The Regional Municipality Of York

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COVID-19 Vaccinations in York Region

Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect you and those around you from serious illnesses.

Vaccines are tightly regulated and closely monitored in Canada. Only vaccines that are safe and effective will be approved for use in Canada.

Last updated: February 21, 2021

Provincial Vaccination Distribution Program

The Province has developed a three-phased Vaccine Distribution Implementation Plan:

Phase 1
January to March 2021

Long-term care homes and retirement homes, congregate care settings, health care workers identified as high priority by the Ministry of Health, remote Indigenous communities and adults over 80+

View full list

Phase 2
April to July 2021

Older adults, people who live and work in high-risk congregate settings, front-line essential workers, people with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers and communities facing barriers

View full list

Phase 3
August 2021 and beyond

Remaining Ontarians in the general population who will to be vaccinated; Ethical framework and data will be used to identify priority populations in this phase based on vaccine supply

View full list

Vaccine implementation program details and timelines are estimated and subject to change based on the ongoing direction of the Ministry of Health.

The daily and the total number of COVID-19 vaccines administered is currently reported by the Ministry of Health and can be found on the Province’s website


York Region’s Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Program

York Region continues to implement a flexible hybrid model for vaccine distribution and administration. This includes multiple fixed clinics sites in various sizes, drive-through and mobile clinics.

Sites were chosen based on accessibility criteria, population distribution and neighborhoods of vulnerability. As more vaccine becomes available, these clinics will be scaled up to accommodate vaccinating a greater number of residents.


What can you do while waiting for the vaccine?

The most important thing someone can do while waiting for a vaccine is continuing to follow public health guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19. When a large percentage of the population, is protected against the virus, the spread of the virus will slow. This is known as herd immunity. Until it’s communicated otherwise, please continue to:

  • Follow the public health guidelines in York Region
  • Physically distance of at least 2-metres from others
  • Wear a mask in indoor public settings and on transit
  • Practice proper hand hygiene
  • Practice proper respiratory etiquette
  • Avoid travelling to lower transmission areas
  • Download the COVID Alert app
For more information about COVID-19, visit our other associated resources.

Vaccinating children

At first, COVID-19 vaccines are not expected to be available for anyone under the age of 16.

Early clinical trials focused on adults only to test the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. The groups recommended to receive the vaccines could change as Health Canada receives more information from clinical trials.


Vaccine Administration: Roles and Responsibilities

Canada

  • Approve vaccines for use in Canada
  • Procure vaccines nationally
  • Distribute vaccines to Provinces/Territories
  • Provide National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendations on prioritization of vaccine administration to Provinces/Territories
  • Provide supplies in some cases

Ontario

  • Receive vaccine from Federal Government
  • Prioritize rollout across Ontario, including who gets the vaccine, when and where
  • Distribute vaccine to public health units and local hospitals
  • Responsible for vaccine tracking and health-care records management
  • Provide supplies in some cases

York Region

  • In collaboration with the York Region COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, provide vaccination program support and administer vaccines to prioritized groups
  • Vaccine storage and Regional distribution
  • Liaison role with Ministry of Health
  • Liaison role between Ontario Health and long-term care homes, retirement homes and congregate living settings
  • Oversight and leadership in the implementation of public health mass immunization clinics to administer COVID-19 vaccines to priority groups under the provincial vaccine plan (March 2021)

Local Hospitals

  • Receive, store vaccines
  • Administer vaccine through hospital clinics to health care workers, essential caregivers and employees of long-term care and retirement homes

Long Term Care homes, Retirement homes, congregate living settings

  • Long-term care homes receive, handle and administer vaccines to residents, health-care workers and essential caregivers, in partnership with Public Health
  • Retirement homes and congregate settings work with Public Health and local hospitals to coordinate administration of vaccines to residents, staff and essential caregivers
  • Support residents, families and substitute decision-makers on consent to receive the vaccine

Types of COVID-19 vaccines

We are committed to helping you make an informed choice about COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccines are an important part of overall health and disease prevention. Please see below for information on each COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved by Health Canada.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine

Developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech, this vaccine has been approved by Health Canada, paving the way for vaccinations to commence in Canada.

