About the vaccine

If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, including eligibility and timing, you can find out more below. You can also: 

  • Contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 seven days a week from 8am to 8pm
  • Call Huron Perth Public Health: 1-888-221-2133 
  • Book an appointment with the VaxFacts Clinic to speak with a physician or call 416-438-2911 ext. 5738
  • Contact your health care provider

Residents who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine can book an appointment at an HPPH community clinic or through select pharmacies in Huron Perth. Vaccinations may also be available through your primary care provider.

For a list of local vaccination opportunities, upcoming clinic dates/locations, and walk-in opportunities, visit our Get a vaccination page.

All residents are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they can, and to receive their vaccine at the recommended intervals, to ensure maximum protection against COVID-19. To learn more, visit COVID-19 vaccines.

Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine

Everyone aged six months and older is eligible to receive a primary series of COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario (children must be at least 6 months old at the time of vaccination). Individuals ages 5 and older are also eligible to receive booster doses to strengthen and provide longer lasting protection against COVID-19.

For a complete list of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and recommended timing between doses, see our Get a Vaccination page.

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination

Approved Vaccines

Learn about the approved COVID-19 vaccines from Health Canada, including how they work, how they are administered, ingredients, allergies, possible side effects and more:

*At this time, only Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are available at HPPH COVID-19 community vaccine clinics.

To inquire about receiving the Novavax vaccine, please call the Middlesex London Health Unit; to book an appointment in London, please call the MLHU booking line at 226-289-3560.

Booster Dose Information

A booster dose is an additional dose of vaccine that helps to restore protection against COVID-19 after immunity may have decreased. All eligible individuals are strongly encouraged to get their booster dose to keep up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Use the booster dose recommendation tool to find out when you should get a booster. 

Children ages 6 months to 5 years

Children in this age group are not eligible for a booster dose. 

Ages 5+ 

Individuals aged 5 and older may be eligible to receive a bivalent booster dose at a recommended interval if at least 6 months (168 days) have passed since their primary series, previous booster or confirmed COVID-19 infection. 

NACI's recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses in children 5 to 11 years currently recommends one booster dose after the primary series for individuals 5 to 11. However, children at high risk of severe COVID-19 who have received a booster dose with the original Pfizer monovalent vaccine, may be given a bivalent booster at the recommended interval. 

Individuals 5 years and older who have not received a booster dose after September 1, 2022, are recommended to receive another dose. Your booster dose must be at least 6 months (168 days) after a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or confirmed COVID-19 infection. If a booster dose has been received on or after September 1, 2022 (either monovalent or bivalent), there is no current evidence that substantiates the need for an additional dose at this time. 

As of April 6, 2023 individuals in the following high-risk groups are recommended to receive a spring booster dose if at least six months (168 days) have passed since their last dose or confirmed COVID-19 infection: 

  • 65 years and older
  • Residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes, elder care lodges, and other congregate living settings for seniors 
  • Individuals 18 years and older living in congregate care settings for people with complex medical needs 
  • Pregnant individuals 
  • Individuals 18 years and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised
  • Individuals aged 55 years and older who identify as First Nations, Inuit, or Metis and their non-Indigenous household members aged 55 years and older. 

In Ontario, individuals outside of the above groups may opt to receive another booster dose with informed consent, if at least 6 months has passed since their previous dose or confirmed COVID-19 infection. 

For more information and complete list of eligibility see: 

Primary Series Information

First and second doses 

Everyone aged six months and older is eligible to receive a first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario. For most individuals, two doses of COVID-19 vaccine are needed to complete a primary series. If children aged six months to under five years receive the paediatric Pfizer vaccine, they will get three doses as their primary series. An initial vaccine series, or primary series, is the number of vaccine doses needed to develop a strong initial immune response. 

  • To receive a vaccine, children must be at least six months of age or older on the day of their appointment. 

Please ensure the minimum time interval has passed between your first and second dose before booking your second dose appointment. 

  • The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) strongly recommends an optimal interval of eight weeks between first and second doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series for all eligible age groups. This will provide you with increased and longer-lasting protection from the vaccine. Individuals who wish to get their second dose at a minimum interval (e.g. 28 days) as applicable can do so with informed consent. For more information please see the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 vaccines webpage or COVID-19 vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide Table 1

Immunocompromised Primary Series 

For individuals ages six months and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, a three-dose primary series is recommended. Individuals who are immunocompromised should get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine eight weeks (56 days) after their second dose to complete their primary series. 

If you believe you are eligible for a three-dose primary series, it is recommended to speak with your health care provider if you have questions. Before receiving your vaccine, you will be asked to attest to your medical condition. 

