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COVID-19 vaccine

Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination.

Together with the health system, and our community partners, we’re preparing for a mass-roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Planning for mass community vaccination

Ontario’s vaccine supply will not arrive all at once, so distribution will happen in stages. In Peel, our Community Mass Vaccination Plan provides a summary of how the vaccine will be given to residents in the coming months.

Our plan is guided by Ontario’s 3-phase approach, which starts with vaccinating the most vulnerable populations and essential health care workers, but also ensures those most at risk in Peel are at the forefront.

In Peel, we’re committed to ensuring the people that are most vulnerable in our community, and those that care for them, are at the front of the line. Learn more about how groups are being prioritized in Peel.

Vaccines for the general public

COVID-19 vaccines are not yet available to the general public.

Every dose of vaccine that we have is already designated for people in a high-priority group. We’re pleased so many residents want to get the vaccine and we ask they remain patient as they wait their turn and we work through high-risk groups first.

Once more information is available, Peel Public Health will provide details about how the general public can get vaccinated. Learn more about the current status of vaccination in Peel.

Until vaccines are widely available to all residents of Peel who want it, it's important to keep protecting yourself and others in our community against COVID-19 by following the Core Four actions.

Other information

Approved COVID-19 vaccines

The Government of Canada is ensuring that Canadians will have access to safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19. They’re carefully reviewing all the scientific data and evidence for the vaccines, working on distribution plans, and accelerating purchases of the vaccines.

Health Canada has evaluated, licensed and approved the following COVID-19 vaccines for use in Canada:

All approved COVID-19 vaccines are effective. The vaccines are free with no cost to the public.

Learn more about the COVID-19 Vaccine Approval Process and Safety from the Ministry of Health.

How the vaccines work

The COVID-19 vaccines are given by an injection into the muscle of the arm. For the vaccine to work best, you need to get 2 doses. The vaccines are very effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms in people who get it.

If you get vaccinated and are exposed to COVID-19, it’s not yet known if you can still give the infection to someone that has not been immunized. That’s why, even after being vaccinated, it’s important to continue to practise the Core Four to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines, often called mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines teach our cells to make a protein that triggers an immune response. Our cells break down and destroy the mRNA after the protein has been created.

mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19 infection, and they do not enter the part of the cell where our DNA is stored. The vaccine cannot alter your DNA in any way.

Learn more about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness

Based on studies of approximately 44,000 participants, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 beginning 1 week after the second dose. This means that people may not be fully protected against COVID-19 until at least 7 days after the second dose.

Based on studies of approximately 30,000 participants, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was 94% effective in preventing COVID-19 beginning 2 weeks after the second dose. This means that people may not be fully protected against COVID-19 until at least 14 days after the second dose.

There is no current evidence to suggest that the approved vaccines will be any less effective against the new COVID-19 variant.

The Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine can be given to anyone aged 16 years and older. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can be given to anyone aged 18 years and older.

The safety and effectiveness of the vaccines in people younger than 16 or 18 years of age has not yet been established.

If you’ve previously had COVID-19, you’re still encouraged to get the vaccine because it’s not known how long immunity lasts after being infected with the virus.

Precautions for certain groups

You should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine without consulting your health care provider if you:

  • Have a compromised immune system or an autoimmune condition.
  • Are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
  • Are breastfeeding.
  • Are under 16 years.

There’s limited information about the use of COVID-19 vaccines in these groups because they were not included in the clinical trials. Information may continue to evolve as further evidence becomes available.

Additional precautions are required in some cases. Consult your health care provider before getting vaccinated if you have:

  • Experienced a serious allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) to another vaccine, drug, or food.
  • A bleeding disorder.

Do not get the vaccine in the following situations:

  • If you’re allergic to any component of the vaccine.
  • If you had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine.

Wait to get the vaccine if you’re sick, have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19, or have received other vaccinations in the past 2 weeks.

