COVD-19 Vaccine: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Getting your vaccine

What phase of Ontario’s plan are we in?

Phase 2 is now underway, dependent on regional supply of vaccine.

See COVID-19 Vaccines for Ontario to learn more about each phase.

Who is eligible for vaccination at an HPPH clinic?

Groups eligible as of April 7:

  • Adults age 65 or older (born 1956 or earlier)

Groups that continue to be eligible:

Residents, Primary Essential Caregivers and Staff of High-Risk Congregate Living Settings

High-risk congregate living settings refer to residential facilities where a high-risk client population live or stay overnight and use shared spaces (e.g. common sleeping areas, shared bathrooms, shared kitchens, communal dining spaces). The settings are at higher risk of transmission.

Primary essential caregivers are individuals (who enter the congregate living setting) to provide regular and sustained assistance with personal care and/or activities of daily living.

The following groups in this category are able to book appointments at HPPH clinics:

Residents, Primary Essential Caregivers and Staff of High-Risk Congregate Living Settings in the following settings:

  • Developmental services/intervenor which includes
    • supported independent living (person lives independently and has support worker(s) who come into the home to assist.)
  • Mental health and addictions congregate living
  • Homes for special care (provincial program providing housing, meals and assistance with daily living for adults with a serious mental illness)
  • Children’s residential facilities
  • Youth justice facilities
  • Supportive housing (a setting where individuals are receiving care)
  • Indigenous healing and wellness
  • Bail beds and Indigenous bail beds
  • Provincial and demonstration schools/Consortium Centre Jules-Leger

The following groups will be contacted directly by HPPH and partners to arrange vaccinations  

These groups will also eventually be able to book on our system for an HPPH community clinic:

  • Residents, Primary Essential Caregivers and Staff of High-Risk Congregate Living Settings in the following settings:
    • Emergency homeless shelters
    • Other homeless populations not in shelters
    • Employer-provided living accommodations for temporary foreign agricultural workers
    • Adult correctional facilities
    • Violence Against Women (VAW) shelters
    • Anti-Human Trafficking (AHT) residences
    • Inpatients on rehabilitation, complex care, geriatrics and mental health units

Adults 16 years of age and older with the following Highest-Risk health conditions:

The province as part of its Phase 2 Prioritization has identified different risk groups with health conditions. Below are the groups considered "Highest-Risk" that are currently eligible to book at HPPH clinics:

  • Organ transplant recipients
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
  • Neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis)
  • Haematological malignancy diagnosed <1 year
  • Kidney disease eGFR <30
  • In addition, one (1) primary essential caregiver for an individual with an eligible highest-risk health conditions is now also eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Primary essential caregivers are individuals who provide regular and sustained assistance with personal care and/or activities of daily living.
  • Indigenous persons 16 years of age and older
  • Adults 16 years of age and older who are chronic home care recipients. 
  • Staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, retirement homes, and any residents of these settings that have not yet received a first dose of vaccine.
  • Alternative level of care patients in hospitals who have a confirmed admission to a long-term care home, retirement home or other congregate care home for seniors.
  • Residents and staff in other congregate care settings for seniors, including assisted living facilities.
 Healthcare workers

Where a health sector has been named in the priority sector, all workers in that sector are included (e.g., including students, registered volunteers, custodial, security and reception staff). This includes non-frontline healthcare workers: those working remotely, in administration, and who do not require PPE to work.

Where a non-health setting has been named, only workers providing a health service or direct patient care are included.

