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Getting your COVID-19 vaccine
You can register yourself or your child to get vaccinated with the Get Vaccinated System. You can register online or by phone. After you register, you will receive a text, email, or phone call when it's your turn to book a vaccine appointment.
Getting children and youth immunized (COVID-19)
- Can get a severe lung infection and heart issues like myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle).
- Are at risk of developing a serious but rare condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). MIS-C is caused by an exaggerated immune response, leading to severe widespread inflammation. It can happen several weeks after infection and usually requires hospitalization. Most children in Canada who have had this condition have fully recovered with treatment.
- May feel sick for weeks or months after the initial illness. This is called Post-COVID-19 condition or "long COVID."
- Early in the pandemic, children and teens were not often identified as spreaders of COVID-19. However, this was mostly because schools and activities were closed or not held in person.
- Since things have opened up again, outbreaks among teens at camps, sporting events, and schools show that teens spread COVID-19.
- Further, studies that looked at the risk of children and teens spreading COVID-19 to others in their households showed that they do spread the virus.
- Children and teens can spread COVID-19 to others when they do not have symptoms.
COVID-19 Vaccine Safety
- The mRNA pediatric vaccines are safe.
- Side effects are mostly mild.
- Serious side effects are rare.
- A vaccine’s safety is continuously monitored after approval through the reporting of adverse events (an adverse event is an unexpected medical event that happens after vaccination that may or may not have been caused by the vaccine).
- A report of a death or other adverse event following vaccination does not mean that the vaccine caused it.
- All reports of adverse events are investigated to determine if the event was caused by the vaccine or by something else that happened around the same time the vaccine was given.
- The reporting of adverse events helps keep vaccines safe and helps ensure that the benefits continue to outweigh any risks.
- For a vaccination program to continue, the benefits of the vaccine must outweigh any known or potential risks.
- Advances in science and technology.
- International collaboration among scientists, researchers, health professionals, industry, and governments.
- Increased dedicated funding.
- The three phases of clinical trials overlapped to speed up the process (normally the phases are performed one at a time).
Health Canada used a fast-tracked process that allowed:
- Vaccine manufacturers to submit data as it became available.
- Experts to start the review process right away.
- The mRNA vaccines work by teaching our cells how to make a harmless spike protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. The body then makes antibodies to help you fight infection if the COVID-19 virus enters your body.
- Some people are concerned that the spike proteins generated by COVID-19 vaccines can cause harm to the body’s organs or tissues. However, there is no evidence that the vaccine-generated spike proteins cause harm.
- COVID-19 infection, however, can damage many organs and tissues. It is important to focus on the right risk.
- The vaccine-generated spike proteins don't last long in the body; the immune system quickly identifies, attacks, and destroys them.
- Scientists estimate that the spike proteins, like other proteins our bodies create, may stay in the body for up to a few weeks.
- Location - mRNA is active in the cytoplasm of a cell, whereas DNA is protected in the cell’s nucleus. The mRNA CANNOT enter the nucleus, so the two nucleic acids are never in the same place in the cell.
- Process - mRNA is not DNA. So, if a person’s DNA were going to be altered, the RNA would have to be made into DNA. This would require a special enzyme that exists only in some viruses. Coronaviruses are not one of them, as they have only single-stranded RNA. This means that when they enter into a cell’s cytoplasm, they don’t need to be translated. Proteins (like the spike protein) can be made directly from the RNA.
- Stability - mRNA is not very stable. Its half-life in human cells is estimated in hours. For purposes of mRNA-based therapies, modifications have been developed to keep the molecule in cells long enough to allow for the therapy to be successful. But even with this, the mRNA will not lead to protein production for more than 10-14 days.
COVID-19 vaccine side effects
- The history of vaccines shows that delayed effects after vaccination can happen. But when they do, these effects tend to happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine. This is why regulators in Canada and many other countries require at least eight weeks of safety data before approving a vaccine.
- The mRNA vaccines have been in development for many years and have been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). In addition, cancer research has used mRNA to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells. Decades of studying mRNA vaccines have shown no long-term side effects.
- Canada’s vaccine safety system has proven time and again that the data necessary to get through the approval process is sufficient to prove safety, even for the long term. The data and safety tests for the mRNA vaccines met the same standards as other vaccines that have been approved in Canada.
COVID-19 vaccine ingredients
The Government of Canada website lists the ingredients in each COVID-19 vaccine. Click on the vaccine name and you will be taken to a page that lists the ingredients in that vaccine. Vaccine ingredients vary by manufacturer.
- In this video, Dr. Ayesha Raza, Family Physician and Women’s Health Specialist at the Centre Francophone de Toronto, explains that the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada do not contain pork or pork products.
- In this video, Dr. Ayesha Raza, Family Physician and Women’s Health Specialist at the Centre Francophone de Toronto, explains that, yes, COVID-19 vaccines are considered Halal.
Pregnancy, breastfeeding, fertility, and menstruation (COVID-19)
- Longer menstrual periods.
- Shorter time between periods.
- Heavier bleeding than usual.
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