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About the COVID-19 vaccines

Details about vaccine dosing, interchangeability, and vaccines for children.

Getting fully vaccinated

You’re fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the last dose of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine (your second dose of a 2-dose vaccine, or a single dose of a 1-dose vaccine) or any combination of these vaccines.

You’re also considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving:

  • 1 or 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by Health Canada, followed by 1 dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine approved by Health Canada (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or
  • 3 doses of any COVID-19 vaccine not approved by Health Canada.

If you’re immunocompromised you should continue to self-isolate after being exposed to a person who has COVID-19 even if you’re fully vaccinated. If you have questions, speak to your health care provider.

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

These COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Health Canada on the basis of their quality, safety and efficacy. All the vaccines were proven to be effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms, and preventing severe complications such as hospitalization and death.

The vaccines are free with no cost to the public. The vaccines currently approved for use in Canada do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. Learn more about the authorized vaccines and their ingredients from Health Canada. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine approval process and safety from the Ministry of Health.

Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) and Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines, often called mRNA vaccines. Learn how mRNA vaccines work.

Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) are viral-vector-based vaccines. Learn how viral vector-based vaccines work.

Other information

It’s essential that you complete your vaccine series by receiving all required doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Get your vaccine

There are many ways you can get your vaccine. Peel Public Health vaccine clinics, pop-up clinics, participating pharmacies or primary care providers are all offering the first and second doses. Find a vaccine location

First doses

Anyone born in 2009 or older can get the vaccine. Youth 12 to 17 years of age will receive the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine. The Ontario government has recommended that, for individuals between the ages of 18 and 24, it’s preferred that they receive Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech).

Refer to COVID-19 vaccines for children including providing consent, and helping your child prepare for the appointment.

Second doses

In Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has advised that, based on current scientific evidence and expert opinion, mixing different vaccines is safe and effective to protect against COVID-19. Based on this, in Ontario, you are now allowed to receive a different type of COVID-19 vaccine for your first and second doses, to complete your vaccination series.

Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) or Spikevax (Moderna)

Anyone who received an mRNA vaccine (Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) or Spikevax (Moderna)) is eligible to get their second dose. The time between the first and second dose must be at least 28 days for Spikevax (Moderna), and at least 21 days for Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech).

We're offering both brands of mRNA vaccines at all our Peel Public Health vaccine clinics. You can choose the brand you prefer as your first or second dose. However, it's still safe and effective to mix either of these mRNA vaccines.

Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)

If you received your first dose of Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) at least 8 weeks ago you can book your second dose. It's recommended that you get an mRNA vaccine (Spikevax (Moderna) or Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech)) for your second dose. There is evidence that having an mRNA vaccine after the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine will boost the immune response, which is the desired effect of any second dose of a vaccine.

You can choose to receive Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) for your second dose. Some pharmacies are offering the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine.

Those who received 2 doses of the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) can feel assured that this vaccine helps protect you against COVID-19 infection, and it provides very good protection against becoming severely ill or hospitalized.

Who's eligible for a third dose

In Ontario, select at-risk populations are eligible to receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Group living residents

A third dose can be given at a minimum of 5 months (or 20 weeks) after the second dose for residents of:

  • Long-term care homes
  • Elder care lodges
  • Retirement home residents
  • First Nations elder care lodges
  • Seniors living in other congregate settings identified by the Ontario government such as:
    • Assisted-living facilities
    • Chronic care hospitals
    • Naturally occurring congregate retirement settings or congregate senior’s apartment buildings

Currently, all group living residents can only get a third dose in their residence or congregate setting. These residents cannot get a third dose through Peel Public Health vaccine clinics, pop-up clinics, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, or walk-in clinics.

Immunocompromised individuals

A third dose can be given at a minimum of 2 months (or 8 weeks) after the second dose for these high-risk groups:

  • Individuals receiving active treatment (e.g., chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy) for solid tumour or hematologic malignancies.
  • Recipients of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • Recipients of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy).
  • Individuals with moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
  • Individuals with stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  • Individuals receiving active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies2 (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids (refer to the CIG for suggested definition of high dose steroids), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppressive.

Where to get your third dose

Currently, all group living residents can only get a third dose in their residence or congregate setting. These residents cannot get a third dose through Peel Public Health vaccine clinics, pop-up clinics, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, or walk-in clinics.

Eligible immunocompromised individuals can receive their third dose at the following locations:

Region of Peel main office
10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton
Tuesday to Saturday, 1 to 8 p.m.

Region of Peel Mississauga office
7120 Hurontario Street, Mississauga
Tuesday to Saturday, 1 to 8 p.m.