  • Hospital and acute care 
  • Primary care (including walk-in clinics, community health centres, and nurse-practitioner-led clinics
  • Healthcare workers in the following outpatient and ambulatory areas:
    • Developmental services
    • Mental health and addictions services
    • Campus health
    • Community diagnostic imaging
    • Nursing staff in daycares and schools
    • Dietary / nutrition
    • Independent health facilities (e.g., Opticians/Optometry, Podiatry, Audiology)
    • Naturopathy / Holistic care
    • Social work
    • Sexual health clinics
  • Healthcare workers in the following non-acute rehabilitation and therapy areas:
    • Chiropractic
    • Chronic pain clinics
    • Kinesiology
    • Occupational therapy
    • Physiotherapy
    • Psychiatry
    • Psychology
    • Psychotherapy
    • Registered massage therapy

    • Acupuncture, other therapies

  • Public health

  • Patient-facing community health care workers serving specialized populations including:

    • Needle exchange/syringe programs and treatment services

    • Community Health Centers serving disproportionally affected communities and/or communities experiencing highest burden of health, social and economic impacts from COVID-19

    • Home and community care health care workers caring for recipients of chronic homecare and seniors in congregate living facilities or providing hands-on care to COVID-19 patients in the community
  • Healthcare workers in the following outpatient and ambulatory areas:

    • Hospital-based outpatient clinics
    • Home and community care
    • Adult day programs for seniors
    • Community Based Specialty clinics, including medical and surgical specialties
    • Death investigation professionals
    • Dentistry
    • Gynecology/obstetrics, midwifery, and birth centres
    • Contract nursing agencies
    • Pharmacies
    • Assisted living, group homes, residential facilities, supportive housing
    • Correctional settings
    • Hospices and palliative care settings
    • Shelters
  • Laboratory services
  • Medical First Responders:
    • ORNGE, paramedics, firefighters, police providing medical first response
  • Faith leaders who, as part of their regular role, are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 through close contact with persons and families in the following circumstances:
    • End of life care
    • Care of the deceased, funerals, bathing, or other ceremony with direct contact with deceased persons
    • Home visits to unwell persons 
    • Pastoral care in hospitals/LTCHs/RHs or other vulnerable settings
When can I get the vaccine? How will I know when I can get it? 
  • The list of people currently eligible for vaccine at HPPH mass vaccination clinics can be found above.
  • Certain Huron-Perth pharmacies will begin offering AstraZeneca vaccine to adults 55 and over (born 1966 or earlier). Visit COVID-19 pharmacy vaccine locations for more information.
  • HPPH and partners will be sharing information widely on who is eligible to receive the vaccine and how to get it. This will include direct contact of eligible participants through organizations and facilities, as well as mass media, print, our webpage, and social media.
  • Everyone who wants to be vaccinated will eventually be vaccinated. Once HPPH announces that groups are eligible for the vaccine, they are always eligible; they will not miss their chance to be vaccinated as there will be more opportunities.

When can I get my second dose? 

The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be administered no less than 21 days apart. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine should be administered no less than 28 days apart. 

The following groups will continue to receive their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine according to the original recommended schedule:

  • Residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, Elder Care Lodges and Assisted Living facilities who are at the greatest risk of both exposure to COVID-19 and serious illness and death
  • Transplant recipients (including solid organ transplants and hematopoietic stem cell transplants)
  • Stable, active treatment for malignant hematologic disorders and non-hematologic solid tumour (excluding individuals receiving solely hormonal therapy or radiation therapy)

All other individuals (including 80+) will receive their second dose of vaccine 16 weeks or later, after their first dose.

Extension of second dose intervals:

  • The decision to extend the time interval for a second dose follows the recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), which considered evidence from recent scientific studies on efficacy and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Extending the dose interval to four months creates opportunities for protection of the entire adult population within a short timeframe.

Booking your second dose:

  • You will be able to book your second dose when clinic dates open up during the time period you are eligible. Please watch our website closer to your eligible time for second dose for available clinics.
  • You are responsible for booking your appointment for your second dose. If you can’t get an appointment on your earliest date you are eligible for a second dose, don’t worry! Book in to a clinic date closest to this date.

Second-dose calculator: Use our second-dose calculator to determine when you will be eligible for your second dose.