Those eligible for a third dose as part of a three-dose primary vaccine series include: 

  • Individuals receiving dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) 
  • Recipients of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy 
  • Individuals receiving active treatment (e.g., chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy) for solid tumour or hematologic malignancies 
  • Recipients of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy) 
  • Individuals with moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • HIV with AIDS-defining illness in the last 12 months before starting vaccine series, or severe immune compromise with CD4 count <200 cells/uL or CD4 percentage <15%, or without HIV viral suppression
  • Individuals receiving active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20, and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biological agents that are significantly immunosuppressive

For more information, see the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance (a list of immunosuppressive medications can be found under Appendix J).

Re-Vaccination with a new COVID-19 Primary Series for Specific Post-Transplantation Groups

The province recommends re-vaccination with a new COVID-19 vaccine primary series post-transplantation for individuals who have received hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT), hematopoietic cell transplants (HCT) (autologous or allogeneic), and recipients for CAR-T-cell therapy, due to the loss of immunity following therapy or transplant. Please speak with your health care provider to determine the optimal timing for re-immunization.

Information about the bivalent vaccine

Bivalent vaccines target two different viruses or two different strains of the same virus. The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is an updated version of the COVID-19 vaccine that targets the original COVID-19 virus and the Omicron variant. Original COVID-19 vaccines are monovalent meaning they target only the original virus. Bivalent vaccines are offered as a booster dose after completing a primary vaccine series. Evidence shows that all the Omicron-containing mRNA vaccines induce a stronger and more robust immune response are expected to provide improved protection against Omicron subvariants compared to the original mRNA vaccines. They also help restore immune protection that has decreased since previous vaccination.

All Ontarians aged 5 and older can receive a bivalent booster dose six months after completing a primary series or a COVID-19 infection. HPPH will continue to have the monovalent (original) vaccines available for those who need a primary series and/or prefer a monovalent booster. 

For more information see: 

COVID-19 Vaccination for Children 6 months to 11 years and Youth 12 to 17 years

Not all children have only mild symptoms when they contract COVID-19. Being vaccinated can help improve the immune response to COVID-19 infection and lower the chances of severe illness, hospitalization, and post COVID-19 symptoms if your child dose become infected with COVID-19. Vaccination is the best and safest way to give an extra layer of protection for all children, including those aged six months to under 5 years. 

Health Canada has approved the paediatric Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) and the paediatric Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccines for use in children ages 6 months and older. Pfizer is the only vaccine that is approved for youth aged 12-17. Vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada have all received a thorough and independent scientific review of the research and have been determined safe and effective. Learn more about Health Canada's approval of vaccines for children ages 6 months to under 5 years. 

It is recommended that children and youth ages 5 and older receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine; with informed consent, including awareness of the possible elevated risk of myocarditis/pericarditis, children ages 5 to 11 may receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 

For optimal and longest lasting protection, it is recommended that infants, children, and youth receive their primary series at least 8 weeks (56 days) apart. 

Individuals ages 5 and older are eligible to receive a bivalent booster dose at a recommended interval of 6 months after their last dose. COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccines target the original COVID-19 virus and provide better protection against other variants currently circulating. 

It is important for infants, children, and youth to say up to date on their vaccinations, including booster doses to have the best protection against COVID-19. 

For more information, please speak with your health care provider or call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. 

Additional resources for COVID-19 vaccination for children and youth: 

Informed Consent

Anyone getting the COVID-19 vaccine, including youth ages 12 to 17, must provide informed consent. Informed consent means that you understand: 

  • what the vaccine involves (for example, how it is given and what possible side effects there may be)
  • why it is recommended
  • the risks and benefits of getting or not getting it

If someone is unable to provide informed consent to receive the vaccine (for example, for medical reasons), they will need consent from someone who can make a decision on their behalf, such as a parent or legal guardian. We encourage parents and guardians to discuss vaccination with their children prior to attending a clinic. 

Should I get vaccinated/get a booster if I already had COVID-19?

If you've had COVID-19, you should still be vaccinated for protection from reinfection or severe outcomes. While infection alone provides some protection, vaccination after infection helps improve the immune response and provides better and longer-lasting protection. 

Evidence indicates that waiting a period of time after a COVID-19 infection before getting a booster dose can help improve the immune response. 

If you had COVID-19, you should wait the following intervals after symptom onset or a positive test before receiving your next dose: 

  • If completing your primary series: 
    • two months (56 days) if you are not immunocompromised and have no history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)
    • one to two months (28-56 days) if you are immunocompromised and have no history of MIS-C
    • if you have a history of MIS-C, until clinical recovery has been achieved or up to 90 days since the onset, whichever is longer, regardless of immunocompromised status
  • If getting a booster dose:
    • at least six months (168 days)

Discuss the best timing for you with a health care provider. It can depend on whether your next dose is part of your primary series or a booster dose and on your health status.