Caledon East Community Complex
6215 Old Church Road, Caledon East
Sunday to Thursday, 1 to 8 p.m.

Embassy Grand vaccination centre
8800 The Gore Rd., Brampton
Monday to Thursday 12 to 8 p.m.
Friday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Select pharmacies
Find a location

Immunocompromised individuals must bring 1 of the following to a clinic or pharmacy to receive your third dose:

  • Third dose referral form completed by doctor or nurse practitioner.
  • Current prescription package, label, or pharmacy receipt of an immunosuppressant medication listed by the Ontario government. The prescription must clearly label:
    • Patient name
    • Name of medication
    • Date of dispensing
    • Name of prescribing doctor

If you have a prescription for an immunosuppressant medication not listed by the Ontario government, you can contact your doctor or health care provider to receive a referral form for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

About third doses

For most people, 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine provide strong protection against infection and severe illness, including the Delta variant. However, certain populations may have a lower immune response and could benefit from further protection provided by a third dose of an mRNA (Spikevax (Moderna) or Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines have been effective in reducing cases of COVID-19 in group living settings such as long-term care homes, but outbreaks are still occurring.

There's limited research on third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The recommendation to provide third doses to select at-risk populations was made by the Ontario Vaccine Clinical Advisory Group. This group is made of clinical and public health physician experts.

If you're eligible for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you'll need to provide consent before receiving the dose, like any vaccine.

The Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) mRNA vaccine can be given to anyone aged 12 years and older. The Spikevax (Moderna), Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines can be given to anyone aged 18 years and older.

If you've had COVID-19 before, you're still encouraged to get the vaccine because protection from re-infection is uncertain at this time.

You may receive your COVID-19 vaccine at any time after you’ve recovered as long as:

  • You’ve completed self-isolation.
  • Your symptoms are improving, and
  • You do not have a fever (without the use of medications) for at least 24 hours.

If you still have symptoms or you aren’t sure if you should get your COVID-19 vaccine at this time, speak to a health care provider before attending a vaccination clinic.

Precautions for certain groups

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

  • A compromised immune system or an autoimmune condition.
  • Experienced a serious allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) to another vaccine, drug, or food.
  • A bleeding disorder.

If you’re allergic to any component of the vaccine or if you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, consult with your health care provider before getting vaccinated.

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.

Student COVID-19 vaccination webinar recording

Peel Public Health recently hosted a webinar for students, parents, and guardians to talk about the COVID-19 vaccine, its safety and effectiveness in youth.
Access the webinar video recording.

Health Canada authorized the use of the Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine for children 12 to 17 years of age after determining that it is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 in this age group. A clinical study in over 2000 adolescents has shown that this vaccine prevents COVID-19 infection, including severe complications and death.

Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada are continuing to closely monitor the safety of the vaccine and will take action if any safety concerns are identified. Refer to Health Canada’s statement for more information on the approval.

Why it’s important for children and youth to get vaccinated.

COVID-19 affects both children and adults. COVID-19 in younger people is usually milder than in adults. However, there is a small percentage of children that could develop long-lasting effects (such as prolonged cough, fatigue) or severe symptoms requiring hospitalization. In rare cases, children can develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) which can include complications such as cardiac abnormalities, kidney injury and neurological complications.

Although severe disease is rare in children and youth infected with COVID-19, even with no symptoms, they can spread COVID-19 to others in their household or community with potentially serious consequences for all age groups.

Vaccinating children and youth will not only help to protect them from severe COVID-19 outcomes, but will protect those around them, including vulnerable populations and people who cannot receive theCOVID-19 vaccine.

It’s important for everyone to get vaccinated as soon as it is their turn.

What to consider when getting the vaccine

Most children can safely get the vaccine unless they have known allergies to specific components of the vaccine. Additional precautions may be required if your child has a history of serious allergic reactions, symptoms of myocarditis and/or pericarditis after the first dose of the vaccine, or other conditions such as a bleeding disorder or autoimmune condition. If you have concerns, talk to your child’s doctor.

Current evidence shows only rare side effects to the COVID-19 vaccines. Similar to adults, children who are immunocompromised or have certain health conditions may especially benefit from vaccination as they are at increased risk of more severe symptoms or complications from COVID-19. There is also no evidence to suggest that the vaccine will affect future fertility in children.

In Canada, there have been rare reports, in all age groups, of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) following vaccination. Refer to more information on vaccine side effects, including myocarditis and pericarditis.

The benefits of getting vaccinated continue to outweigh any potential risks. Everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated and to complete their vaccine series as soon as they are eligible.

