The COVID-19 vaccines available in Ontario are safe and effective. The vaccine not only benefits you, but it protects your family, friends, classmates, instructors and co-workers. Getting vaccinated is part of how we can return safely to the exceptional and unconventional in-person activities that characterize the Lakehead University experience.
|How do I know if and when I qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine?|
As of 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, all individuals living in Ontario over the age of 5 are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about Ontario's three-phase plan.
As vaccine supply is delivered across the province, public health units may have different vaccine administration rates based on local context.
If you are living elsewhere in Ontario, find your public health unit and check their website for details about vaccination in your area.
If you are outside of Ontario, visit the Canada Vaccines for COVID-19 website to find out about vaccine eligibility and booking in your province/territory.
|How do I know when I am eligible for a third/fourth dose or booster shot?|
For up-to-date information on the populations currently eligible for third doses and booster shots, visit Ontario’s vaccine webpage.
Individuals who are eligible to receive a third dose or booster shot are invited to schedule their appointment through the provincial booking system, directly through public health units that use their own booking system, and through participating pharmacies. Select primary care providers will also be reaching out to book appointments.
|How do I book an appointment?|
Visit the province’s How to Book a COVID-19 Vaccine webpage or call 1-833-943-3900 (TTY 1-866-797-0007). You may be redirected to register with your region’s health unit. You will be asked to provide a valid OHIP card number if you have one.
In Thunder Bay, students, staff, and faculty can book an appointment at Student Health and Wellness by calling (807) 343- 8010 Ext 7629.
Student Health and Wellness (Orillia) will be arranging on-campus clinics, check our events calendar for the next date. You can also visit SMDHU's website for vaccine locations in the area and how to book.
You can also book through participating pharmacies and some primary care providers.
|Can I book an appointment without an OHIP card?|
While having OHIP coverage has never been a requirement for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at mass vaccination clinics, some individuals without an OHIP number have been unable to actually book appointments at Ontario clinics because either agents at the provincial call centre requested one or they needed an OHIP number to book an appointment through the province’s online portal.
If you are eligible for OHIP but don't yet have coverage, or you don't have a current green health card, you can go to Service Ontario to apply for a new card: https://www.ontario.ca/page/apply-ohip-and-get-health-card. The number issued to you can be used to book by phone in the provincial booking system.
If you are not eligible for OHIP, you have a couple of options.
|Information for International Students|
Residency is not required to receive a vaccine in Canada and the vaccine is available at no cost. You may encounter difficulties booking an appointment online without an OHIP card but see the information in the section above on how to go about booking a vaccine appointment.
If you have questions about travelling to Canada for your studies, please connect with Lakehead International.
If you have questions regarding UHIP coverage, please contact email@example.com
|Vaccines Received Outside of Ontario|
If you received a partial or complete COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g. 1st dose or both doses) outside of Ontario, you can have this recorded in COVaxON, Ontario’s provincial system to record COVID-19 vaccination. However, only public health units can enter this information; pharmacies and primary care offices do not have the ability to do so.
At this time, proof of immunization from the place where you were immunized, (such as a receipt, card or certificate), is needed before the Thunder Bay District Health Unit can create a record and record your vaccination.
Currently, you can provide proof via:
Please use this secure form to submit your documentation. If you need to book a second dose appointment please allow 5 to 7 business days for your information to be entered into the database. After that time you may proceed with booking your second dose appointment on the provincial booking site.
|Vaccines Received Outside of Canada|
Read here for more guidance for Individuals vaccinated outside of Ontario/Canada
While we are all anxious to see the end of this pandemic, it’s normal to have questions and concerns about any new vaccine. The best way to make an informed decision is by ensuring you have the facts you need to know if the vaccine is the best option for your health. On this page, you can get answers to your questions about the vaccines available in Canada, and have the option to select links to the most reliable and current resources of information.
|Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?|
Yes. All approved vaccines are safe. Health Canada reviews the safety and effectiveness of all the COVID-19 vaccines and has determined through rigorous testing that the vaccines they have approved are all safe and effective in preventing severe outcomes and death from COVID-19.
|What is an mRNA vaccine?|
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada are Messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) vaccines. These vaccines are a little different than our more common vaccines. It is neither a killed or live vaccine, it is actually an mRNA-based vaccine and the first of its kind. mRNA vaccines are not live vaccines and therefore carry no risk of causing disease in the person vaccinated.
mRNA vaccines take less time to manufacture as your body ends up doing most of the work. The mRNA vaccine works by giving your body the genetic code needed to produce the antigen itself. The mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell and will not alter DNA. When the antigen appear on the outside of your cells, the immune system will begin producing antibodies and is then primed to protect against future infection. It can take weeks for you to build immunity after receiving the vaccine, therefore you can become infected with Covid-19 just before or just after receiving the vaccine.