Our approach to vaccine prioritization

We’re committed to protecting our most vulnerable residents first. Priority populations and vaccine allocation are directed by the Ontario government. This direction, along with considerations of vaccine supply, distribution and administration, guides the order of who will be vaccinated in Peel.

Our prioritization framework considers available guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the Ontario COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, Ontario’s ethical framework for COVID-19, and Ontario’s 3-phase plan for immunization. Our approach also considers local COVID-19 data as well as how much vaccine we expect to receive and how quickly we can distribute and administer it.

We’ve put the greatest focus on work that will make the biggest impact on stopping COVID-19 in Peel. This means our local priorities may be slightly different than other regions because our disease picture is, too.

We’re collaborating with local hospitals, primary care and community partners across our region through the Community Mass Vaccination Plan (MVP) to get vaccine to priority groups as fast as possible.

Priority populations

Details on the timing and status of vaccine administration to priority groups will be provided and updated regularly, and are subject to change depending on vaccine availability.

In Peel, our priority populations identified at this time include:

  • People living in long-term care and retirement homes and the health care workers who support them.
  • People using home care agencies and personal support services for seniors or persons with disabilities, including the health care workers who support them.
  • High risk health care workers in hospitals and acute care settings that support and administer COVID-19 vaccines, test for COVID-19, or provide care to COVID-19 patients.
  • Patients in hospitals who are moving to long-term care or need ongoing complex care.
  • Seniors living in assisted care and supportive housing, and the health care workers that support them.
  • People living in other group living settings (specific settings and workers are to be determined).
  • Workers in other community care settings that serve seniors and those living with disabilities.
  • Indigenous peoples living in Peel.
  • Seniors in Peel, starting with those 80 years and older, and moving down in age brackets.
  • Other community health care workers providing care to vulnerable populations (specifics to be determined)

As we work through applying the prioritization framework, other priority groups will be added.

Updates on vaccine administration

People living in long-term care and retirement homes and those who provide care to them have been our top priority for vaccination. Some health care workers who work in hospitals have already received the vaccine because they’re vaccinating others or working directly with COVID-19 patients.

Currently, there are short-term pressures on the supply of Pfizer vaccine in Canada. This means we must prioritize who gets the vaccine first in Peel to have the greatest impact on addressing the spread of COVID-19.

For at least the next 4 weeks, long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents and workers will be our only priority for vaccination, due to the national Pfizer vaccine delay. While our Moderna vaccine supply is not affected by this shortage, we’ll temporarily stop vaccinating other groups so that people that got their first dose can get their second.

Find out the current status of completed vaccinations in Peel.

Next steps and other groups

For the next few months, vaccines won’t be available for everyone at the same time, so we’ll continue to prioritize groups we know are at the greatest risk of severe illness.

As more vaccine supply becomes available, we’ll continue to move other priority groups to the front of the line. We’ll review priority groups as the disease picture changes in Peel to make sure we continue to vaccinate the most vulnerable as soon as possible.

Every dose of vaccine that we have is already designated for people in a high-priority group. We’re pleased so many residents want to get the vaccine and we ask they remain patient as they wait their turn and we work through high-risk groups first.

When vaccine becomes more widely available in the future, we’ll work with our hospitals and other partners to expand access quickly, so that everyone who wants the vaccine can get it.

Like all vaccines, some people may experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. These side effects will likely be mild to moderate and resolve after a few days. They include pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, chills and fever. Some of these side effects are part of the body’s response to developing immunity.

Serious side effects after receiving the vaccine are rare. If you develop any serious symptoms or symptoms that could be an allergic reaction, seek medical attention right away.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Hives (bumps on the skin that are often very itchy)
  • Swelling of the face, tongue, or throat
  • Difficulty breathing

If you experience a severe allergic reaction, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

It's important to follow up with your health care provider if you experience serious side effects.

Health care providers can find information on reporting an adverse event on the Health Professionals page.