Vaccine waiting lists

Is there a waiting list for the vaccine? 
Huron Perth Public Health does not keep a waiting list for the vaccine.
  • Please do not call Huron Perth Public Health, your primary care provider, or the pharmacy to be put on a wait list for the vaccine.
  • HPPH and partners will be sharing information widely on who is eligible to receive the vaccine and how to get it. This will include direct contact of eligible participants through organizations and facilities, as well as mass media, print, our webpage, and social media. 
  • Please remember that there will be enough vaccine for everyone. Anyone who wants to be vaccinated will receive their opportunity to be vaccinated. We appreciate the enthusiasm and patience of those eager to receive COVID vaccine.
I consider myself part of a higher risk group, can I get on a priority list? 
Huron Perth Public Health does not keep a waiting list for the vaccine.
  • The local sequencing plan for vaccine distribution is based on the provincial distribution plan and ethical framework.
  • As more vaccines become available, groups will be contacted and eligibility will be announced widely.
I am not eligible yet. Can I pre-register for an appointment at an HPPH clinic?
  • Currently in Huron Perth we are not accepting pre-registration for vaccine appointments. Please watch our website for information as additional groups become eligible. 
  • You can not register for your vaccine early, you must wait until we have announced you are eligible to book your appointment. You must be part of a currently eligible group to book your appointment.
  • Timelines for Phase 2, and onwards, are approximate. We will share information widely as more groups become eligible.

Vaccine safety & efficacy

Which types of COVID-19 vaccines are available in Huron Perth? Which should I get?

The vaccine currently used at community clinics in Huron Perth is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. A very limited supply of Moderna vaccine has been distributed to Huron Perth Primary Care Providers to vaccinate eligible populations. Primary care is calling patients for Moderna vaccine appointments and are asking that patients please do not call their clinic for appointments.

Certain Huron-Perth pharmacies will begin offering AstraZeneca vaccine to adults 55 and over (born 1966 or earlier). Visit COVID-19 pharmacy vaccine locations for more information.

All vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe and effective. We encourage you to get the type of vaccine that is available to you, when you are eligible to receive the vaccine.

All COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in Canada are safe and effective. 

For information on the various vaccines authorized for use in Canada please see the Public Health Agency of Canada links below (including information on how the vaccines work, ingredients, possible side effects, and vaccine safety).

Currently, the vaccines authorized for use in Canada are:

Are the vaccines safe?
Yes. Only vaccines that Health Canada determines to be safe and effective will be approved for use in Canada and available in Ontario. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety. Also check out Ten FAQs about COVID-19 Vaccinations by The Primary Care Physician Advisory Council (Huron and Perth Area Ontario Health Team).
Should I get the vaccine with my specific health situation (e.g. allergy, chronic condition)?

Public health measures after vaccination

At the current time, everyone who has received a first dose or both doses of COVID-19 vaccine must continue to follow all public health measures. This includes public health measures included in legislation, such as wearing a face covering in an indoor business or organization, and isolating when told to by public health.

What if I experience side effects right after my vaccination that could also be COVID-19 symptoms?

Common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • pain, redness, swelling at the site where the needle was given
  • tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and low fever

After vaccination, if you have side effects that are the same as COVID-19 symptoms (including tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and low fever), you must stay home and away from others (isolate), even if you think the side effects are from the vaccine.

If your side effects start within 24 hours and go away within 48 hours after the side effects start, you don’t have to keep isolating and you can go back to your normal activities. But if you’ve been told to isolate for other reasons, you must keep isolating.

If your side effects do not resolve and/or you have other symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, etc.), seek assessment, which may include testing.

Always, if you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of whether you have received the vaccine or not, you must continue to follow public health measures and regulations. This includes staying home if you are feeling ill, and following the recommendations on the provincial COVID-19 screening tool, which may include getting tested. No vaccine prevents 100% of infections.

Why do I need to continue to follow public health measures even though I’m vaccinated?