For more information: 

Timing with other vaccinations

For individuals 6 months and older, COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time as, or at any time before or after, non-COVID-19 vaccines, with the exception of Imvamune (mpox vaccine) as well as tuberculosis skin testing. 

Speak to your health care provider if you have questions. 

Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine or booster dose if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • COVID-19 vaccination (including getting any eligible booster doses) is strongly recommended before becoming pregnant or in any trimester of pregnancy. Getting vaccinated, as soon as possible, is the safest choice to protect yourself and your baby from the known risks of COVID-19 infection. 
  • The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) recommend individuals trying to become pregnant, are pregnant, or breastfeeding should receive all COVID-19 vaccination doses, including a booster dose, when eligible. Pregnant individuals who are unvaccinated are at risk for severe COVID-19 complications. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine can prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and complications from COVID-19 infection.
  • If you get vaccinated while breastfeeding, the vaccine itself will not transfer into breastmilk, but studies suggest that the antibodies you produce following vaccination will, which may protect your baby from COVID-19.

For more information to help you make an informed choice about whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine, see: 

Make sure you understand as much as you can about COVID-19, vaccines, and boosters. Speak with a trusted source, such as your obstetrician, midwife, family doctor or nurse, or book an appointment with VaxFacts for a phone consult with a doctor about any questions that you might have. 

What are side effects of the vaccine?

As with any vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine is no different and you may experience some common, mild side effects after your vaccination which may include: 

  • pain at the injection site
  • redness, swelling
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • muscle or joint pain
  • chills
  • fever
  • upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea

Serious side effects are rare. However, if you develop any of the following signs or symptoms seek medical attention right away or call 9-1-1: 

  • hives
  • swelling of the face or mouth
  • difficulty breathing
  • very pale colour and serious drowsiness
  • high fever (over 40C)
  • convulsions or seizures
  • other serious symptoms (e.g., prolonged "pins and needles" or numbness) that could be an allergic reaction

Seek medical attention if you develop chest pain, shortness of breath and/or palpitations (pounding or racing heart), after receiving the vaccine. If you are concerned about any reactions you experience after receiving the vaccine, contact your health care provider. 

Although very rare, there have been reports of myocarditis and/or pericarditis after immunization with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in Canada and internationally for ages 12 and older. For most people, the heart inflammation is mild and goes away within days. 

Out of an abundance of caution and following a comprehensive review, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated and approved its recommendations on the use of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use among individuals aged 12 years and older in the context of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination. For individuals aged 12 to 29, the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is recommended to start or continue the mRNA primary vaccine series to minimize myocarditis/pericarditis risk. Should individuals aged 18 to 29 wish to receive the Moderna vaccine, they can continue to do so with informed consent.

It is also important to note that the COVID-19 virus itself can cause inflammation, which can include myocarditis or pericarditis. The benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks.

Do I still need to stay home if I'm ill, even if I'm vaccinated?


Visit the provincial webpage, Protection from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses to learn how to protect yourself, your family, and your community from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. 

If you think you may have COVID-19 or were exposed to the virus, please see the following provincial resources for more information: 

If you have questions related to COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines, please call the Provincial Testing and Isolation Information line at 1-888-777-0730 (available Monday to Friday 8:30am-4:30pm).

How do I keep myself healthy? 

To reduce your risk and prevent getting sick, there are several actions to take: 

  • Stay home when sick
  • Get vaccinated and stay up-to-date with vaccines
  • Wear a mask, especially in indoor public settings and considering wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings
  • Avoid crowded indoor spaces, choose well ventilated spaces when possible
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Screen yourself and loved ones for any symptoms and use COVID-19 rapid tests
  • Improve ventilation and filtration in your home and maintain HVAC systems
  • Seek out COVID-19 antiviral treatments, if eligible

Each of these actions can be thought of as "layers" and each layer adds protection. The more layers an individual uses, the more protected they are. For more information about protecting yourself, your family, and community visit Protection from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

Travel Information

If you are travelling internationally, check to see if there are any COVID-19 restrictions or requirements in your destination country. 

Visit these webpages from the Government of Canada for information and advice about travelling outside of the country and returning to Canada: 

How do I get a copy of my proof of vaccination/vaccine receipt?

After your vaccination, if you provided an email address, your proof of vaccination will be emailed to you and will be accessible for 5 days. If this has expired or you never received an email: 

  • Visit the province's Proof of COVID-19 vaccination webpage
  • Call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre: 1-833-943-3900
  • Call Huron Perth Public Health's COVID Intake Line: 1-888-221-2133 

For more information see Vaccination Proof and Certificates.

If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of the Province of Ontario, you must complete the COVID-19 Out-of-Province Dose Documentation form prior to booking an appointment for your next dose or obtain your proof of vaccination certificate.