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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent serious illness from COVID-19 infection. Currently, vaccine is available to those who are considered high-risk, and for individuals who are just starting their series. Click here for more information on current eligibility.

The COVID-19 vaccine program will be transitioning from “Fall 2023” dosing eligibility for XBB 1.5 vaccines to “Spring 2024” recommendations. In alignment with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), doses will be available between April and June for those at increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 disease. 


What vaccines are available in Canada?

The following COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Health Canada.

Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine

The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is available to individuals who are 12 years of age and older as an alternative to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for both initial and additional doses.

An updated Novavax vaccine for protection against the XBB 1.5 subvariant is now available. Please note that the Middlesex-London Health Unit is no longer providing this vaccine at clinics. 

  • For individuals in the London and Middlesex County area, please contact one of these pharmacies to ask about vaccine availability and appointment options:
  • Prescription Shop (inside St. Joseph's Health Care, at 268 Grosvenor St., London ) at 519-646-6194
  • CDS Pharmacy, 1695 Wonderland Rd N, London at 519-472-2345
  • For individuals living in other areas: please contact your local public health unit for pharmacy clinics in your area

National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI)

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) occasionally releases statements on COVID-19 vaccines. To read the most recent statements, visit: National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI): Statements and publications and expand "COVID-19" from the list of vaccines.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Yes. Vaccines approved by Health Canada have received a thorough and independent scientific review of the research and have been determined to be both safe and effective.

It’s also important to remember that all vaccines approved for use in Canada are heavily regulated by Health Canada. As a result, it’s illegal to sell or market a vaccine that has not completed all of the research stages and trials required for approval. International cooperation on the development of COVID-19 vaccines has allowed countries to compare trial results and data from around the world, to ensure vaccine safety over a relatively short period of time.

For more information, please review the resources below.

Side Effects

As with most vaccines, common side effects have been reported. These side effects are likely to be moderate and resolve after a few days. In very rare situations, some people may experience serious symptoms or an adverse reaction. For more information, visit Health Canada.

When should I see a health care provider?

There have been a small number of reports of myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation in different parts of the heart) following immunization with an mRNA vaccine. Most cases developed within one week of vaccination, have been mild and resolved quickly. Seek medical attention right away if you develop any of the following symptoms after vaccination:

  • Chest pain / feeling of pressure or tightness in your chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations / irregular heartbeat

If you experience myocarditis or pericarditis after your a dose of an mRNA vaccine, speak with your health care provider or local public health unit for the most up-to-date recommendations for further doses.

How do COVID-19 vaccines work?

mRNA Vaccine

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty and the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines. This means they use mRNA to teach the body’s cells how to make a protein which will cause your body to have an immune response and make antibodies. These antibodies then help fight an infection if the virus, which causes COVID-19, later enters the body. These vaccines do not contain a live virus – they cannot give you COVID-19. Learn more →

Protein Subunit Vaccines

The Novavax Nuvaxovid COVID-19 vaccine is a protein-based vaccine. This means it uses purified pieces of the virus (proteins) which are harmless and have been included in the vaccine specifically because they trigger an immune response. In this case, the “spike” protein is used. As they do not contain the virus, this vaccine cannot cause COVID-19. Protein subunit vaccines are already used for protection against other diseases. Learn more 

Should I get vaccinated if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy is effective at protecting pregnant individuals against severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalization, and ICU admission from COVID-19 infection. Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should receive all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses as soon as they are able. Learn more →

For more information, check out the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health's Vaccination in Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Patient Decision-Making Tool or speak with your primary health care provider.

COVID-19 vaccine certificate

To access your COVID-19 vaccine certificate, please visit: NOTE: you will need your date of birth, postal code and health card information.

If you don't have a green Ontario Health Card or used another form of identification (e.g. Driver’s License) at the time of vaccination, or if you have questions or concerns about your vaccine certificate, please call 519-663-5317 (Monday to Friday between 8:30AM and 4:30PM).

Who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?

You should delay getting the vaccine if you:

  • have symptoms of an acute or co-existing illness
  • have symptoms of COVID-19
  • have been advised to self-isolate due to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection

There are certain situations when you will need to talk to your primary healthcare provider before receiving the vaccine. These include if you:

  • have ever had a severe allergic reaction (e.g. anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components or container
  • have a history of anaphylaxis or immediate allergic reaction to any other vaccine or injectable therapy (please speak to your health care provider or allergy specialist prior to receiving other COVID-19 vaccine doses)
  • are receiving immunosuppressing therapies such as stem cell therapy, chemotherapy, CAR-T therapy, immune checkpoint inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies (eg. Rituximab) and other targeted agents (such as CD4/6 inhibitors, PARP inhibitors etc).

Remember to speak to the vaccinator (the person who will provide the vaccine to you) if you have discussed any of the issues mentioned above with your primary healthcare provider, or if you:

  • have had any problems following a previous vaccine
  • have any allergies
  • have a high fever or severe infection
  • have any serious illness
  • have an autoimmune condition
  • have a weakened immune system due to a medical condition or are taking medication that affects your immune system
  • have a bleeding disorder or are taking medication that could affect your blood clotting, if you bruise easily or are taking a blood-thinning medication

More Information

Date of creation: December 18, 2020
Last modified on: April 8, 2024


1Government of Canada (2023). National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI): Statements and Publications. Retrieved from
3Moderna Therapeutics Inc. (2023). SPIKEVAX™: Elasomeran mRNA vaccine Dispersion for intramuscular injection Multidose Vial, 100 mcg / 0.5mL Active Immunizing Agent [Product monograph]. Retrieved from
5BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH & Pfizer Canada ULC. (2023). COMIRNATY: COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, suspension for intramuscular injection [Product monograph]. Retrieved from
6Novavax, Inc. (2023). NUVAXOVID ™ COVID-19 Vaccine (Recombinant protein, Adjuvanted) Suspension for intramuscular injection Multidose Vial, 5 mcg / 0.5 mL (per dose) (contains 10 doses of 0.5 mL) Active Immunizing Agent [Product Monograph].. Retrieved from