

 

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Vaccine Safety

 

Only vaccines that meet the rigorous safety, effectiveness and quality standards of Health Canada are approved for use in Canada.

The safety of vaccines is carefully monitored, starting early in product development and continuing for as long as the vaccine is being used. Health Canada’s independent drug authorization process is recognized around the world for its high standards and rigorous review. Decisions are based only on scientific and medical evidence showing that vaccines are safe and effective. The benefits must also outweigh any risks.

Health Canada only authorizes vaccines in Canada after a thorough and independent review of the scientific evidence. Once a vaccine is in use, Health Canada continues to monitor and can quickly have it removed if safety concerns are identified.

 

For more information, see Health Canada's resources on:

 

 

Downloadable Resource: Public Health Ontario: What you need to know about the COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine 

 

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Side Effects and COVID-19 Vaccines

 

The COVID-19 vaccine, like medications and other vaccines, may cause side effects. After being immunized, it is common and normal to have temporary side effects. These usually last from a few hours to a few days after vaccination. This is the body's natural response to a vaccine, as it is working hard to build immunity against COVID-19.

People react differently after being immunized. Even if you experience temporary side effects, keeping up to date on the vaccinations recommended for you is important. This will reduce your risk of serious outcomes related to COVID-19.

In clinical trials, most approved vaccines sides effects reported were mild to moderate, and usually resolved within a few days.  

 

Common COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

 

Some of the most common vaccine side effects include redness, soreness, and swelling at the injection site, and more general symptoms such as chills, fatigue, joint pain, head ache, mild fever, muscle aches, nausea or vomiting, and enlarged lymph nodes.

To learn more about COVID-19 side effects, see Health Canada’s:

 

 

Rare Reactions

 

As with all vaccines, there is a very small, rare chance of a more serious side effect. Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, provincial health authorities, and vaccine manufacturers, as well as local public health, continuously monitor reports of side effects in Canada.

 

See below for rare reactions that have been reported nationally based on vaccine types.   

 

mRNA Vaccines

 

 

Viral Vector Vaccines

 

  

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Long-Term Side Effects

 

Ongoing studies on the vaccines indicate no serious long-term side effects to date. People who have received the vaccine in studies continue to be monitored for any longer-term side effects.

There is no evidence that any vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems (problems trying to get pregnant).

 

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Ongoing monitoring of side effects and reactions

 

The Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, and provincial and territorial health authorities continue to closely monitor the use of all COVID-19 vaccines, and evaluate any new safety concerns.

 

We encourage anyone who experiences a possible reaction to a vaccine to report it to a health care provider or Algoma Public Health.

 

For more information about vaccine side effects see:

 

 

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Allergic Reactions

 

Allergic reactions are rare, but they do happen and are often treatable. If you experience an allergic reaction during or shortly after your COVID-19 immunization, speak with your health care provider or allergist prior to your next dose.

 

Symptoms of an allergic reaction usually occur shortly after to up to a few hours after vaccination. Some symptoms of an allergic reaction are:

 

  • difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the face, tongue, or throat
  • hives (bumps on the skin that are often itchy)  

 

If you develop or witness any serious allergic reactions, like anaphylaxis, after vaccination seek emergency services right away.

If after vaccination you experience any persistent or worsening symptoms, or a concerning side effect, contact 911 if an emergency with difficulty breathing, or contact your health care provider for follow-up.

Learn more about: Vaccine safety and side effects: Allergic reactions

 

Allergic Reactions and Future Doses

 

It is possible for most people who experience an allergic reaction to COVID-19 vaccines to safely receive a future dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommendations for people who experience a severe allergic reaction after a first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

See the Canadian Immunization Guide section on Contraindications and precautions for more information.

If you know you are allergic to a component of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, consult with your health care provider or allergist, as it may still be possible for you to receive these vaccines.    

Potential Allergens by COVID-19 Product Type

 

Listed below are COVID-19 vaccine ingredients that have been associated with allergic reactions. Allergic reactions are most often rare and treatable.

 

If you have an allergy to one of the ingredients below you may still be able to receive the vaccine, though should consult with your health care provider or allergist first. You can also speak with a nurse at one of the COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Algoma.

 

  • Pfizer BioNTech: Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  • Peadiatric Pfizer: Polyethylene glycol (PEG), Tromethamine (tromethamol or Tris)
  • Moderna: Polyethylene glycol (PEG), Tromethamine (tromethamol or Tris)
  • AstraZeneca: Polysorbate 80
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): Polysorbate 80
  • Novavax: Polysorbate 80
  • Medicago: Polysorbate 80, May contain trace amount of polyethylene glycol (PEG), kanamycin and, carbenicillin 

 

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More Support and Credible Resources

 

Want to talk to a health professional?

 

  • Scarborough Health Network’s VaxFacts Clinic connects you with doctors who are ready to listen, talk, and help you get the most accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. To book a free phone appointment, call 416-438-2911 ext. 5738 or book online.

  • The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is offering COVID-19 Vaccine Consults with paediatric Registered Nurses to residents of Ontario aged 5 or older and their parents/guardians who have questions about COVID-19 vaccines. To book a free phone consult, call 437-881-3505 or 1-888-304-6558, or book online.  

 

See credible resources below:

 

 

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