Vaccination against COVID−19: why… and for whom?

While the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is in full swing, you may be wondering when it will be your turn!

The skin and its “minor issues”

Vaccination: is it a good option?

Vaccines have been around for many decades now, and thanks to them, humanity has been able to get rid of some of the serious and widespread infections that have wreaked havoc around the world such as smallpox, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, tuberculosis, measles, etc. The lives of millions of people have been saved through mass vaccination.

It is clear that COVID-19 is one of the diseases that has shaken the entire planet. The health risks associated with COVID-19 are well known. We cannot know in advance what the impact of an infection with this virus will be for ourselves and for others who may be at risk of infection. Every day, in Canada and elsewhere, people die as a result of COVID-19. These serious consequences occur not only in vulnerable people, but also in younger, healthy people..

With the arrival COVID-19 vaccines, we hope to return to a semblance of "normal" life. The vaccine prepares the immune system to cope with disease if exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is a way to reduce the chances of getting the disease and, if you do get it, to reduce the risk of developing the complications associated with it.

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign is not simple and required the development of a prioritization plan by the government. Here are some answers that we hope will help explain the rationale behind this plan.

Who are the COVID-19 vaccines for?

The vaccines now available are for people 16 years of age and older, unless contraindicated. Studies are underway to assess the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines in children and adolescents. Currently, the ultimate goal of the vaccination program is to offer the vaccine to all adults who want it.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is a free service to the public. Access to the vaccine is only possible through the government program; it is not possible to obtain doses through the private market.

Who can currently receive a vaccine?

Ideally, we would like to be able to vaccinate all Canadian adults at the same time, but vaccine supply and human resource issues make this impossible. Currently, public health authorities are relying on a sequential, tiered vaccination plan that prioritizes those who are most at risk or whose work is deemed essential in the context of a pandemic. The prioritization of the vaccination plan may change over time, depending on the epidemiological data available.

The first vaccinations were given to residents and employees of long-term care facilities and seniors' residences, individuals in the community who are 70 years of age or older, certain categories of essential workers, and individuals with various chronic diseases that make them more vulnerable. Don't worry, if you want to receive the vaccine, your turn will come too! To find out where you stand in your province's vaccination plan, please refer to the following links:

Who should not receive the vaccine?

There are very few contraindications to the COVID-19 vaccine. If a person is allergic to any component of the vaccine, they should not receive it. This is also the case if a person has signs or symptoms that may be attributable to COVID-19 or if they have received a positive test result.

Additionally, although this is not a contraindication at the outset, the healthcare provider should be notified before receiving the vaccine if:

  • you have ever had an adverse reaction after receiving a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • you have a weakened immune system due to illness or medication
  • you have a blood clotting disorder, are taking a blood thinner or bruise easily
  • you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • you are breastfeeding

Your healthcare provider will be able to discuss with you the risks and benefits of the vaccine in your particular situation.

Can I count on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines?

Like all drugs, COVID-19 vaccines must undergo extensive studies and rigorous review by Health Canada (the agency responsible for approving drugs) before they can be marketed. All currently approved vaccines have gone through the usual approval process and have been found to be safe and effective.

All drugs approved in Canada, including COVID-19 vaccines, are subject to very stringent quality and safety standards, including the manufacturing process. Additionally, there is close and ongoing post-marketing surveillance of their safety. This allows us to learn more about them, including the potential for more serious adverse events, and to take action to ensure the safety of Canadians should this be necessary.

It's my turn! How do I make an appointment?

To make an appointment for vaccination against COVID-19, please refer to the following links:

Don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist for additional information about COVID-19 and the vaccines to protect against it.

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Vaccination against COVID−19: why… and for whom?

While the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is in full swing, you may be wondering when it will be your turn!
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