Vaccines for COVID-19: How to get vaccinated

It's important for everyone to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations to reduce the risks of severe illness and death due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada are widely available and free of charge.

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Book an appointment

You can book an appointment for your primary series or a booster dose through your province or territory:

Benefits of vaccination

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect our families, communities and ourselves against COVID-19. Vaccines used in Canada are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated can also reduce the likelihood of developing symptoms of post COVID-19 condition. Post COVID-19 condition, also known as long COVID, is when people still experience symptoms of COVID-19 for weeks or months after their initial recovery.

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Primary series

Most COVID-19 vaccines approved for people 5 years of age and older begin with 2 doses. These initial doses are called a primary series.

The immune response to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is not as strong or sustained as 2 doses. The second dose is essential for developing better, longer-lasting protection.

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Additional primary series 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.

For this population, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends the following:

  • A primary series of 3 doses of an mRNA vaccine should be offered to individuals considered moderately to severely immunocompromised.
    • Those who received other vaccine types to begin their primary series should receive an additional dose of an mRNA vaccine.
    • The doses in the primary series should be given 4 to 8 weeks apart.

People moderately to severely immunocompromised are encouraged to speak with a health care provider to learn more about vaccination and other ways to protect themselves against COVID-19.

Booster doses

Additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccines received after completing the primary series are called booster doses. Booster doses are important because protection from a primary series decreases over time.

Booster doses increase protection by activating your immune response to restore protection that may have decreased over time. Boosters improve protection against severe outcomes by up to 90%. They may also reduce the risk of post COVID-19 condition.

Whether it's a booster dose or a primary series, you may be offered a different COVID-19 vaccine than the one you received previously. It’s safe and effective to do so. Talk to a health care provider about which COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for you.

Contact your province or territory for a booster

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First booster doses

Adults 18 years of age and older and high-risk youth 12 to 17 years of age are strongly recommended to receive a first booster dose. It may be offered 6 months after the last COVID-19 vaccine dose or infection.

A booster may be offered to all youth 12 to 17 years of age. This additional dose may be offered 6 months after the last COVID-19 vaccine dose or infection.

If you're pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy, it’s important to receive a booster dose for additional protection.

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Second booster doses

A second booster dose is recommended for the following populations who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 disease:

A second booster dose may also be offered to the following populations:

Talk to a health care provider about which COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for you.

Vaccination after previous infection

It’s safe to receive a COVID-19 vaccine following infection. Vaccination is very important, even if you’ve had COVID-19. While infection alone provides some protection, vaccination:

It's recommended that you receive your booster dose 6 months after you tested positive or started having symptoms. A shorter interval of at least 3 months may be warranted in some circumstances.

Provinces and territories design and deliver their own vaccination programs. When making decisions about their programs, they consider the needs and circumstances, including COVID-19 activity, of their region. As a result, vaccination recommendations and timing may differ by region.

If you have questions about the timing of your booster dose following a COVID-19 infection, contact:

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When to consult with a health care provider

If you have questions about getting your vaccine, consult with a health care provider. General considerations include if you:

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