How to get the vaccine

Children must be born in 2009 or earlier, and free of any COVID-like symptoms at the time of vaccination. They must wait 2 weeks after receiving any other vaccine, and they must schedule any other vaccine they are receiving at least 4 weeks after having the COVID-19 vaccine.

The time between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine is the same for children and adults.

Find out how to book a first or second dose appointment for children 12 years or older.

Currently, there are no mandatory requirements for children to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend school in person.

Peel Public Health requires consent for all individuals receiving COVID-19 vaccination. Children 12 years or older can provide informed consent provided they understand the treatment, why it is being recommended, and the risks and benefits of accepting or refusing to be vaccinated.

Parents or guardians can accompany their child to their vaccine appointment. If a child is not capable of consenting to receiving the vaccine, they will require verbal or written consent from their parent or legal guardian. This is consistent with legal allowances in the Health Care Consent Act.

How to help your child prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine

Parents are encouraged to talk to your child about the risks and benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Let them know they will be receiving the Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine and review any relevant materials together before your child attends their vaccination. Refer to more information from Health Canada about the Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine, including how it works, how it's given and how it was approved for use.

In clinical studies, side effects of the vaccine in children were shown to be similar to those experienced by adults. Refer to more information on side effects you can expect, and when you should seek medical attention. Discuss these possible side effects with your child, so they know what to expect after they get their vaccine.

Parents and children must continue to protect themselves and others after being vaccinated. After receiving either dose of the vaccine, it is important to continue to follow public health measures, such as wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing and washing your hands.  When enough people are vaccinated, and the number of COVID-19 cases in our community goes down, we will be able to get back to the activities we enjoy.

Resources

The following resources have been developed for youth, and their parents or legal guardians to review to help support making an informed decision about vaccination:

COVID-19 vaccine information for youth
Information from the province of Ontario on youth vaccination, including why you should vaccinate, how to book and get your vaccine and what to do after vaccination. The website also includes community resources, as well as translated fact sheets.

Kids Health First
Information from the Children’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Table including resources for parents, caregivers and youth, and answers to common questions about vaccination.

If you received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of Ontario, the record of your vaccine will not be automatically entered into the Peel Public Health or Ontario Ministry of Health systems.

For your vaccine to be recorded in the Ontario Ministry of Health system, you must provide a record of vaccination to Peel Public Health. We’ll review your record and enter it into the Ontario Ministry of Health COVID-19 Vaccine system, on your behalf.

Why reporting out-of-province vaccinations matters

Submitting a record of an out-of-province vaccination to Peel Public Health is not mandatory.

However, any out-of-province doses must be recorded in the Ontario Ministry of Health system if you are eligible for and would like to receive an additional dose of vaccine at a Peel Public Health clinic. You can also report your out-of-province vaccines in order to get an Ontario vaccine certificate.

Reporting will also help Peel Public Health monitor vaccine coverage. Reporting your out-of-province vaccination does not fulfill any provincial or federal requirements related to travel.

Reporting out-of-province vaccinations

In keeping with Ministry of Health guidelines,  only these COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in Canada:

  • Comirnaty (also known as Pfizer-BioNTech or Tozinameran)
  • Spikevax (Moderna)
  • Vaxzevria (Astrazeneca)
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
If your first dose or both doses are approved by Health Canada

Submit your record of vaccination through our online reporting tool.

When submitting your record of vaccination, you’ll need to provide a phone number and email address so we can reach you about your record. If you do not have your record of vaccination, contact the health care provider who gave you the vaccine and ask for a copy. After you submit your record of vaccination, you will receive a confirmation email. You will receive email notification when we’ve completed our review and submitted your record to the Ministry of Health.

  • If you’re submitting your first dose, once your record of vaccination is in Ontario’s Ministry of Health system, you can book your appointment for your second dose.
  • If you’re submitting your second dose or both your first and second dose, once your record of vaccination is in Ontario’s Ministry of Health system, no further action is necessary.
If your first dose or both doses are not approved by Health Canada

Submit your record of vaccination through our online reporting tool.

  • If you have proof of vaccination of a complete 1 or 2-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by Health Canada, you’re eligible for 1 additional dose of an mRNA vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated.
  • If you have received an incomplete series of a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by Health Canada (for example only 1 out of a 2-dose vaccine series), you should also receive 1 additional dose of an mRNA vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated.
If your vaccine receipt is not in English

When submitting an out of province vaccine receipt that’s in a language other than English, you must also provide a typed English translated document. The document doesn’t have to be professionally translated. Anyone can prepare it for you. It must include:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Vaccination date
  • Vaccine name
  • Country or province where vaccine was given
  • Number of doses received

If you’ve already submitted your vaccine receipt without an English translation, you’ll receive an email from Peel Public Health. You will need to resubmit your vaccine receipt using the online tool, and include both the original vaccine receipt and the translated document.

