Important Information About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Current status of vaccinated Canadians:

This report was last updated on May 14, 2021 with data up to and including May 8, 2021.

Photo credit: Government of Canada

What is a vaccination?

Vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases, before they come into contact with them. It uses your body’s natural defenses to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger.

Vaccines train your immune system to create antibodies, just as it does when it’s exposed to a disease. However, because vaccines contain only killed or weakened forms of germs like viruses or bacteria, they do not cause the disease or put you at risk of its complications.

How does it work?

The body has many ways of defending itself against pathogens (disease-causing organisms). Skin, mucus, and cilia (microscopic hairs that move debris away from the lungs) all work as physical barriers to prevent pathogens from entering the body in the first place (WHO, 2020).

The subpart of a pathogen that causes the formation of antibodies is called an antigen. You can consider antibodies as the soldiers in your body’s defense system. When the human body is exposed to an antigen for the first time, it takes time for the immune system to respond and produce antibodies specific to that antigen (WHO, 2020).

Photo credit: WHO

If the body is exposed to the same pathogen more than once, the antibody response is much faster and more effective than the first time around because the memory cells are at-the-ready to pump out antibodies against that antigen (WHO, 2020).

This means that if the person is exposed to the dangerous pathogen in the future, their immune system will be able to respond immediately, protecting against disease (WHO, 2020).

Why is it important to get vaccinated?

When we get vaccinated, we aren’t just protecting ourselves, but also those around us. Some people, like those who are seriously ill, are advised not to get certain vaccines – so they depend on the rest of us to get vaccinated and help reduce the spread of disease (WHO, 2020). 

What vaccines are available in Canada?

Currently, there are 4 COVID-19 vaccines offered in Canada. Click any of the below links to find out more about their ingredients, allergy information, and safety monitoring protocols (Government of Canada, 2021). 

How do I register?

For information on eligibility for 1st and 2nd dose, as well as how to register, follow the link for your province below (Government of Canada, 2021).

Are there any side effects?

Photo credit: Honor Health

Like any medicine, vaccines can cause mild side effects, such as a low-grade fever, or pain or redness at the injection site. Mild reactions go away within a few days on their own (WHO, 2020). 

Severe or long-lasting side effects are extremely rare. Vaccines are continually monitored for safety, to detect rare adverse events (WHO, 2020). 

How do I know the vaccine is safe?

WHO works to ensure that everyone, everywhere is protected by safe and effective vaccines. To do this, they help countries set up rigorous safety systems for vaccines and apply strict international standards to regulate them (WHO, 2020). 

Together with scientists from around the world, WHO experts conduct ongoing monitoring to make sure that vaccines continue to be safe. They also work with partners to help countries investigate and communicate if potential issues of concern arise (WHO, 2020). 

How can Alertable help?

Alertable is used by municipalities across Canada to notify their communities of emergencies and general events to keep their communities safe and informed. Some municipalities are using Alertable to notify residents of their vaccination program like the example provided below.

Learn more about COVID-19:

Disaster Fatigue and COVID-19

The Canadian Red Cross and COVID-19

Staying Connected While Social Distancing

How does the Coronavirus affect mental health?

COVID-19: What is Proper Hand Washing?

COVID-19: How to Remove Gloves Properly

 

What are other tips we could talk about? Leave a comment below and let us know.

To sign up for Alertable, or to learn more, visit https://alertable.ca

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