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This page includes answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination, vaccine safety, and the latest information on Halton’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Don’t see an answer to your question here? You can always email accesshalton@halton.ca or call 311.

For other COVID-19 frequently asked questions, including information about proof of COVID-19 vaccination visit the COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

COVID-19 vaccination

All individuals born in 2009 or older who live, work or go to school in Halton region are eligible to be vaccinated at a Halton Region Community Vaccination clinic.

Canada

canada.ca/covid19 (external link)

  • Approve vaccines for use in Canada
  • Procure vaccines nationally
  • Distribute vaccines to Provinces/Territories
  • Provide NACI recommendations on prioritization of administration to the Provinces/Territories

Ontario

ontario.ca/covid19 (external link)

  • Receive vaccine from Federal Government
  • Prioritize rollout across Ontario, including who gets the vaccine, when and where
  • Distribute vaccine to public health units, hospitals and pharmacies
  • Responsible for vaccine tracking, provincial booking system & call centre and healthcare records management

Halton Region

halton.ca/covid19

  • Receive vaccine from the Province of Ontario
  • Safely store and transport vaccine received from Province
  • Administer vaccines in accordance with the Provincially mandated prioritization framework
  • Coordinate with local hospitals and other healthcare providers

As part of Halton’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, we are continuing to plan for the respectful delivery and roll out of vaccine clinics for all of the populations listed under the Province’s prioritization plan, including all First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Peoples living within Halton. Staff have consulted with Indigenous communities and organizations to solicit guidance on how best to implement the recommendations provided by the Provincial Urban Indigenous Vaccine Distribution Sub-Tables. Together with these partners, Halton Region continues to plan for opening up vaccine clinics to all Indigenous adults. This will be coordinated based on sufficient and stable receipt of vaccine allocations from the Province and made in consultation with our COVID-19 Elder Advisory Group composed of Elders and Knowledge Keepers from communities and organizations in the area, including the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Credit River Métis Council and Indigenous People living in Halton. We will continue to provide updates on halton.ca/COVIDvaccines.

Evidence has shown that COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in Canada, are safe, effective and lifesaving (WHO, 2021).

In Canada:

  • less than 1% of reported COVID-19 cases occurred in vaccinated people; and
  • less than 1% of hospitalized COVID-19 cases occurred in fully vaccinated people. (PHAC, July 30, 2021)

In Ontario, between December 14, 2020 and July 24, 2021:

  • 95.4% of COVID-19 cases occurred in unvaccinated people;
  • 0.5% of COVID-19 cases occurred in fully vaccinated people (break through cases); 
  • 92.6% of unvaccinated COVID-19 cases were hospitalized and accounted for 92.3% of deaths; and
  • 0.7% of hospitalizations and 1.0% of deaths occurred in fully vaccinated people (breakthrough cases). (PHO, 2021)

It is in everyone’s best interest that anyone who is eligible get vaccinated for COVID-19. The more opportunity the coronavirus has to spread, the more it can mutate. New mutated strains may reduce the effectiveness of current COVID-19 vaccines.

By getting vaccinated, you benefit from the protection you get against COVID-19 and the easing of restrictive measures in your community. The Public Health Agency of Canada has provided guidance for people who are partially or fully vaccinated. In Halton, you are still required to wear masks in many public settings. Until the pandemic is declared over, continue to follow public health measures to help stop the spread of the virus.

Yes. When eligible, those who previously tested positive for COVID-19 should be vaccinated to protect themselves and others. There are severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and re-infection with COVID-19 may be possible.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity developed after having an infection, called natural immunity, is different from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, should not go to a vaccine clinic. Please wait until you are no longer in self-isolation and are feeling well before getting your vaccine.

Fear of needles is very common. However, it’s important that fear of needles doesn’t interfere with good health. Getting your COVID-19 vaccine is an important step to reduce your risk of developing COVID-19 symptoms.

If you are anxious about vaccinations, follow these tips (external PDF):

  • Eat a snack before you come to your appointment.
  • Get comfortable. Sit up in your chair. Make your arm loose or jiggly.
  • If you feel dizzy, tense your stomach and leg muscles.
  • Try belly breathing (pretend to blow out a candle).
  • Do some self-talk. Tell yourself that you can handle this!
  • Allow yourself to daydream while you are getting your vaccine.

Sedation is not an available option at any of our clinics.

It is unknown if the COVID-19 vaccination will become an annual vaccination, like the flu shot. It is too early to know the duration of protection COVID-19 vaccines offer, as these vaccines are new and are still being studied.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is strongly encouraged.

Halton Region cannot provide exemptions.

