General Vaccine FAQ

How do I book a first or second COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario?
  • Large-scale vaccination clinics in Hamilton are scheduled to close by the end of August. 
  • Other options exist for receiving your vaccination(s):
  • If you require financial assistance in covering the expenses associated with travelling to and/or from your vaccine appointment, please email studentlife@redeemer.ca 
Can I get vaccinated on campus?

Yes. A mobile vaccination clinic facilitated by Public Health will be present on campus on September 14 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the quad. COVID vaccinations may also be available at the Student Health Clinic on campus going forward.

Can international or out-of-province students get a vaccine?

Yes. Students who are not residents of Ontario are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccination will be arranged for any international students who want to be vaccinated through the Student Health Clinic at the end of the mandatory quarantine period.

Vaccines may also be booked off campus using the COVID-19 vaccination booking webpage or by calling (905) 974–9849, extension 7.

Which COVID-19 vaccines are available in Canada?

There are four vaccines currently approved for use in Canada:

  1. Moderna 
  2. Pfizer BioNTech
  3. AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD
  4. Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
Will any information sessions be held for students and employees who have questions about COVID-19 vaccines?

Yes. All employees and students are invited to attend an education and question and answer session hosted by a Public Health physician on September 13.

  • Employee session: 4 - 4:45 p.m.
  • Student session: 5 - 5:45 p.m.
Who is considered fully-vaccinated against COVID-19?

Individuals are considered fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 once 14 days have passed since their second dose of the Moderna, Pfizer BioNTech, or the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine, or since their (one) dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine (Government of Canada, 2021).

Are additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine (a third or “booster” dose) recommended and available?

At this time, a third dose of vaccine is not recommended for members of the general population. Certain populations, including the elderly and those who are immunocompromised may benefit from a third dose at the recommendation of their physician (Ministry of Health, 2021).

I am fully vaccinated. What happens if I develop symptoms of COVID-19?

Individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 who become symptomatic will need to follow the same process as those who are unvaccinated. Individuals who test positive will be required to isolate for 10-14 days as per current Public Health guidance (Government of Ontario, 2021).

I am fully vaccinated. Do I still need to follow Public Health guidelines such as wearing a mask and physical distancing?

Yes. Even if you are fully vaccinated, you have an important role to play in helping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. After you are fully vaccinated, please continue to wear a mask, wash your hands often, and maintain physical distancing where required, as per Public Health guidelines (City of Hamilton, 2021).

Vaccine Safety

Can I get COVID-19 from any of the vaccines?

No, you cannot get COVID-19 from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. None of the four approved COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada contain the virus that causes COVID-19. (Government of Canada, 2021).

What are the benefits of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and those around you from serious illness related to COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccinations work with your immune system to prepare your body to fight the virus if you are exposed. In the event that you do contract COVID-19, the vaccine may make your symptoms milder than if you hadn’t had the vaccine. The vaccine may also reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 altogether (Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2021-2021)

What are the potential risks of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • Serious side effects following a COVID-19 vaccine are rare, and are generally much lower than the risks associated with catching COVID-19 .
  • Common, mild side effects may include: pain, bruising, and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscles and joint aches, chills, and a mild fever (Ministry of Health, 2021).
  • Emergency medical attention should be sought immediately if any of the following symptoms occur: hives, facial or mouth swelling, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, severe drowsiness, fever over 40 degrees celsius, numbness, tingling, or seizures. 
  • Risks associated with the Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech vaccinations:
    • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
    • Pericarditis (inflammation of the sac in which the heart sits in the chest)
    • Most cases are mild and resolve quickly
    • Symptoms are typically observed one week following vaccination
    • Symptoms of myocarditis and pericarditis: chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and a rapid heartbeat
  • Risks associated with the AstraZeneca vaccination:
    • Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT)
    • The condition is serious but very rare
    • Symptoms of VITT include: chest pain, shortness of breath, pain or swelling of the legs, skin bruising (other than at the site of injection,) persistent abdominal pain, red or purple spots or blisters on or below the skin, severe or sudden headache, blurred or double vision, confusion, seizures, or difficulty speaking or moving. (Ministry of Health, 2021)
Can I get the vaccine if I have previously been diagnosed with COVID-19?

