COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Image: COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Spectrum is thrilled that some of our frontline staff are already receiving COVID-19 vaccines in congregate settings and the community.

We are advocating for a quick roll-out of vaccinations to all frontline PSWs and nurses in the community. Below you can find information about COVID-19 vaccines including information on safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Health Canada has approved both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines which are supported by very robust scientific data and evidence. As a health care provider, Spectrum Health Care fully supports and advocates for health care workers to be vaccinated.

The following are frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines from Health Canada guidance.


How does the vaccine protect against COVID-19?

The vaccine helps our bodies build antibodies against the COVID-19 virus in case we are exposed in the future.

mRNA Vaccines – vaccine does not use live virus or killed viral particles

Can these new technologies give me COVID-19? NO

Can these new technologies change my DNA? NO

Is the vaccine safe?

Currently approved COVID-19 vaccines are considered to be safe and effective.

Health Canada is using the same standards as it has for years to approve vaccines.

When and how long will I be protected by the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The Pzifer and Moderna vaccines are 2 doses, 3-4 weeks apart. The second dose can safely be delayed up to 42 days.

The full benefit of protection from the vaccine begins 1-2 weeks after the second dose.

We will most likely not know how long the vaccine will be protective when we receive it. Research is underway to determine this.

We may need to have booster shots for COVID-19 on a regular basis but we do not know this yet.

Who can receive this vaccine and who cannot?

A complete vaccine series (2 doses of vaccine) should be offered to individuals who are 16 years of age and older without contraindications to the vaccine. If you have specific questions related to your personal health and receiving the vaccine consult your physician for guidance.

What are the risks of the vaccine?

Ongoing studies on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine indicate no serious side effects found to-date. As with other vaccines, some people can develop mild side effects in the days following immunization that are generally not serious and go away on their own.

When will I get the vaccine?

The province has a detailed roll-out plan based on an ethical framework which considers many factors. Home care providers are included in Stage 2 roll out plans. Stage 1 is in progress now and focuses on long-term care home residents, high risk retirement home and congregate settings residents and staff. Each region is managing the roll-out plans locally so there could be slight variations in timing of vaccines. Plans have been adjusted to reflect availability of vaccine.

Which vaccine will I receive?

You will receive the vaccine that is available at the clinic you are attending. At this point in time due to supply there is not a choice of manufacturer.

If I have had COVID-19 should I still get the vaccine?

Yes. It can be administered 90 days after your infection is resolved.

Do I need to continue to follow public health measures now that I have received the vaccine?

Current vaccines are about 90-95% effective.

Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and consistent hand washing will protect others, especially patients.

What should I do if I got my first dose of vaccine and am showing symptoms of COVID 19? Should I get the second dose per the prescribed interval?

Mild side effects are common for all vaccines and typically resolve in a few days. It is important to receive both doses as protection offered by the first dose is lower than the efficacy achieved after the second dose.

The Ministry has provided a number of guidance documents describing common side effects following vaccination including an After Care sheet and Guidance for Health Care Workers.

What do I tell my patients about why they need two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?

It is important to receive both doses as protection offered by the first dose is lower than what is achieved after the second dose. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are expected to be 94-95% effective after two doses.

After receiving your two doses it is still important to follow all public health guidelines including maintaining a physical distance of two metres from people outside of your household, wearing a mask, practicing proper hand hygiene and limiting non-essential travel. These measures will help keep you, your loved ones and your community safe.

Is there an update on the timing of vaccine rollout? When will I get vaccinated, what should I tell my patients?

Due to fluctuations in supply of vaccine, it is difficult to specify exactly when individuals will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The government has rolled out a three-phase distribution plan to ensure Ontario is prepared to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are available. It focuses first on vulnerable populations that are at greatest risk of COVID-19 and those who care for them, including Health Care Workers. More information on phases of vaccination rollout and the prioritization of Health Care Workers is available on the Ministry’s website.

Will guidance documents be updated to reflect the emergence of new variants of COVID-19?

The province recently announced a six-point plan to help stop the spread of COVID-19 variants. The Ministry of Health is working to incorporate information on variants of concern into new and existing COVID-19 guidance.

Resources and More Info

Below are some helpful resources about the COVID-19 vaccines from reputable sources: