Vaccines for COVID-19: How to get vaccinated

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to help protect ourselves, our families and our communities against COVID-19.

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Getting an appointment

Visit your provincial or territorial website to find out:

Check how, when and where you can get vaccinated or get a booster:

Who is eligible

COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada are free of charge. They are available to everyone eligible to get the vaccine by federal, provincial and territorial public health authorities.

This applies to:

COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada include:

Learn more about:

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) strongly recommends a complete mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series for people 12 years of age and over. This includes people who:

If you're 12 to 29 years old, the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine is preferred for your primary vaccinations and booster. This is because myocarditis or pericarditis occur less often with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine than with the Moderna Spikevax vaccine.

NACI recommends children 5 to 11 years of age may be offered a primary series of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in children.

If you have an allergy to an mRNA vaccine, consult an allergist or your health care provider to discuss your options. You may be able to safely receive the mRNA vaccine under certain conditions.

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Number of doses

Most COVID-19 vaccines require 2 doses. A second dose is essential for longer-lasting and optimal protection, including against most variants of concern. If you've already had COVID-19, you should be vaccinated against COVID-19 and may be offered 2 doses.

A different COVID-19 vaccine may be offered for your second dose. This is known as a mixed vaccine schedule. NACI recommends that mRNA vaccines (Moderna Spikevax or Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty) should be offered for both first and second doses. This is the case even if you received a first dose of the AstraZeneca Vaxzevria vaccine.

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Additional dose for people who are immunocompromised

If you're moderately to severely immunocompromised due to disease or treatment, you may have a lower immune response to COVID-19 vaccination. NACI recommends you get an additional mRNA vaccine dose following your 1- or 2-dose vaccine series.

The additional dose should be given at least 28 days after the second dose. A booster dose may be recommended at least 6 months after the third dose.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccine product and dosage, please consult a health care provider about what's best for you.

Booster doses

Provinces and territories are responsible for planning their immunization programs. They will decide how best to incorporate NACI guidance into their plans to meet their unique population needs.

Currently, NACI has provided booster recommendations for people 18 years of age and older. NACI strongly recommends booster doses at least 6 months from the last dose of the primary series for:

NACI recommends adults 18 to 49 years of age may be offered a booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months from the last dose of the primary vaccine series.

Consult with your province, territory or local public health authority, as booster eligibility may differ by region.

When to consult with your doctor

If you have questions about getting your vaccine, consult with your health care provider.

For some people, the decision to get vaccinated will require special consideration of risks versus benefits.

Consult with your doctor or health care provider if you:

General considerations

  • have questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccination
  • are unsure if you should receive a COVID-19 vaccine
  • have received a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by Health Canada
  • are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19

After a first dose

Allergies

  • are allergic to:
  • have experienced an allergic reaction after a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Blood clots and low platelets

  • have experienced blood clots with low levels of blood platelets:
    • in the past as part of your medical history
    • following a viral vector vaccine (AstraZeneca Vaxzevria or Janssen)
    • after receiving heparin (an anticoagulant medicine that prevents blood from clotting)

Medical history

  • have a bleeding disorder
  • have a history of capillary leak syndrome if getting a viral vector vaccine (AstraZeneca Vaxzevria or Janssen)
  • recently had COVID-19 and were given specific medications for COVID-19 treatment

Benefits of vaccination

Evidence indicates that vaccines are effective at preventing serious outcomes due to COVID-19, such as severe illness, hospitalization and death. This includes protection against the Alpha and Delta variants of concern. However, there will be some people who are vaccinated who will still be infected with COVID-19 if they're exposed to the virus.

People who have already had COVID-19 should be vaccinated for future protection. They may be offered 2 doses and a booster dose when eligible.

COVID-19 vaccines help to prevent infection as well as complications, such as post COVID-19 condition. This condition refers to symptoms some individuals experience for weeks or months after being infected with COVID-19. Symptoms can be very different from those during the initial infection.

The condition can affect both adults and children.

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If you need a proof of vaccination

Most provinces and territories issue and use the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination. This proof of vaccination is a reliable way to show your vaccination history when travelling internationally.

Visit your province or territory's website to get a proof of vaccination

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