Vaccines for COVID-19: How to get vaccinated

It's important for everyone to stay up to date on vaccination to continue to help 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 require 2 doses for the body to build initial protection. These doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are called a primary series. The immune response to the first dose of the vaccine is generally not as strong or sustained on its own. A second dose is essential for better, longer-lasting protection, including against most variants of concern.

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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:

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

Booster doses

Doses of the COVID-19 vaccines received after the primary series are called booster doses. A booster may be your second, third or fourth dose depending on your age and which vaccine you received initially.

Even if you've completed your primary series, protection will decrease over time. That's why it's important to get your booster doses when recommended.

Booster doses trigger your immune system to build a stronger immune response by making more antibodies. Boosters can help 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. 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 youths 12 to 17 years of age are strongly recommended to receive a booster dose. It should be given at least 6 months from the last dose of the primary series.

A booster may also be offered to other youths 12 to 17 years of age. This booster should be offered at least 6 months from the last dose.

If you're pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy, you should receive a booster dose for additional protection.

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Second booster doses

A second booster dose is recommended for the following populations at high risk for severe 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

Vaccination is very important, even if you've been previously infected with COVID-19. While infection alone provides some protection, vaccination before as well as after infection:

If you're eligible to receive a booster dose and you've had COVID-19, it's recommended that you receive your booster dose:

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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