COVID-19 Updates: Protecting Albertans from the Omicron variant.
Everyone who can get it, should get it
Evidence is clear: Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community by making it more difficult for the virus to spread from person to person.
It is much safer to get vaccinated than it is to get infected. Vaccines make our immune systems stronger by building antibodies to fight off disease. Because COVID-19 is a new virus, no one has pre-existing immunity.
Delaying or refusing vaccination carries serious risks. Albertans who are not fully vaccinated account for 80% of patients in hospital and 90% of patients in ICU with COVID-19. It may also extend the need for public health measures to continue.
Book your appointment
Protecting yourself protects those around you. All Albertans 5 and older can book their vaccinations now.
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.
Getting vaccinated protects against variants
The vaccines are effective against all variants. One dose is 57% effective against the Delta variant (B.1.617) and 2 doses is 85% effective. Getting vaccinated reduces the spread of variants. It does not cause worse variants.
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 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.
If you've had COVID-19, you should still get vaccinated
Evidence suggests immunity after infection may not last very long or be as effective against variants. Getting vaccinated will strengthen your immunity to give you the best protection.
Getting vaccinated won't hurt your paycheque
COVID-19 vaccines are free in Alberta. Employees are also entitled to take up to 3 hours of paid leave for each vaccination appointment under the Employment Standards Code.
Want to learn more? Listen to the recording of the Vaccines, pregnancy and fertility telephone town hall.
The vaccine and your pregnancy
There is no evidence that vaccines are harmful when pregnant or breastfeeding. In fact, everyone who is pregnant should get fully vaccinated as they have a higher risk of severe outcomes from variants. Between July 14 and October 21, 18 unvaccinated pregnant Albertans were admitted to ICU, up from 7 the entire first year of the pandemic. Of the 18 cases, 10 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. Vaccines activate the immune system, which can temporarily alter menstruation for a single cycle near the time of vaccination. However, there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines alter menstruation long term.
The vaccine and your fertility
The vaccines do not impact fertility, damage the placenta or increase the risk of pre-term birth or stillbirth. The vaccines safely help your body produce immunity against the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and protect you from COVID-19 infection and severe outcomes. They do not target syncytin-1, which is a different protein involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy.
Doctors cannot use unauthorized treatments
All physicians have an ethical and professional responsibility to only use treatments approved by Health Canada. Approval is only granted following rigorous review to ensure the drug is safe and effective. It can be extremely dangerous for a physician to use a medicine or drug to treat COVID-19 that has not be approved or authorized. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself.
Ivermectin does not prevent or reduce COVID-19
Ivermectin is a useful drug, but not a treatment for COVID-19. It is used to treat parasites, not viruses. All high-quality reviews found no evidence it reduces the severity of COVID-19 illness. In fact, 2 studies touting its benefits have been retracted. India revoked its approval of Ivermectin as a treatment in September after experts found it had little to no effect on mortality or recovery time. Taking Ivermectin for unauthorized uses or without doctor’s supervision can have serious, even fatal, consequences.
Want to learn more? Listen to the recording of the Vaccines for children 5 to 11 telephone town hall.
The vaccine, the virus, and your child
To date, 14% of all COVID-19 cases in Alberta were in youth 10 to 19. While most symptoms in children are mild, some can get very sick and suffer long-lasting effects, especially if they have pre-existing conditions. Vaccines safely protects children from getting sick or spreading the virus to family and friends. Side effects in children are extremely rare – only 0.03% of vaccinated youth in Alberta reported adverse events like allergic reactions, pain or fever. There is no evidence linking vaccine and autism.
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.
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” and are being closely studied in Alberta, and around the world.
It takes time to build immunity
Your body needs time to build its defenses – at least 2 weeks after the first dose. During that time, you are not yet protected from COVID-19. Even after getting both doses, you need to continue following public health guidelines to prevent the spread.
All vaccines offered in Alberta have been fully approved by Health Canada and have full authorization under the Food and Drug Regulations. All 3 vaccines help our bodies fight off the virus, but use different ways to get the attention of our immune systems.
Moderna/Pfizer vs. AstraZeneca
Moderna and Pfizer
These are the most common vaccines right now. They use an mRNA technology to teach our body how make antibodies that fight COVID-19. Our body naturally gets rid of the mRNA. Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades.
Only offered if you can’t take Moderna or Pfizer. It uses a viral vector technology. This means instructions about how to fight off COVID-19 are carried by a harmless common cold virus. The virus in the vaccine can't make us sick and our bodies will naturally get rid of it.
In addition to active medicinal ingredients, there are small amounts of other ingredients that help keep vaccines safe. You may have heard that some vaccine ingredients are harmful, but that is only true at much higher amounts than those in vaccines. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines do not contain egg. Vaccine ingredients and adverse reactions are listed on the Health Canada website.
It is normal to have some minor side effects after your vaccine. It's a sign the vaccine is working and your body is building protection. Common side effects include tiredness, chills, pain, redness, swelling and itchiness where the vaccine was given. Serious side effects are rare. Overall, 99.98% of vaccines administered in Alberta had no serious side effects. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.
Only 0.5% of fully vaccinated Albertans have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Two doses will protect most people from getting severely sick, having to go to the hospital or dying if they do catch the virus. However, no vaccine is 100% effective. Some people's immune systems don't respond as strongly to vaccine. Getting more Albertans vaccinated will help protect others with weaker immune systems.
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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