Health Canada has approved the vaccine for use in people 16 and older. This vaccine requires two doses, with the second dose administered at least 21 days after the first.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine: What you should know

Moderna Vaccine

Developed by Moderna Therapeutics Inc., this vaccine has been approved by Health Canada, making it the second vaccine to be approved for use in Canada.

Health Canada has approved the vaccine for use in people 18 and older. This vaccine requires two doses, with the second dose administered 28 days after the first.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: What you should know

Other Vaccines

You learn more about other vaccines being reviewed by Health Canada here.


    Fraudulent COVID-19 vaccines and treatments

    York Region Public Health and York Regional Police are warning residents about the risks of buying COVID-19 vaccines sold on the internet or from unauthorized sources as they are counterfeit and may pose serious health risks.

    • Do not buy or use COVID-19 vaccines sold on the internet or from unauthorized sources as they are counterfeit, may pose risks to health, and are ineffective at protecting an individual from the COVID-19 virus.
    • The only way to access safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is through clinics organized or endorsed by your local public health authority, in collaboration with Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments.
    • Consult a health care professional if you have any concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Report any information on the sale or advertising of potential counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines to York Regional Police

    Visit reliable and trusted sources of information, such as:


    Frequently asked questions

    About the vaccine

    Are COVID-19 vaccines effective?

    After two doses, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine report being approximately 95% effective. It can take up to 7 to 14 days after your second dose to achieve this protection.

    Additional vaccines may report different levels of effectiveness as their trial studies are completed.

    How well is the vaccine tested? Is it safe?

    Only vaccines that are safe and effective are approved by Health Canada for use in Canada. Multiple different vaccines are currently being reviewed for use in Canada. Each vaccine has been rigorously tested in a series of large-scale trials.

    Vaccines are tightly regulated and closely monitored in Canada. Health Canada will only approve a vaccine that is safe for widespread use.

    Temporary side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine are typically mild to moderate. 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. Side effects may be more common with the second dose.

    Some side effects can be similar to symptoms of COVID-19. If you have concerns about symptoms after immunization, please speak to your health care provider to determine if you need further assessment.

    Vaccines are continually monitored for safety and effectiveness at federal, provincial and local levels. Health care providers and the public also play a part in this, by reporting any uncommon side effects after a receiving a vaccine.

    How can the vaccine be developed so quickly?

    Development of the COVID-19 vaccine is progressing quickly for many reasons, including:

    • Leveraging existing vaccine research programs
    • International collaboration among scientists, health professionals, researchers, industries and governments
    • Increased dedicated funding
    • Quick recruitment of participants for clinical trials
    • Rapid set-up and analysis of clinical trials to demonstrate vaccine effectiveness
    • Reduction of unnecessary time delays in the vaccine approval process

    Will the vaccine still work on new COVID-19 emerging strains? Are the new strains more contagious?

    Both Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines to see if they work against new strains of the virus.  Early evidence provides support that the vaccines will be effective against the B.1.1.7 variant. More information on this will be provided as it becomes available.

    We are still learning about the new COVID-19 strains; however, early information suggests these variants are more contagious. This is why it is important we remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce spread and continue to follow all public health measures.

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    Impact of the vaccine

    How soon will we start to see the impact of the vaccine on COVID-19 cases?

    COVID-19 vaccine quantities will be limited for the beginning of vaccine rollout, with more supplies expected to be available in the spring or summer of 2021.

    The vaccine rollout will not likely have a substantial impact on case counts for months, but the initial phase should be able to protect some of those most at risk from the disease such as people in long-term care homes or congregate living settings for seniors.

    Can I contract COVID-19 from the vaccine?

    No. This is not a live vaccine and does not contain the virus; therefore, the vaccine cannot give you infection or disease (COVID-19).

    Is the vaccine safe if I have an egg allergy or other allergies?

    The list of ingredients for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine does not list egg protein as an ingredient.

    If you experienced a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose or component of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should not receive it.

