There are a lot of reasons why you should get the COVID-19 vaccine. Some reasons are personal, some reasons are for those close to you, and some are for your greater community, but all of them are for one core goal; beating COVID-19 and getting ourselves out of this pandemic.
- Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
- Are there long-term side effects caused by mRNA COVID-19 vaccines? How do we know?
- Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine while I am menstruating (having my period)? Will it affect my cycle? Will it make my period heavier?
- How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines? How long does the immunity to COVID-19 last after getting the vaccine?
- Should I be worried if I don’t get any side-effects? Does it mean the vaccine didn’t work?
Currently, there are five COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada:
- AstraZeneca & COVISHIELD
- Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)
Find this information in different languages in the HealthLinkBC File: COVID-19 Vaccines.
What are the vaccine side effects?
Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get COVID-19. The vaccines are not live virus vaccines and cannot give you COVID-19.
- Common reactions to the vaccines may include soreness, redness, swelling and itchiness where the vaccine was given. For some people, these reactions may show up 8 or more days after getting the vaccine.
- Other reactions may include tiredness, headache, fever, chills, muscle or joint soreness, swollen lymph nodes under the armpit, nausea and vomiting. These reactions are mild and generally last 1 to 2 days.
- If you have concerns about any symptoms you develop after receiving the vaccine, speak with your health-care provider or call 8-1-1 for advice.
- Rare cases of serious blood clots (about 1 in 50,000) have been reported after getting the first dose of AstraZeneca, COVISHIELD and Janssen vaccines. The rate after the second dose of AstraZeneca or COVISHIELD vaccine is about 1 in 600,000. While the risk of serious illness from COVID-19 is more common in those who are older and those with certain chronic health conditions, this risk is lower for younger adults. Those who choose not to get an AstraZeneca, COVISHIELD or Janssen vaccine will be able to get another COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) to complete their vaccine series. The AstraZeneca and COVISHIELD vaccines are not recommended for those under 30 years of age. The Janssen vaccine is not recommended for those under 18 years of age.
Rare cases of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis and pericarditis) have been reported after getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. This has occurred more commonly after the second dose at a rate of about 1 per 100,000 second doses, and has been observed mostly in males under 30 years of age.
What should I do after getting the vaccine?
Please read the COVID-19 vaccination aftercare handout.
It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because about 1 in a million people can have a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue or lips. Should this reaction occur, your healthcare provider is prepared to treat it. Emergency treatment includes administration of epinephrine (adrenaline) and transfer by ambulance to the nearest emergency department. If symptoms develop after you leave the clinic, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. Always report serious or unexpected reactions to our health-care provider.
Where else can I go for more information?
- BCCDC’s COVID-19 vaccine webpage
- Government of BC COVID-19 immunization plan webpage
- Health care providers, please go to the BCCDC's Resources for health professionals webpage