As COVID-19 vaccination continues, you may be wondering if it's meant for you!
IS VACCINATION A GOOD OPTION?
Vaccines have existed 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 owing to mass vaccination.
It is clear that COVID-19 is one of the diseases that has shaken the entire planet. Although the health risks associated with COVID-19 are generally more serious in vulnerable people, the risks of complications can also be present in those who are young and healthy.
The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines has enabled us to return to a more normal life. In fact, these vaccines prepare the immune system to combat the disease if it is exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This reduces the risk of contracting the disease and, if caught, reduces the risk of associated complications such as hospitalization and long COVID.
WHO ARE THE COVID-19 VACCINES FOR?
Anyone aged six months and over can receive the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge. However, it is particularly important to receive a booster dose for people at higher risk of complications:
- people living in long-term care centres (CHSLD), private seniors' residences (RPA) or other group settings with a high proportion of elderly and vulnerable people
- people aged 60 and over
- people aged 6 months and over considered to be at high risk of complications, who are immunocompromised or on dialysis
- healthcare workers
- pregnant women, and
- adults living in remote and isolated areas
This booster dose is particularly recommended for people who have never had COVID-19.
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.
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
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 approved vaccines have undergone 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.
I WANT MY VACCINE! HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?
Many Jean Coutu-affiliated pharmacies offer COVID-19 vaccination by a nurse or pharmacist. Speak to your pharmacy area team to make an appointment for your COVID-19 vaccination.
Speak to your pharmacist for additional information on COVID-19 and the vaccines available to protect against it.