A person is considered to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when it has been at least 14 days since they received their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine series and they had:

  1. A full series of a COVID-19 vaccine or any combination of COVID-19 vaccines approved for use by Health Canada
  2. One or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not approved for use by Health Canada, followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine approved for use by Health Canada, or
  3. Three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by use by Health Canada

Getting vaccinated in Halton Region

Halton Region community vaccination clinic locations have been selected based on accessibility, and the ability to support health and safety measures and efficient clinic operations. 

Yes. A process has been developed to have paramedics vaccinate individuals who are homebound. Homebound individuals are those who have physical challenges/immobility issues and cannot be transported to a clinic. Each eligible homebound patient can have up to two caregivers immunized with them at their home.

To arrange for vaccination, the primary health care provider of the homebound individual is required to complete a ‘Physician Request Form for COVID-19 Vaccination of Homebound Patients’ and to submit it to paramedicmobileclinic@halton.ca. For further details about this process, have your primary health care provider refer to the April 23, 2021 e-fax to physicians. Please contact 311 for any questions about this process.   

Over a 100 pharmacies in Halton (external link) are giving COVID-19 vaccines and accepting walk-ins or booked appointments. Check out the COVID-19 vaccination clinics webpage to learn about your options for getting vaccinated.

 

Select primary care offices are offering COVID-19 vaccines to community members (please refer to our COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics webpage). Vaccine supply is limited and available by appointment only.

Healthcare providers and pharmacists can continue to play an important role in promoting vaccination to their patients. Please refer to our fact sheet for tips on how to support COVID-19 vaccination with your patients (PDF file).

If you’re interested in vaccinating some of your patients (for example, those with needle phobia, or other special needs), Halton Region Public Health can support you with infection prevention and control measures and COVax training.

Please send an email to doctors@halton.ca and Halton Region Public Health will contact your clinic to discuss administering COVID-19 vaccines in your clinic.

No. Parking is free of charge at all Halton Region COVID-19 vaccination clinic locations.

An Ontario Health card is the preferred form of identification. If you do not have a health card, then bring a piece of identification, or combination of documents, that include a photo, full legal name and date of birth. Other acceptable documents include but are not limited to:

  • driver’s license
  • piece of registered mail
  • pay stub
  • student card
  • other government issued identification, including out-of- province I.D.s or foreign national passports

Electronic versions of documents are accepted. Expired government issued identify documents are also accepted. Individuals may bring more than one identify document to support their identity and age.

For more information, please refer to the Preparing for your vaccination appointment webpage.

Yes. Individuals who live, work or attend school in Halton region are eligible to be vaccinated regardless of their citizenship status.

COVID-19 vaccines are administered by trained staff who follow specific steps to safely administer each dose and avoid wastage. Halton Region Public Health follows provincial guidance on the storage and handling of COVID-19 vaccines which includes:
  • Carefully planning how many doses are required, each day;
  • Following specific procedures to ensure vaccines are stored and transported correctly to planned clinics; and
  • Reporting any vaccine products that are damaged.

The vaccine clinic, pharmacy or primary care office where you received your COVID-19 vaccine may provide you with proof of immunization at the time of your appointment. This could be one or more of the following types (varies depending on the location):

  • paper immunization record
  • prescription receipt from a pharmacy
  • email from covaxon@ontario.ca  (link to download your receipt will be valid for five (5) days) Emails before September 8, 2021 contain a pdf of your vaccination receipt.
  • printed patient record

If you did not receive a COVID-19 vaccination receipt and have a green health card, you can download a copy of your COVID-19 vaccination receipt through the provincial portal (external link).

Note: There can be a delay in downloading your COVID-19 vaccination receipt through the provincial portal (external link). The portal will indicate your place in ‘line’.

If you have a red and white health card, or you require assistance with the provincial portal call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900

If you do not have access to a computer or printer, you can:

  • Call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.
  • Ask a trusted friend or organization to help you print a copy.
  • Contact your local library for help with their printing services.

Vaccination in the workplace

The Province has made COVID-19 vaccination policies mandatory in certain high-risk settings (external link) (for example, long term care, hospitals). Read the Province’s list of Frequently Asked Questions (external link) for more information.

Halton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hamidah Meghani, has recommended that all local employers address the need for a workplace vaccination policy to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Beginning September 10, 2021, businesses and organizations with 100 or more workers physical present at the workplace are required to establish, implement and ensure compliance with a COVID-19 workplace vaccination policy. For more information, see the September 7 media release.

When determined by the employer to be reasonably necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, workplace policies can require workers to provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19.

In some workplaces vaccination may be mandatory, meaning that workers must provide proof of vaccination subject only to the employer’s obligation to provide accommodation under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. Other workplaces may encourage but not require vaccination.