Submit your vaccine receipt

Use our online tool to submit your out of province vaccine receipt.

Report your vaccine

To get an additional dose, you’ll need to submit your record of vaccination. Once your record of vaccination is in Ontario’s Ministry of Health system, you can book your appointment online for an additional dose.

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.

If you develop any of the following reactions, seek medical attention or call 911:

  • hives (bumps on the skin that are often very itchy)
  • swelling of the face, tongue, or throat
  • difficulty breathing, wheezing
  • chest pain
  • the feeling of a fast, pounding, or fluttering heartbeat
  • high fever (over 40 C)
  • very pale colour and serious drowsiness
  • convulsions or seizures
  • other symptoms like pins and needles, or numbness

Any serious side effects after vaccination should be reported to Peel Public Health.

Call 905-799-7700 to report any serious side effects after vaccination.

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.

Myocarditis and pericarditis

The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada are monitoring Canadian and international reports for myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) following vaccination with an mRNA vaccine (e.g., Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) or Spikevax (Moderna)).

The Ontario government has recommended that, for individuals between the ages of 18 and 24, it’s preferred that they receive Comirnaty (Pfizer). This is due to an observed increase in reports of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination with Spikevax (Moderna) in this age group, particularly among males.

Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination remain rare and have been reported in a small number of people in Canada and internationally. Even among age groups with the highest observed rates of this event, cases occur at a frequency of 0.01% to less 0.1%.

Cases typically occur within a week of receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and are more common after a second dose. Typically these events have been mild and treatable. These events will continue to be monitored closely, and appropriate action will be taken if any new safety issues are identified.

If you experienced any of the following symptoms of myocarditis and/or pericarditis following your first dose of vaccine, you should be assessed by your health care provider for this condition prior to receiving your second dose:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling of a fast, pounding, or fluttering heartbeat.

What happens right after your vaccine

Wait for 15 minutes

Immediately following your vaccine, a clinic employee will recommend that you wait inside the clinic for 15 minutes. This waiting period will ensure that you’re feeling well.

Though uncommon, fainting or an allergic reaction can happen after vaccination. Our clinic employees are prepared to manage these events if they happen.

A clinic employee might ask you to wait up to 30 minutes if there’s a concern about a possible vaccine allergy.

While you’re waiting:

  • Tell a clinic employee if you start feeling unwell.
  • Keep your mask on and stay at least 2 metres away from others.

When your 15-minute time is over:

  • Use the alcohol-based hand rub to sanitize your hands before leaving
  • You can operate a vehicle or other form of transportation if you’re feeling well.

How you might feel after getting your vaccine

Common, expected side effects can develop in 1 or 2 days after getting the vaccine. Although these side effects are not serious to your health, they may make you feel unwell for 1 or 2 days. These side effects will go away on their own.

Placing a cool, damp cloth where the vaccine was given may reduce soreness. Pain or fever medication (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) may help reduce overall body pain or fever.

Severe reactions after getting the vaccine are rare

A severe reaction may develop within 4 hours to 1 week of receiving your first dose of an mRNA vaccine.

A small number of cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) have been reported in Canada and internationally.

If you experienced chest pain, shortness of breath, or a fast, pounding, or fluttering heartbeat following your first dose of vaccine, you should be assessed by your healthcare provider for this condition prior to receiving your second dose.

If you’re concerned about any side effects you experience after receiving the vaccine, contact your health care provider. You can also contact Peel Public Health to ask questions or report an adverse reaction at 905-799-7700.

To get the best protection against COVID-19, it’s crucial that you get a second vaccine dose, even if you experienced mild side effects after your first dose.

What to do after receiving the vaccine

  • Keep practicing public health measures such as physical distancing, washing your hands, or using hand sanitizer often, wearing a mask and limiting or avoiding contact with others outside your household.
  • Speak to your health care provider if you’re planning to become pregnant or find out you are pregnant before your appointment for your second dose.
  • Print your COVID-19 immunization receipt from your vaccination and keep it in a safe place.
  • Bring your COVID-19 immunization receipt with you for your second dose of vaccine.
  • Do not get any other vaccines until you’ve received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (unless another type of vaccine is considered necessary by your health care provider).

Need your vaccination receipt?

If you received your COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario, you can save or print a copy of your receipt by logging into the province’s portal. Get your receipt