Health Canada explains mRNA vaccines, how they work, and their safety.
|What are the potential side effects?|
Side effects for the mRNA vaccines are very similar to the usually mild to moderate effects often observed with other vaccines, such as pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. A small percentage of the population may experience a more severe allergic reaction. Speak with your health professional about any serious allergies or other health conditions you may have before you receive this vaccine.
A final note: Health Canada has conducted rigorous scientific reviews of the available medical evidence to assess the safety of these vaccines. No major safety concerns were identified in the data they reviewed.
What about long-term side effects that could be caused by mRNA COVID-19 vaccines?
The medical and scientific community is confident in the long-term safety of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the USA Centers for Disease Control, “Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. mRNA vaccines have been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). As soon as the necessary information about the virus that causes COVID-19 was available, scientists began designing the mRNA instructions for cells to build the unique spike protein into an mRNA vaccine." In addition, cancer research has used mRNA to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells. Decades of studying mRNA have shown no long-term side-effects.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia , the vaccine is not expected to have long-term negative effects for a few reasons:
In addition, the medical and scientific community is confident in the vaccine’s long-term safety, because of the track record of Canada's vaccine approval. Overall, this means that the end data and safety tests are exactly the same as other vaccines that have been approved in Canada.
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety and side effects.
|Who may not be advised to get the vaccine?|
For some people, the decision to get vaccinated will require consideration of risks versus benefits.
Consult with your doctor or health care provider if you:
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for people who:
How were COVID-19 vaccines developed so quickly? Was the approval process expedited?
There is a misconception that vaccine research must take a long time. While creating a new vaccine can sometimes take years, the progress on COVID-19 vaccines is happening quickly for many reasons, including:
For any vaccine to reach the general public it must pass careful evaluation by Health Canada and will have to pass safety standards. What made this vaccine approval feel rushed in comparison to other vaccines is the result of a highly focused and shared effort by researchers and scientists in every part of the world - combined new processes for review and evaluation of clinical trial data in addition to increased funding for vaccine research.
No corners were cut while creating the vaccines. One minor change to the usual process was put in place: clinical trials were run at the same time as the vaccines were being made/manufactured; that way, vaccines could be shipped out to different countries as soon as the vaccines were approved by the different countries’ health authorities.
|I am fully vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask?|
Yes. Studies are still underway to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing asymptomatic infection and reducing the transmission of COVID-19. For now, and until scientific experts say it’s safe to stop, it is important to continue to follow the advice of public health officials 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.
|Once I am vaccinated, am I able to have more contact with others, like my family and friends?|
COVID-19 vaccination along with public health measures will offer the best protection from the spread of COVID-19. Those who are vaccinated, and those who are not, must all continue to practice public health measures:
The vaccines are effective at preventing symptomatic illness and death. However, experts need to learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines offer before changing public health recommendations.
When you’ve had one dose of a two-dose vaccine series, its effectiveness improves over a number of weeks. You cannot assume that if you have been vaccinated, you will be protected right away. It is important to understand that any time you have close contact with people from outside of your household, you are putting yourself and others at risk.
When more time has passed, and more of the community is vaccinated, experts will likely recommend lifting some of the restrictions, the Public Health Agency of Canada has recently announced some guidelines for life after vaccination.
|Why should I trust this vaccine when historically, my community has been mistreated by medical science?|
Your feelings are valid. Unfortunately, trauma still remains from too many examples throughout history where Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (and other communities) have endured mistreatment from the medical field. However, we know that COVID-19 has been disproportionately affecting BIPOC communities, and the COVID-19 vaccine is an important step in reducing that inequity. Furthermore, many BIPOC scientists and medical providers have been involved in all aspects of the development and delivery of the vaccine.