Following a diagnosis of and recovery from COVID-19, you may or may not have sufficient antibodies to prevent reinfection. For this reason, you should be vaccinated even if you have previously been diagnosed with COVID-19. You should not receive your vaccination until you are symptom-free and have been told by Public Health that you are no longer required to isolate (City of Hamilton, 2021).

Can I get the vaccine if I currently have symptoms of COVID-19?

Individuals currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should defer vaccination until they are feeling well and have either received a negative COVID-19 test result or have completed their isolation period following a diagnosis of COVID-19. (Ontario Ministry of Health, 2021).

Can I receive a different brand of vaccine for my second dose than I did for my first dose?

Yes. It is recommended to receive your second dose of vaccine as soon as you are eligible, with whichever brand you are able to access. Mixing vaccines is safe and effective.

  • If your first dose was Moderna or Pfizer BioNTech, you can safely take Moderna or Pfizer BioNTech for your second dose.
    • Dose interval is 28 days.
  • If your first dose was AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, you can safely take AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Moderna, or Pfizer BioNTech for your second dose.
I have previously had an allergic reaction to a vaccine. How do I know if it is safe for me to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Any individual who has previously had an allergic reaction to a vaccine should speak with their physician or nurse practitioner before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccinations do not contain eggs, gelatin (pork), gluten, latex, preservatives, antibiotics or aluminum. If you are allergic to an ingredient contained in a specific COVID-19 vaccine, you should not receive it (City of Hamilton, 2021) but take one of the other COVID-19 vaccines that are available. The specific ingredients contained in each Health Canada-approved vaccine can be found at the links below:

Moderna 

Pfizer BioNTech

AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD

Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)

Those who have serious allergies to ingredients in all currently available COVID-19 vaccines and therefore cannot be vaccinated will be required to follow the alternative process outlined in Redeemer’s Interim Vaccination Policy.

I don’t like needles. How can I prepare for my vaccination?

Fear associated with needles is very common among people of all ages. To help you prepare for your vaccination:

  • Tell the nurse, physician, or pharmacist who is administering your vaccine about your fear of needles.
  • Sit for your injection, unless you have a history of fainting.
  • Breathe deeply. Focus on breathing from your stomach. Expand your belly fully, then exhale to the count of 5. 
  • Relax the arm in which you will receive the injection by resting your palm on your thigh. A relaxed muscle will result in less discomfort when the needle is administered. 
  • Distract yourself by talking with a friend or a family member, or by listening to music while the needle is administered.
  • Remember, the actual injection should last no more than 5-10 seconds! (Immunize BC, 2021)
I have previously experienced fainting associated with needles. How can I prepare for my vaccination?

Vasovagal syncope (fainting as a result of a trigger, such as needles or blood) is one of the most common causes of fainting. The fainting occurs as a result of your brain not receiving enough oxygen due to a sudden drop in blood pressure. There are a number of actions that you can take to help prevent fainting during your vaccination appointment.

  • Tell the nurse, physician, or pharmacist who is administering your vaccine about your history of fainting during injections. 
  • Request a lying position (if possible) for the administration of your vaccine. If it is not possible to lie down, sit for the injection, preferably in a reclining chair. Do not stand during the preparation or actual administration of the injection. 
  • Relax the arm in which you will receive the injection by resting the back of your hand beside your hip (if lying) or by resting your palm on your thigh (if sitting.) 
  • Before, during, and after the injection, tense the muscles in your legs and stomach for 10-15 sections, followed by a 20-30 second period of releasing the tension. Repeat this pattern until the feeling of faintness passes.
  • Remember, if you do happen to faint during your appointment, you are in the presence of healthcare professionals who are trained to be able to assist you (PPHC, n.d.).

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (City of Hamilton, 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccination (City of Hamilton, 2021)

After Your COVID-19 Vaccine (Ministry of Health, 2021)

A Safe and Effective Second Dose (Government of Ontario, n.d.)

Ask the Experts Video Series: COVID-19 Vaccine Questions. (Government of Canada, 2021)