COVID-19 Updates: State of public health emergency declared.
Everyone who can get it, should
Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect your family and loved ones from COVID-19.
Vaccines make our immune systems stronger by showing them what antibodies to build to help prevent and fight off disease. Because COVID-19 is a new virus, no one has existing immunity. It is much safer and more effective to get vaccinated than it is to get infected.
Vaccinated people are protected people. The more of us who get vaccinated, the safer all of us will be.
About the vaccines
All three vaccines used in Canada help our bodies learn how to protect us against future infection, but use different mechanisms to get the attention of our immune systems:
- Moderna and Pfizer use an mRNA technology, like a cellular instruction manual, to teach cells how to briefly make a COVID-19 spike protein that triggers an immune response. When the cells make the protein, our immune systems can learn to make antibodies to fight the real virus. Our immune systems naturally get rid of the mRNA and the proteins.
- AstraZeneca uses a viral vector technology, where instructions about making the COVID-19 spike protein are carried by a harmless common cold virus. These instructions allow cells to make the spike protein for a short time to teach the immune system how to recognize and fight the real virus. The common cold virus can't make us sick and our bodies will naturally get rid of it and the spike proteins.
It’s understandable to have concerns about your health condition and getting vaccinated. Albertans with a chronic disease or who are immunocompromised were involved early in the immunization program and were given significant consideration to ensure they get as much protection as possible. Talk to your doctor about your concerns before getting vaccinated, including the potential of having an allergic reaction. You can also find a list of vaccine ingredients and adverse reactions listed on the Health Canada website.
Get the facts
All approved vaccines are researched until proven safe
Thanks to worldwide collaboration, COVID-19 vaccines were developed quickly without compromising safety by building on decades of research on these vaccine technologies. Every approved vaccine has met Health Canada's strict standards for safety, quality and effectiveness.
Even the young and healthy should get vaccinated
Anyone can get seriously ill from COVID-19 and end up in the hospital or worse. Thousands of Albertans have died, including many young, previously healthy people. Also, when the young and healthy are immunized it keeps everyone in the community safer because the virus has fewer opportunities to spread.
The best vaccine for you is the first one that's available
All approved vaccines prevent serious illness and death. If we all get vaccinated as soon as possible, we'll be back to doing the things we love before long. It is safe to get different vaccines for your first and second doses. To learn about your options for mixing vaccines, visit alberta.ca/vaccine.
It takes time to build immunity
Your body needs time to build its defenses – at least 2 weeks. During that time, you are not yet protected from COVID-19. Even after getting the vaccine, you need to continue following public health guidelines to prevent the spread.
If you've had COVID-19, you should still get vaccinated
Early evidence suggests that immunity after infection with COVID-19 may not last very long and isn't as strong as vaccine protection. You should get vaccinated even if you've had the virus.
Getting vaccinated won't hurt your paycheque
Under the Employment Standards Code, employees are entitled to take up to 3 hours paid for each COVID-19 vaccination appointment.
Getting vaccinated provides protection against variants of concern
Having both doses of vaccine has shown to be effective against variants of concern. The most common variant strain in Alberta is B.1.617, and 2 doses of vaccine will provide up to 89% protection against this strain. There are similar rates of protection for the other variants when you have both shots, providing between 82 to 93% protection. Being immunized protects you more than not being immunized.
Bust the myths
Busting myths is about being armed with the facts. Let's stick with the facts - get the information you need to stay safe.
COVID-19 and trustworthy data
COVID-19 is a new virus, never seen before 2019. Early in the pandemic, information changed often as physicians and scientists researched the new virus. Public health recommendations were updated to reflect what was learned. This led some people to question the reliability of the data. More than a year later, we know more about the virus and our data is increasingly reliable.
COVID-19 and the long-term effects
Some people who have had COVID-19, whether they have needed hospitalization or not, continue to experience symptoms, including fatigue, respiratory and neurological symptoms. These long lasting symptoms have been named “long COVID-19” and are being closely studied in Alberta, and around the world.
The vaccine, the virus, and your DNA
Vaccines cannot give you COVID-19 or cause you to shed the virus. The coronavirus is coated in spike proteins that allow it to easily infect human cells and replicate. The vaccine instructs your body to produce spike proteins that teach your immune system to recognize and fight off the spikes on the coronavirus. Once your immune system recognizes the coronavirus, it gets rid of all parts of the vaccine naturally. The vaccine does not alter your DNA.
The vaccine and your fertility
The vaccine does not impact fertility. Confusion arose when a false report surfaced on social media saying that the spike protein on this coronavirus was the same as another spike protein, syncitin-1, involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. The false report said getting the vaccine would cause the body to fight this spike protein and affect fertility. The two spike proteins are completely different.
The vaccine and your pregnancy
There is no evidence that vaccines are harmful to those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or to their babies. In fact, pregnant people are strongly recommended to get fully vaccinated as they are at a high risk of severe outcomes due to the COVID-19 Delta variant. In August, 6 unvaccinated pregnant Albertans were admitted to ICU, up from 7 during the entire first year of the pandemic. Of the 6 cases, 5 resulted in pre-term births as early as 29 weeks.
The vaccine and your menstrual cycle
Menstruation is a complex process that can be influenced by external factors. The lining of the uterus is an active part of the immune system. Immunizations activate the immune system, which can temporarily alter menstruation for a single cycle near the time of immunization. However, there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines alter menstruation long term.
The vaccine and your personal beliefs
Many faith leaders around the world have spoken about the moral duty of their faith communities to be immunized to help protect their friends and neighbours. The vaccines approved in Canada do not contain gelatin, pork products or fetal tissue.
The vaccine and your child’s safety
While most COVID-19 symptoms in children are mild, some older kids can get very sick and suffer complications or long-lasting effects. Children also can transmit the virus to others, even if they don’t have symptoms. The Pfizer vaccine safely protects children 12 and older from getting the virus and helps prevent infection from spreading to family and friends. Trials are underway to determine if vaccines are safe and effective in children under 12. Overall, 99.98% of vaccines have been administered in Alberta with no reported adverse effects.
What you can do
- Get vaccinated to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community.
- Fact check the information you read and only share reliable sources.
- Have friends or loved ones concerned about getting the vaccine? Listen and share the facts with them.
- Seen a myth or conflicting information circulating online in Alberta? Let us know so we can help address it.
If you have questions about the vaccine and your health, consult your doctor or contact Health Link 811.
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