Ask the experts video series: COVID-19 vaccines questions

Medical experts answer common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

You can also check out their reasons for getting vaccinated.

On this page

How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe?

Transcript

A super appears on a pink background: COVID-19 vaccine questions

A person seated on a couch speaks directly to the camera to ask a question: How do we know that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe?

Cut to a doctor in an office, then a super appears:

  • Dr. Upton D. Allen
  • Bastable-Potts Chair in Infectious Diseases Research
  • Hospital for Sick Children

The doctor responds to the person's question.

Dr. Upton D. Allen: The COVID-19 vaccines were rigorously tested during their development and carefully reviewed by Health Canada. After people have received the vaccines, real-world effectiveness and safety are monitored. Any safety concerns are expected to be very rare.

Cut to a white screen with a pink border: Got questions?

Pop-up speech boxes appear with the following questions:

  • Do I need to get the second dose?
  • How was it possible to develop safe COVID-19 vaccines so quickly?
  • How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?

Cut to a new white screen with a pink border:

  • Good.
  • We've got answers.
  • Canada.ca/covid-vaccine

Narration: A message from the Government of Canada.

The Canada wordmark with waving flag appears.

How was it possible to develop safe COVID-19 vaccines so quickly?

Transcript

A super appears on a pink background: COVID-19 vaccine questions

A person standing in a living room speaks directly to the camera to ask a question: How was it possible to develop safe COVID-19 vaccines so quickly?

Cut to a doctor in an office, as she speaks a super appears:

  • Dr. Supriya Sharma
  • Chief Medical Advisor
  • Health Canada

The doctor responds to the person's question.

Dr. Supriya Sharma: The vaccines were available so quickly because of advances in science and technology, dedicated funding for research and development, and an incredible level of international collaboration, all the while making sure that no steps were skipped in either the development or the review.

Cut to a white screen with a pink border: Got questions?

Pop-up speech boxes appear with the following questions:

  • How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe?
  • Do COVID-19 vaccines have side effects?
  • Can someone get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

Cut to a new white screen with a pink border:

  • Good.
  • We've got answers.
  • Canada.ca/covid-vaccine

Narration: A message from the Government of Canada.

The Canada wordmark with waving flag appears.

Do COVID-19 vaccines have side effects?

Transcript

A super appears on a pink background: COVID-19 vaccine questions

A person standing in a room speaks directly to the camera to ask a question: Do COVID-19 vaccines have side effects?

Cut to a doctor in their living room; a super appears:

  • Dr. Noni E. MacDonald
  • Professor of Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases
  • Dalhousie University and IWK Health Centre

The doctor responds to the person's question.

Dr. Noni E. MacDonald: Serious reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are rare, but mild to moderate reactions are common, such as pain or redness at the injection site, a mild fever, headache, tiredness, muscle aches....

Don't worry.

These are expected responses to the vaccine, and last only a few days.

Cut to a white screen with a pink border: Got questions?

Pop-up speech boxes appear with the following questions:

  • What are mRNA vaccines and how do they work?
  • How are COVID-19 vaccines monitored in Canada?
  • Why did you get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Cut to a new white screen with a pink border:

  • Good.
  • We've got answers.
  • Canada.ca/covid-vaccine

Narration: A message from the Government of Canada.

The Canada wordmark with waving flag appears.

What are the differences between the vaccines? Which one is the best vaccine for me?

Transcript

A super appears on a pink background: COVID-19 vaccine questions

A person speaks directly to the camera to ask a question: What are the differences between the vaccines, and which one is the best one for me?

Cut to a surgeon in an operating room; then a super appears:

  • Dr. Kal Belay
  • Acute Care and Minimally Invasive General Surgeon
  • William Osler Health System

The doctor responds to the person’s question.

Dr. Kal Belay: That’s a great question. Simply put: all of Canada’s authorized COVID-19 vaccines provide a high level of protection against severe outcomes of COVID-19, so I encourage you to get the vaccine at the earliest opportunity.

Cut to a white screen with a pink border: Got questions?

Pop-up speech boxes appear with the following questions:

  • Do COVID-19 vaccines have side effects?
  • I’m young and healthy. Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • How was it possible to develop safe COVID-19 vaccines so quickly?

Cut to a new white screen with a pink border:

  • Good.
  • We’ve got answers.
  • Canada.ca/covid-vaccine

Narration: A message from the Government of Canada

The Canada wordmark with waving flag appears.

How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?

Transcript

A super appears on a pink background: COVID-19 vaccine questions

A person speaks directly to the camera to ask a question: How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?

Cut to a doctor in their living room; a super appears:

  • Dr. Noni E. MacDonald
  • Professor of Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases
  • Dalhousie University and IWK Health Centre

The doctor responds to the person's question.

Dr. Noni E. MacDonald: COVID vaccines help our bodies develop an immune response to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness and potential bad complications that that virus can bring. The vaccine provides instructions to the immune system so that the immune system is able to develop that protective response. It gets all your soldiers ready to get out to fight against that virus.

Cut to a white screen with a pink border: Got questions?

