Will I be able to choose which brand and type of COVID-19 vaccine that I want to receive? Can I pick the best, most effective vaccine?

Question: 

Will I be able to choose which brand and type of COVID-19 vaccine that I want to receive? Can I pick the best, most effective vaccine?

Answer: 
As Dr. Henry has said, “The vaccine you are offered is the best vaccine. All of the vaccines that we have available for use in Canada are safe and effective, and [even] a single dose provides good protection from all of them.”
 
While there are many different brands of COVID-19 vaccines at this point, just like other vaccines, you cannot choose the specific brand you get. What we can say is that just like all other vaccines, the one offered to you is the best one based on a variety of factors, including what products are available; what product is approved for your age or health conditions; allergies to any of the vaccine ingredients; your location and whether the vaccine can be delivered there, and more. There is no single person or organization that decides what vaccine you will receive - it is based on a variety of factors.
 
There are of course differences between vaccine brands. You may even have a preference based on your comfort level or other considerations. You can learn more about COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness by clicking here. However, what we can say is that what is offered to you is the best one to keep you safe and protected as soon as possible, for as long as possible.
 
Once the vaccine is offered to you, you can in theory delay your vaccination and hope that a different vaccine is available at a later date. However, there is no guarantee that you will get a specific brand of vaccine later. As the circumstances around the COVID-19 vaccines change frequently, you will not know which brand you are getting until you arrive at the vaccination site. Furthermore, refusing a vaccine on the day would cause a burden on the vaccination campaign as well. This is because vaccines require preparations before they are given to people (such as bringing it to the proper temperature), and it cannot be re-refrigerated once that is done. In order to make sure that the vaccine does not go to waste, the clinic immunizers would have to spend time to make adjustments. As well, clinic organizers bring amounts of vaccine based on the number of people with appointments.
 
Delaying the vaccine is not recommended as the longer you wait, the longer you remain unprotected and prolong your risk of getting COVID-19. Evidence for all of the vaccines found them to be highly effective against COVID-19 based on clinical trials with tens of thousands of participants. The sooner that a large proportion of the population is immunized, the sooner we can lift the restrictions that are in place to protect us.
Date last updated: 
Friday, Mar 12, 2021
Date last reviewed: 
Friday, Mar 12, 2021