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 allergic or had a previous reaction to an mRNA vaccine, who aren’t able to receive an mRNA vaccine due to medical reasons, or who choose not to receive an mRNA vaccine.
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 call the Prescription Shop (inside St. Joseph's Health Care, at 268 Grosvenor St., London ) at 519-646-6194 for vaccine availability and appointment options.
-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.
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 first 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?
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.
Should I get vaccianted 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: covid-19.ontario.ca/get-proof. 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 (you must provide documentation at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic from an allergist-immunologist that it would be okay to immunize you in a non-hospital setting)
- 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