Vaccine protects you, but maybe not others

  • Studies of COVID-19 vaccines show that they are very effective at preventing people from becoming sick with COVID-19. Although all authorized vaccines have been shown to offer protection against symptomatic confirmed COVID-19, experts are gathering and analyzing evidence to see if the vaccines prevent people from showing no symptoms and spreading COVID-19.
  • This means the vaccines will protect those who receive it from getting very sick with COVID-19, but it is possible that someone who has been vaccinated could still pass the virus on to others.
  • Regardless of your vaccination status, it’s important to continue following public health measures to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 at this time.
  • Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change the recommendations everyone should take to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
  • You may have seen that some regions, especially in countries who have been able to vaccinate more of their population, have started to change their recommendations. Canada is not there yet and the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) in Canada recommends that all individuals continue to practice recommended public health measures, whether they are vaccinated or not.
  • Also, even after completing a full series, no vaccine works perfectly – that means that a small proportion of people will not develop an immune response. As long as COVID is still circulating at high levels in Ontario, it is important to continue public health measures, even if you are vaccinated.

Rules are still in place

  • Current public health recommendations haven’t changed. Provincial legislation, local Class orders and instructions regarding wearing a face covering, physical distancing and/or isolating when told to by public health still stand.
  • Vaccination status does not qualify as an exemption to wearing a face covering in the provincial regulations.
  • Huron Perth Public Health has a Section 22 Class Order in place to ensure Huron-Perth residents who have been told to self-isolate by public health or a health care provider are doing so. Vaccination status does not exempt someone from this order.
  • Basically, at this time, those who have been partially or fully vaccinated should continue to follow public health measures: staying home when ill, screening for symptoms, wearing a face covering, maintaining 6 feet/2 metres distance from those not in their household, and washing hands frequently.

Vaccinations mean the beginning of the end of the pandemic, but we are not at the very end just yet.

