Vaccines and treatments for COVID-19: Safety after authorization
On this page
- Safety after authorization (pharmacovigilance)
- Monitoring COVID-19 variants
- Reporting safety concerns for vaccines
- Treatment safety and reporting safety concerns for drugs
- Videos, posters and infographics to share
Vaccine safety after authorization (pharmacovigilance)
After a vaccine is authorized for use in Canada, we monitor its safety and effectiveness (how well it works) in people. This monitoring system is called post-market surveillance.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we're increasing:
- our monitoring and assessment activities of emerging safety issues
- collaboration and information-sharing with our partners here in Canada and around the world, such as the World Health Organization
Companies must also continuously monitor the use of their health products and report any side effects to Health Canada. This includes notifying us of potential safety concerns not observed during clinical trials. We can also:
- ask companies to perform other risk monitoring activities or post-market studies (beyond existing routine collection and assessment requirements)
- encourage companies to fast-track reporting of possible side effects associated with COVID-19 vaccines
Health Canada also monitors other sources of information, including actions taken for safety reasons by international regulatory agencies. Our goal is to quickly:
- respond to new information
- communicate risks to health care professionals and the public
Learn more about vaccine safety, concerns and possible side effects.
Monitoring COVID-19 variants
Genetic variations of viruses such as the one that causes COVID-19 are common. The federal government is closely monitoring the genetic variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. This includes those identified in the U.K. and South Africa as well as any potential future variants.
Health Canada is monitoring the emerging variants closely. We are working with manufacturers and international regulators to assess the impact of the new variants on the effectiveness of approved vaccines and treatments. If an issue is identified, we will work quickly with the manufacturers and public health laboratories to mitigate those risks and inform Canadians.
Reporting safety concerns for vaccines
We encourage anyone who witnesses or experiences a possible reaction to a vaccine to report it to their health care provider.
Health care providers must report possible reactions following vaccination to their local public health authority. The public health authority then reports them to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Treatment safety and reporting safety concerns for drugs
Health Canada also has a strong monitoring system for drug safety.
We strongly encourage anyone who witnesses or experiences a side effect to a drug to report it. You can also work with your health care provider to submit a report. They may offer additional information that could be useful for our assessment.
Videos, posters and infographics to share
- The facts about COVID-19 vaccines (poster)
- COVID-19: How vaccines are developed (video)
- Vaccine development and approval in Canada (infographic)
For health care professionals
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