    If you experienced a less severe allergic reaction to a previous dose or a component of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or you experienced a serious allergic reaction to another vaccine or injectable medication, you should talk to your health professional before you receive the vaccine.

    Do I need to continue to follow public health safety measures after I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Yes. Within one to two weeks after your second dose, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine report being approximately 95% effective. However, there is still a chance you can contract COVID-19, and it is currently unknown if you can transmit the virus after being immunized.

    Currently, there is no information on the long-term protection with this vaccine; however, studies are ongoing.

    As we continue to learn more about the protection provided by the vaccine and about COVID-19, our current advice is to continue to follow Public Health precautions to reduce the risk of infection. As we learn more, the recommendations may be modified.

    Even as vaccinations begin in Ontario, we must continue to follow public health measures to keep everyone safe and healthy: Avoid social gatherings, practice physical distancing, stay home if unwell, wear a mask when required and wash your hands frequently.

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    How it works

    Will the vaccine be two doses? If so, how will that work?

    COVID-19 vaccines currently approved by Health Canada are two dose vaccines

    The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is given at least 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine is given at least 28 days after the first dose.

    Receiving a second dose too soon after the first will make the vaccine less effective and less able to protect against infection.

    If you receive a vaccine, be sure to receive a second dose of the same type.

    Two doses adequately spaced are needed to provide protection.

    How does the vaccine work?

    The vaccine works by teaching our bodies’ cells how to make a specific protein that will trigger an immune response without using the live virus that causes COVID-19. Once triggered, our body then makes antibodies. These antibodies help us fight infection if the real virus enters our body in the future.

    For the vaccine to work best, you need to get two doses. For the Pfizer vaccine, it can take seven days following your second dose to achieve protection. For the Moderna vaccine, it can take 14 days following your second dose to achieve protection.

    How soon will we start to see the impact of the vaccine on COVID-19 cases?

    COVID-19 vaccine quantities will be limited for the beginning of vaccine rollout, with more supplies expected to be available in the spring or summer of 2021.

    The vaccine rollout will not likely have a substantial impact on case counts for months, but the initial phase should be able to protect some of those most at risk from the disease such as people in long-term care homes or high-risk retirement centres.

    The Regional Municipality of York en-US

    Making the decision to get vaccinated

    Who should not receive the vaccine?

    Those who should not receive the vaccine include:

    • People with allergies to any of the ingredients in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or the  Moderna vaccine
    • Those who had a severe allergic reaction after a first dose of the vaccine
    • Individuals under 16 years of age for the Pfizer vaccine, or 18 years of age for the Moderna vaccine, as these age groups were not included in the original trials — more information and consideration is expected in the coming months for this group
    • Please delay vaccination if you have a fever or are sick with COVID-19 symptoms, are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19, or have received a flu or other vaccine in the past 14 days

    Speak with your health care provider first before receiving the vaccine if you:

    • Are pregnant, could be pregnant or are breastfeeding
    • Have an autoimmune disorder, weakened immunity due to illness or treatment or have a bleeding disorder
    • Had a mild to moderate allergic reaction after your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
    • For those who will receive a vaccine after discussion with your health care provider, no formal documentation is required for the vaccine clinic

    Will the COVID-19 vaccine be mandatory?

    No, the COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory, though it is recommended to those eligible to receive it.

    I don’t feel I am at risk for serious illness or death from COVID-19. Why should I get vaccinated?

    When a large percentage of the population becomes immune to COVID-19, the spread of the virus will slow down or stop. Achieving this herd immunity through vaccination is our best approach for allowing individuals, families and workers to safely resume pre-COVID activities.

    Although most people survive COVID-19, some may experience prolonged health impacts. Even without underlying health conditions or other risk factors, there is no way to know for certain how seriously COVID-19 can impact you. Vaccines will help bring this pandemic to an end.

    Will there be any restrictions placed on individuals who chose not to get the vaccine?

    Restrictions may be considered at a provincial or federal level. More details on this will be communicated if/when available.

    Should I still get vaccinated if I previously had COVID-19?

