Vaccines for COVID-19: What to expect at your vaccination

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Before you get to your appointment

How to get vaccinated near you

Before you arrive at your vaccination appointment:

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Tips for a comfortable vaccination experience

Some people may experience discomfort, pain or stress from vaccination. But there are a number of techniques you can use to make the vaccination more comfortable.

Some helpful strategies include:

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Possible side effects and reactions

After getting vaccinated, it's common and normal to have temporary side effects. These can last a few hours to a few days after vaccination.

This is the body's natural response, as it's working hard to build protection against the disease.

Common vaccine side effects may include:

Symptoms at the injection site, such as: More general symptoms, such as:
  • redness
  • soreness
  • swelling
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • joint pain
  • headache
  • mild fever
  • muscle aches

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Managing common side effects at home

You can take over-the-counter medicine after your vaccination to help with any pain or to lower a fever. Ask your health care provider how to manage any symptoms and if you're concerned about any symptoms post-vaccination.

You can also:

Allergic reactions

Allergic (anaphylactic) reactions are very rare and typically occur between 15 and 30 minutes after vaccination. For this reason, you'll be monitored for this period of time after you get a vaccine. Notify your vaccinator if you have a history of serious allergic reactions.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

Call emergency services right away if you develop any serious symptoms or symptoms that could be an allergic reaction.

Reporting a possible serious reaction

You should also report any serious reactions or side effects to your health care provider. Reported allergic reactions and side effects to COVID-19 vaccines are published weekly:

After getting vaccinated

The person vaccinating you will let you know where to wait and for how long after vaccination. The usual wait time is about 15 minutes or more. This allows time for staff to watch you for possible reactions or side effects. Let someone know if you're experiencing any symptoms following vaccination.

After vaccination, ask for a record of the vaccine you received.

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Completing your vaccine series

Most COVID-19 vaccines require 2 doses to complete vaccination. A second dose is essential for longer-lasting and optimal protection, including against variants of concern. The person vaccinating you should let you know when and if you need an additional vaccine dose.

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Continuing public health measures

You should still follow safe practices for going out safely during COVID-19. Vaccination status is a consideration in making informed choices.

When enough people are vaccinated against COVID-19 and cases are down, it will be safer to lift public health measures that are restrictive.

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There are some exemptions for people who are eligible to enter Canada, who also meet specific conditions for fully vaccinated travellers.

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