An employer may establish different rules or requirements for unvaccinated workers (for example, use of additional personal protective equipment, worker relocation and modified work or reassignments).

Your employer’s decision to implement such a policy, and the details of that policy, may be informed by a number of factors such as the type of workplace and the risks it presents for transmitting COVID-19, the work of the workers and consideration of the duty to accommodate (if applicable).

Workplace vaccination policies should adhere to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (external link), the Ontario Human Rights Code (external link) and privacy laws (external link).

For more information on workplace vaccination policies, visit COVID-19 Resources for Businesses.

Halton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hamidah Meghani, has recommended that all local employers address the need for a workplace vaccination policy to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

When determined by the employer to be reasonably necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, workplace policies can require workers to provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19.

In some workplaces vaccination may be mandatory, meaning that workers must provide proof of vaccination subject only to the employer’s obligation to provide accommodation under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. Other workplaces may encourage but not require vaccination. An employer may establish different rules or requirements for unvaccinated workers (for example, use of additional personal protective equipment, worker relocation and modified work or reassignments, etc.).

Your employer’s decision to implement such a policy, and the details of that policy, may be informed by a number of factors such as the type of workplace and the risks it presents for transmitting COVID-19, the work of the workers and consideration of the duty to accommodate (if applicable).

Workplace vaccination policies should adhere to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (external link), the Ontario Human Rights Code (external link) and privacy laws (external link).

All residents who have been vaccinated in Ontario are able to access proof of their vaccination through the provincial vaccination website (external link).

Some people have mild side effects after vaccination including pain, redness, swelling at the site where the needle was given, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and/or low fever. Serious side effects are rare.

Ontario workers may qualify for up to three days of paid sick leave under provincial legislation (external link).

For more information on workplace guidance after vaccination, visit COVID-19 Resources for Businesses.

It is common and normal to have temporary, mild side effects such as a headache, tiredness or muscle aches, after getting vaccinated for COVID-19. These usually last from a few hours to a few days after vaccination. This is the body’s natural response, as it works hard to build immunity against the disease.

You can attend work if, in the 48 hours following vaccination, the symptoms you experience are limited to mild headache, fatigue, muscle ache and/or joint pain that started after your vaccination.

If you have a fever you must not attend work while you are experiencing the fever. If your fever worsens or lasts longer than 48 hours, continue to self-isolate and get tested for COVID1-9. Seek medical attention as needed.

You must not attend work, but must instead self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19, if your symptoms:

  • Develop beyond the symptoms listed above (for example, you experience cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, etc.);
  • Are getting worse or not getting better;
  • Make it hard for you to carry out usual activities; and/or
  • Last longer than 48 hours after vaccination.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms and you had a high-risk exposure to a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you must not attend work. Self-isolate immediately and get tested for COVID-19.

Youth Vaccination Program

Yes. Ontario has approved the use of Pfizer for anyone born in 2009 or older (external link).

Make your return to school in September as safe and as enjoyable as possible.

For your best protection against the COVID-19 virus, it is important that you have two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with a minimum of 21 days between doses (external link). Researchers have estimated that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 95% effective after two doses.

Learn where you can get vaccinated for COVID-19 on the Halton COVID-19 vaccination clinic webpage.

Ontario recently approved the use of Pfizer for anyone born in 2009 or older (external link).

While preliminary clinical studies are underway for youth born prior to 2009, it’s currently unknown when they will be eligible to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines are only provided if informed consent is received from the person to be vaccinated, including those aged 12 to 17, and as long as the youth has the capacity to make this decision. This means that they understand:

  • what vaccination involves,
  • why it is being recommended; and
  • the risks and benefits of accepting or refusing to be vaccinated.

Even if the youth is able to provide informed consent, they should talk about this decision with their parent/guardian or an adult they trust such as a principal or a teacher.

If they are not able to consent to receiving the vaccine, they require consent from their substitute decision-maker, such as their parent or legal guardian. To help youth and families make an informed decisions, please refer to:

Yes. Those who previously tested positive for COVID-19 should be vaccinated to protect themselves and others. There are severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and re-infection with COVID-19 may be possible.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity developed after having an infection, called natural immunity, is different from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, should not go to a vaccine clinic. Please wait until you are no longer in self-isolation and are feeling well before getting your vaccine.

No. COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary, but strongly encouraged. At this time, youth are not required to be immunized for COVID-19 in order to attend school under Ontario’s Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) (external link).

Yes. Many pharmacies in Halton Region are now administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to individuals born in 2009 or older. Visit covid-19.ontario.ca (external link) for more information on participating locations.

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