Greater Than COVID and the Black Coalition Against COVID collaborated to produce this video where Black doctors, nurses, and researchers answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccines:
|Is the vaccine halal?|
Many companies are making vaccines and the COVID-19 vaccines that are approved in Canada are from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen do not contain gelatin or pork products.
Vaccines that may become available later may include gelatin or pork products and as more information becomes available for these, consult with religious leaders about which specific vaccines are recommended. It is important to know there are approved vaccines in Canada that do not contain gelatin or pork products.
|How does vaccination status affect travel into Canada?|
For information on requirements for entering Canada, please visit the Government of Canada website.
It's likely you've heard claims about these COVID-19 vaccines on social media or from the people in your life that might make you hesitate to book your appointment. Make an informed decision about getting vaccinated by ensuring that the information about the vaccines are from evidence-based, trustworthy sources.
|Myth: I am young and healthy, I do not need a COVID-19 vaccine.|
|Fact: People infected with COVID-19 could end up with long-term health effects that don't appear right away — and there have been instances of young people who contract COVID-19 and end up in hospital. Even if you do not get the worst case of COVID-19, you can still pass on the virus to someone who might get sick and die.|
|Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine causes a COVID-19 infection|
Fact: None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in Canada use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. The goal of each of the vaccines is to teach the immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign of the immune response to a vaccine.
It usually takes the body a few weeks to build immunity after receiving a vaccine. It is possible that someone could become infected with the COVID-19 virus before or just after getting the vaccine and get sick. This happens because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection in the body. Learn more about COVID-19.
|Myth: COVID-19 vaccines alter DNA|
Fact: COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.
There are currently two types of COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized and recommended for use in Canada: messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and a viral vector vaccine. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the genetic material in the vaccines cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. All COVID-19 vaccines work with the body’s natural defences to safely develop immunity to disease.
|Myth: I already had COVID-19 and I have recovered, so I don't need to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it's available.|
Fact: People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people are advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.
There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long people are protected from getting COVID-19 after they have had it (natural immunity). Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Several subjects in the Pfizer trial who were previously infected got vaccinated without ill effects. Some scientists believe the vaccine offers better protection for coronavirus than natural infection.
|Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine was developed to control the general population either through microchip tracking or "nano transducers" in our brains.|
Fact: There is no vaccine microchip, and the vaccine will not track people or gather personal information into a database.
This myth started after comments made by Bill Gates from The Gates Foundation about a digital certificate of vaccine records. The technology he was referencing is not a microchip, has not been implemented in any manner and is not tied to the development, testing or distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
|Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine can affect women’s fertility.|
| Fact: The COVID-19 vaccine will not affect fertility. The truth is that the COVID-19 vaccine encourages the body to create copies of the spike protein found on the coronavirus’s surface. This “teaches” the body’s immune system to fight the virus that has that specific spike protein on it.|
Confusion arose when a false report surfaced on social media, saying that the spike protein on this coronavirus was the same as another spike protein called syncitin-1 that is involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. The false report said that getting the COVID-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight this different spike protein and affect her fertility. The two spike proteins are completely different and distinct, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant, including through in vitro fertilization methods. During the Pfizer vaccine tests, 23 women volunteers involved in the study became pregnant, and the only one who suffered a pregnancy loss had not received the actual vaccine, but a placebo.
|Myth: I am allergic to eggs so I shouldn't get the COVID-19 vaccine|
Fact: Neither the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine nor the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines contain egg nor were eggs used for the development or production of either vaccine. However, those with severe allergic reactions to eggs or any other substance (i.e., anaphylaxis) are encouraged to remain after vaccination for 30 minutes for observation.
It is important to get your vaccine information from credible sources. Below are websites where you can find trustworthy, science-based information about the COVID-19 vaccines.
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit- COVID-19
- Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit- COVID-19
- Health Canada: Vaccines for children: Deciding to vaccinate
- Health Canada: COVID-19 vaccines and treatments portal
- Ontario’s COVID-19 About Vaccines
- Ministry’s COVID-19 About Vaccines
- PHO: COVID-19 Vaccines: mRNA Vaccines
- CDC: Benefits of getting a COVID-19 Vaccine