Cut to a new white screen with a pink border:

  • Good.
  • We’ve got answers.
  • Canada.ca/covid-vaccine

The Canada wordmark with waving flag appears.

Do I need to get the second dose?

Transcript

A super appears on a pink background: COVID-19 vaccine questions

A person speaks directly to the camera to ask a question: Do I need to get the second dose?

Cut to a doctor in an operating room; a super appears:

  • Dr. Stanley Vollant
  • General Surgeon
  • Notre-Dame Hospital, Montréal

The doctor responds to the person's question.

Dr. Stanley Vollant: The first dose of COVID-19 vaccine offers you some protection, but not as much as you get from two doses. The second dose of the vaccine gives you a better, stronger and a longer protection from it. You want your immune system to produce very strong and high level of antibodies so that your body can fight it. But, you have to take both doses.

Cut to a white screen with a pink border: Got questions?

Cut to a new white screen with a pink border:

  • Good.
  • We’ve got answers.
  • Canada.ca/covid-vaccine

The Canada wordmark with waving flag appears.

Can someone get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

Transcript

A super appears on a pink background: COVID-19 vaccine questions

A person speaks directly to the camera to ask a question: Can someone get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

Cut to a doctor in an operating room; a super appears:

  • Dr. Kal Belay
  • Acute Care and Minimally Invasive General Surgeon
  • William Osler Health System

The doctor responds to the person's question.

Dr. Kal Belay: You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine because none of the authorized vaccines in Canada have the virus that causes COVID-19 in them. Some of the side effects of the vaccine such as injection site discomfort, fevers or muscle ache are normal symptoms related to the activation of the immune system by the vaccine as the body readies to defend itself.

Cut to a white screen with a pink border: Got questions?

Cut to a new white screen with a pink border:

  • Good.
  • We’ve got answers.
  • Canada.ca/covid-vaccine

The Canada wordmark with waving flag appears.

Without long-term data, how do we know that the vaccine is safe?

Transcript

A super appears on a pink background: COVID-19 vaccine questions

A person speaks directly to the camera to ask a question: Without long-term data, how do we know that the vaccine is safe?

Cut to a doctor in an office, then a super appears:

  • Dr. Supriya Sharma
  • Chief Medical Advisor
  • Health Canada

The doctor responds to the person’s question.

Dr. Supriya Sharma: Vaccines are carefully studied in controlled clinical trials with tens of thousands of people. But, even before a single person receives a vaccine in a clinical trial there’s an incredible amount of research that goes into the development of the vaccines from lab studies, animal studies and everything that we know about vaccines in general. And what we know is that the vast majority of side effects from vaccines are minor and last only for a few days. But, we continue to monitor all the vaccines for an extended period of time and continue to do that as long as they’re used in Canada.

Cut to a white screen with a pink border: Got questions?

Cut to a new white screen with a pink border:

  • Good.
  • We've got answers.
  • Canada.ca/covid-vaccine

The Canada wordmark with waving flag appears.

How are side effects and the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines monitored in Canada?

Transcript

A super appears on a pink background: COVID-19 vaccine questions

A person speaks directly to the camera to ask a question: How are side effects and the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines monitored in Canada?

Cut to a doctor in an office, then a super appears:

  • Dr. Supriya Sharma
  • Chief Medical Advisor
  • Health Canada

The doctor responds to the person’s question.

Dr. Supriya Sharma: Vaccines are among the most closely monitored medications anywhere. Health Canada works closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada and public health officials to make sure that all vaccines are tracked and monitored for any side effects. We not only look for the safety of those vaccines but also the effectiveness or how well they work. And if any issues come up, we’ll act on it as soon as possible to make sure that those vaccines can continue to be used safely and effectively.

Cut to a white screen with a pink border: Got questions?

Cut to a new white screen with a pink border:

  • Good.
  • We've got answers.
  • Canada.ca/covid-vaccine

The Canada wordmark with waving flag appears.

I'm young and healthy. Why should I get vaccinated if I'm not at risk?

Transcript

A super appears on a pink background: COVID-19 vaccine questions

A person speaks directly to the camera to ask a question: I’m young and I’m healthy, why do I need to get the vaccine if I’m not at risk?

Cut to a surgeon in an operating room, then a super appears:

  • Dr. Kal Belay
  • Acute Care and Minimally Invasive General Surgeon
  • William Osler Health System

The doctor responds to the person’s question.

Dr. Kal Belay: COVID-19 can have life-threatening complications and there’s no way to tell how it will affect you. The vaccination is an important tool to help stop this pandemic and help us get back to normal life.

Cut to a white screen with a pink border: Got questions?

Pop-up speech boxes appear with the following questions:

  • Can someone get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
  • How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?
  • Do I need to get the second dose?

Cut to a new white screen with a pink border:

  • Good.
  • We’ve got answers.
  • Canada.ca/covid-vaccine

Narration: A message from the Government of Canada

The Canada wordmark with waving flag appears.

Related videos to share

Extended explainer videos

"My Why" vaccination series

Medical experts explain their reason for getting vaccinated:

Share your reason for getting vaccinated on social media:

Other vaccination series

Some of these videos also have closed captions available in other languages.

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