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
Appointments may be made but are not required for first and second doses before coming to a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in York Region. Walk-ins for first and second doses will be accepted. Appointments are required children aged 5 to 11, for third doses or booster doses. For the most up-to-date community, mobile and pop-up clinic locations and to book an appointment 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 and should be supported by consulting with a health care provider.
For individuals 12 years of age and older: You 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.
For children aged five (or turning five in 2021) to 11: You can receive the paediatric COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before or after receiving another vaccine, (including the flu shot). With parental consent, there may be circumstances when a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine need to be given at a shorter interval; a health care provider can help with this decision.
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 you will receive your vaccine, have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 do not attend. Contact the location in which your appointment is booked to reschedule. You may receive a COVID-19 vaccine once your illness has resolved.
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)
- 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 aged 12 years of age and over do not require a prent or legal guardian to provide consent for vaccination. Children 5 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.
To ensure all appointments are available to those who are eligible, 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.
Those 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.
For youth 12 to 17 years of age who identify as a person with a disability, we recommend attending the vaccination clinic with a parent, guardian, or support person.
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+ who require transportation assistance for a vaccine appointment can call YRT Mobility On-Request directly at 1-866-744-1119 to arrange a ride. 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 and wearing a mask or face covering.
4. What to expect when you arrive
- It is important to arrive on time if you have an appointment; please do not arrive more than 10 minutes early or late
- Be prepared to spend approximately 45 to 60 minutes from the time you arrive at the clinic to the time you leave
- When you arrive, you will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and asked to register at the check-in station
- Wear your mask, clean/sanitize your hands and practice physical distancing from others (at least 2 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 15 minutes (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
- mRNA COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. Third doses and booster doses are offered to select eligible groups
- 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 first, second and/or third booster doses.
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 measures
Continue to follow public health measures 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 appointments will be posted on york.ca/covid19vaccine
- COVID-19 Vaccine quick facts
- COVID-19 Vaccines – What you need to know
- COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines fact sheet and after care
- COVID-19 Tips for vaccinating children age 5 — 11
- COVID-19 Video: What You Need to Know
- 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
- COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Youth – Ministry of Health Poster – English
- COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Youth – Ministry of Health Poster – 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.