Preparing for your COVID-19 Vaccine
If you are about to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in York Region, you are likely eager to know what to expect. This information will help you prepare.
1. Before you attend a vaccination clinic
For the most up-to-date walk-in and appointment availability at community, mobile and pop-up clinic locations visit york.ca/covid19vaccine
Some individuals are unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for medical reasons. Ontario’s Ministry of Health issued guidance for medical exemptions to COVID-19 vaccination. True medical exemptions are rare; please consult with a health care provider.
All individuals six months of age and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as, or any time before or after, any other vaccines. There is no need to delay COVID-19 vaccination or to wait to receive any other vaccine.
2. Screen for symptoms of COVID-19
Screen yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 before you visit a COVID-19 vaccine clinic. If you are feeling unwell on the day of your vaccine appointment, have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19, please stay home. Provincial guidelines recommend that you stay home until all of the following apply:
- your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if you had nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea)
- you do not have a fever
- you do not develop any additional symptoms
Cancel or reschedule your appointment online at york.ca/covid19vaccine or by calling Access York 1-877-464-9675. You may receive a COVID-19 vaccine once your feel better.
Those who have completed a primary series (two doses) of vaccine who get sick with COVID-19 must wait three months from the start of symptoms or a positive test to receive a booster dose.
Those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated (and have not completed a primary, two-dose vaccine series) who get sick with COVID-19 must wait two months (56 days) from the start of symptoms or a positive test to get their vaccine. For those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, the minimum recommended wait time is one to two months (28 to 56 days).
3. Get ready for your COVID-19 vaccine
- Dress appropriately for the weather
- Take any regular medication and eat meals as usual
- Wear a loose-fitting shirt that allows easy access to your upper arm
- Bring your health card and other form of proof of eligibility (ID with date of birth, address, workplace ID) as required
- Bring assistive devices as needed (e.g., scooter, wheelchair, cane)
- Bring reading glasses and/or hearing aid, if required
- Bring a mask or face covering
- Limited staff are available to assist residents during your appointment; plan to bring a support person if required
If you or your child are hesitant about receiving your COVID-19 vaccine, you can find helpful guides to prepare for a more positive vaccination experience and to reduce being nervous about needles in the resources section below.
Individuals 12 years of age and over do not require a parent or legal guardian to provide consent for vaccination. Children six months to 11 years of age require parent or legal guardian consent. If a child does not have the capacity to provide their own consent and a parent or legal guardian is unable to accompany them to their appointment, the parent can complete and sign a consent form and send it with the child to the vaccine clinic.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to speak to their child about COVID-19 vaccines including the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated.
We encourage residents to book only one appointment per person and cancel any appointments they do not intend to use.
If you require an accommodation, please call Access York at 1-877-464-9675, TTY: 1-866-512-6228 (for deaf and hard of hearing) or email @email Translation is available at all vaccination clinic sites.
Individuals with accommodations can attend their appointment with a support person. Support items such as headphones and electronic devices are also highly encouraged at our vaccination clinics.
All York Region Public Health vaccination clinics are accessible.
Local and rapid transit services are available in all nine York Region municipalities. To learn more and to plan your trip, visit yrt.ca or call 1-866-668-3978
Residents 65 years of age and older who require transportation assistance for a vaccine appointment can call YRT Mobility On-Request directly at 1-866-744-1119 to arrange a ride. Trips must be within five kilometres of your home. Interpretation services are available.
There are also other transportation services offered by community organizations such as (CHATS, Carefirst, Routes, Pinkcars.ca) you may be eligible for. For a complete list of community transportation options, call 211 or visit 211central.ca
When travelling on public transportation, please practice public health safety measures such as hand washing/sanitizing. Masks are strongly encouraged on YRT local and Viva rapid transit services. Masks are required on YRT Mobility On-Request rides.
4. What to expect when you arrive
- It is important to arrive on time for your appointment; please do not arrive more than 10 minutes early or late
- Be prepared to spend approximately 30 to 45 minutes from the time you arrive at the clinic to the time you leave
- When you arrive, you will register at the check-in station
- Wear your mask, clean/sanitize your hands and practice physical distancing from others (at least two metres) while at the clinic
- You and your support person (if required) will move through a coordinated flow process at the clinic, which may require a fair amount of walking
- Staff will be located throughout the clinic to help direct you where to go. If you require an accommodation, just ask one of the friendly staff
- You will be required to wait for a recovery period (up to 30 minutes for those with a history of severe allergies) after getting your vaccine to ensure you are feeling well. Notify clinic staff right away if you feel unwell while waiting
- For most people, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines require two doses in the primary series. Immunocompromised individuals and children six months to four years of age who receive the Paediatric Pfizer vaccine require a three-dose primary series
- Everyone five years of age and older is eligible for a booster dose; review booster eligibility and book an appointment at york.ca/covid19vaccine
- You will be provided with an email record of your COVID-19 immunization
5. After your vaccine
Common side effects
COVID-19 vaccines may cause side effects for some people; most are mild or moderate and typically subside in a few days. These might include soreness at the injection site, body chills, feeling tired or feverish. Some symptoms can be part of the body’s response to developing immunity.
Report serious side effects
Serious side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine are rare; however, if you are severely unwell call 911 and seek medical attention right away, or if you develop any of the following adverse reactions within three days of receiving the vaccine:
- Swelling of the face or mouth
- Trouble breathing
- Very pale colour and serious drowsiness
- High fever (over 40°C)
- Convulsions or seizures
- Other serious symptoms
There have been rare reports of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart) following vaccination with an mRNA vaccine:
- Cases were more commonly reported after the second dose
- Symptoms typically began within several days after vaccination
- Cases were mainly adolescents and young adults
- Cases were more often males compared to females
- Most cases experienced mild or temporary illness, responded well to rest and conservative treatment and symptoms improved quickly
These reports are rare. If you have experienced non-vaccine related myocarditis in the past, or after receiving a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, please speak to your health care provider to determine your options for vaccination.
Seek medical attention if you develop chest pain, shortness of breath or palpitations following immunization (symptoms of myocarditis or pericarditis).
If you are concerned about any reactions you experience after receiving the vaccine, contact your health care provider.
Continue to follow all public health recommendations
Continue to follow public health recommendations even after getting vaccinated: practice physical distancing, wear a mask when required, wash your hands frequently and stay home if you are unwell.
Updated information and clinic locations are available at york.ca/covid19vaccine
- COVID-19 Booster Fact Sheet
- COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines fact sheet and after care
- COVID-19 Tips for vaccinating children age 5 — 11
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Guides to help prepare for a more positive vaccination experience to reduce being nervous about needles
- COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Youth – Ministry of Health Fact Sheet (English)
- COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Youth – Ministry of Health Fact Sheet (French)
Help Us Help You
We continue to ask residents not to engage in any disrespectful behaviour toward our staff. Any form of harassment or abuse will not be tolerated.
Residents who continue to exhibit abusive or aggressive behaviour toward our staff or repeatedly harass any employee may have their telephone call terminated, may be asked to leave the clinic (without a vaccine), fined or even face police charges.
York Region employees remain committed to serving our diverse community by demonstrating integrity, commitment, accountability, respect and excellence. We appreciate your efforts in communicating to our employees in a respectful manner. Our dedicated staff are working to make sure people stay healthy and get the information they need for vaccines when it is their turn.
We know this is a stressful time for everyone and we ask our residents to continue to be respectful and work together with us.