    Currently, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are still recommended for people who have had COVID-19 in the past.

    It is possible to be re-infected with COVID-19. Emerging information suggests not all infected individuals experience the same immune response and that the immune response may decrease over time.

    Information on the duration of protection will increase as more experience and evidence emerges.

    Can I contract COVID-19 from the vaccine?

    No. This is not a live vaccine and does not contain the virus; therefore, the vaccine cannot give you an infection or the disease (COVID-19).

    Is the vaccine safe if I have an egg allergy or other allergies?

    The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not list egg protein as an ingredient.

    If you experience a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose or component of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should not receive it.

    If you experience a less severe allergic reaction to a previous dose or a component of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or you experience a serious allergic reaction to another vaccine or injectable medication, speak to your health care provider before receiving the vaccine.

    The Regional Municipality of York en-US

    Precautions after vaccination

    Where/how do I report vaccine 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:

    • Hives 
    • 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

    If you are concerned about any reactions you experience after receiving the vaccine, contact your health care provider.

    Do I need to continue to follow public health safety measures after I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Yes, you must continue to follow all public health measures even after getting the vaccine.

    Within one to two weeks after your second dose, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine report being approximately 95% effective. However, there is still a chance you can contract COVID-19, and it is currently unknown if you can transmit the virus after being immunized.

    Currently, there is no information on the long-term protection with this vaccine; however, studies are ongoing. Recommendations may change as we learn more.

    If a known positive case receives a COVID-19 vaccine, do they need to be retested?

    If a known positive case who receives a COVID-19 vaccine develops a symptom post-immunization but has no known or new high-risk exposures, they do not need to be retested.

    If someone was negative for COVID-19 and had the vaccine and developed symptoms post-immunization, they may need to be retested.

    For individuals who test positive and have also been vaccinated, do their close contacts still need to self-isolate?

    Currently, Ministry guidance on testing and clearance remains the same for someone who has tested positive whether or not they have also been vaccinated.

    Close contacts must self-isolate for 14 days after exposure to the case.

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    Receiving your second dose

    When will I get my second dose? Who do I contact?

    Instructions for receiving your second dose will be provided to you at your first appointment. If you did not receive an appointment for your second dose, please contact the clinic you attended directly.

    To get the best protection against COVID-19, it is very important you receive the second dose at the appropriate time even, if you experience mild side effects after the first dose.

    If you miss your second appointment, schedule another appointment as soon as possible; you do not need to re-start the vaccine series.

    I need to receive my second dose of COVID-19 vaccine but am currently isolating due to exposure to a confirmed case. What do I do?

    You should remain in isolation. If you miss your second appointment, schedule another appointment as soon as possible. You do not need to re-start the vaccine series.

    Consult your health care provider about receiving your second dose once your isolation has been completed.

    Please bring your printed COVID-19 immunization receipt from the first vaccination with you to your second appointment.

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    Receiving the vaccine

    Who will get the vaccine first?

    At first, there will be limited supply in the initial phase of the vaccine program.

    Some groups will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine first, as recommended by the provincial COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force and in alignment with the federal National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

    The goal is for everyone to be able to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as enough doses are available.

    In the first few months of the Ontario immunization program, early doses of the vaccine will be available for:

    • Residents, staff, essential caregivers and other employees in congregate living settings that provide care for seniors as they are at higher risk of infection and serious illness from COVID-19 (essential caregivers provide care services to one resident at a home but are not staff, essential visitors or on-site contractors, an essential caregiver could be a family member)
    • Health care workers (including hospital employees, other staff who work or study in hospitals, and other health care personnel.)
    • Adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations where infection can have disproportionate consequences, including those living in remote or isolated areas where risk of transmission is high
    • Adult recipients of chronic home health care

    Ontario will also prioritize regions with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection – those in the red-control and grey-lockdown zones when we receive the vaccine.

    Do I need to pre-register to receive the vaccine?

    Pre-registration is not required at this time. As supply increases and more groups become eligible to receive the vaccine, details on how to receive the vaccine will be widely communicated.

    Stay tuned to this webpage for updates.

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