Do I still need to stay home if ill, even after I’ve received my vaccination? 
  • While protection does start with a first dose, vaccines that require two doses, require both doses to reach maximum effectiveness. It is still possible to come in contact with the COVID-19 virus and develop symptoms if you have received your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. It is also possible you were exposed to the virus before your body developed some immunity from receiving the vaccine. Also, even after completing a full series, no vaccine works perfectly – that means that a small proportion of people will not develop an immune response. As long as COVID is still circulating at high levels in Ontario, it is important to continue public health measures, even if you are vaccinated.
  • Additionally, although all authorized vaccines have been shown to offer protection against symptomatic confirmed COVID-19, experts are gathering and analyzing evidence to see if the vaccines prevent people from spreading COVID-19.
  • This means that someone who has received a COVID-19 vaccine could potentially still spread the virus to others. Regardless of your vaccination status, during this time it’s important to continue following public health measures to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
  • If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of whether you have received the vaccine or not, you must continue to follow public health measures and regulations. This includes staying home if you are feeling ill, and following the recommendations on the provincial COVID-19 screening tool. 
Do I still need to complete screening before work, school, etc., after I’ve received my vaccination? 
  • Yes. You need to complete COVID-19 screening before work, school etc. regardless of whether you have received a first dose of your vaccine.
  • Vaccines that require two doses, require both doses to reach maximum effectiveness. It is still possible to come in contact with the COVID-19 virus and develop symptoms if you have received your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. It is also possible you were exposed to the virus before your body developed some immunity from receiving the vaccine.
  • Although all authorized vaccines have been shown to offer protection against symptomatic confirmed COVID-19, experts are gathering and analyzing evidence to see if the vaccines prevent people from showing no symptoms and spreading COVID-19.
  • This means that someone who has received an authorized COVID-19 vaccine could potentially still spread the virus to others.
  • Also, even after completing a full series, no vaccine works perfectly – that means that a small proportion of people will not develop an immune response. As long as COVID is still circulating at high levels in Ontario, it is important to continue public health measures, even if you are vaccinated. 
Do I still need to wear a face covering after I’ve received my vaccination? 
  • Yes. Everyone must to continue following all public health measures, including wearing a face covering after you have received your vaccine. This includes all healthcare workers.
  • Studies of COVID-19 vaccines have shown that they are very effective at preventing people from becoming sick with COVID-19. However, right now we do not have enough information to know how likely it is that someone who has been given a COVID-19 vaccine could develop an asymptomatic (no symptoms) COVID-19 infection and pass it to others.  
  • This means the vaccines will protect those who receive it from getting sick, but it is possible that someone who has been vaccinated could still carry the virus pass the virus on to others. Regardless of your vaccination status, at this time it’s important to continue following public health measures to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 for the time-being.
  • Also, even after completing a full series, no vaccine works perfectly – that means that a small proportion of people will not develop an immune response. As long as COVID is still circulating at high levels in Ontario, it is important to continue public health measures, even if you are vaccinated.
  • Please note that the requirement for face coverings in indoor public spaces is in provincial regulations, and vaccination status is not listed as an exemption from wearing a face covering.
Do I still need to maintain 6 feet/2 metres distance from those outside my household after my vaccination?
  • Yes. Everyone needs to continue following all public health measures, including maintaining a 6 feet distance from anyone who does not live in your household, after you have received your vaccine.
  • Although all authorized vaccines have been shown to offer protection against symptomatic confirmed COVID-19, experts are gathering and analyzing evidence to see if the vaccines prevent people from spreading COVID-19.
  • This means that someone who has received a COVID-19 vaccine could potentially still spread the virus to others. Regardless of your vaccination status, during this time it’s important to continue following public health measures to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
  • Also, even after completing a full series, no vaccine works perfectly – that means that a small proportion of people will not develop an immune response. As long as COVID is still circulating at high levels in Ontario, it is important to continue public health measures, even if you are vaccinated.
I’ve received my vaccination. Do I still need to isolate if I’m identified as a high-risk contact OR if someone in my household is identified as a high-risk contact?
  • Yes, you still need to isolate if you have been identified as a high-risk contact, or if someone in your household has been identified as a high-risk contact.
  • Studies of COVID-19 vaccines have shown that they are very effective at preventing people from becoming sick with COVID-19. However, experts are gathering and analyzing evidence to see if the vaccines prevent people from spreading COVID-19.
  • This means that someone who has received a COVID-19 vaccine could potentially still spread the virus to others. Until we know more about this, it’s important to continue to self-isolate if you are a high-risk contact to protect others and prevent spread in the community.
  • Also, even after completing a full series, no vaccine works perfectly – that means that a small proportion of people will not develop an immune response. As long as COVID is still circulating at high levels in Ontario, it is important to continue public health measures, even if you are vaccinated.
  • Please note that there is a Section 22 Order issued by the Huron Perth Medical Officer of Health to ensure Huron-Perth residents who have been told to self-isolate by public health or a health care provider are doing so. Vaccination status does not exempt someone from this order. 
Why are some areas in the United States changing their public health measures? 
  • Regional regulations depend on many factors, including how the virus is spreading in communities, number of people vaccinated (with first dose or fully vaccinated), and what we currently know about effectiveness of vaccine from preventing transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
  • At this time, the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) in Canada, recommends that all individuals, whether vaccinated or not, continue to practice recommended public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Public health measures will continue to be in place until we know more about how long the protection given by COVID-19 vaccinations lasts, and how well COVID-19 vaccines help to prevent asymptomatic infection and reduce transmission of COVID-19. 

Remember! At this time, those who have been partially or fully vaccinated should continue to follow public health measures: staying home when ill, screening for symptoms, wearing a face covering, maintaining 6 feet/2 metres distance from those not in their household, and washing hands frequently. Vaccinations mean the beginning of the end of the pandemic, but we are not at the end just yet!