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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 vaccination program. Don’t see an answer to your question here? You can always email accesshalton@halton.ca or call 311.

COVID-19 vaccination

Vaccines are safe and reliable, and can both protect you from COVID-19 and make your symptoms milder if you do get it. When a large percentage of the population becomes immune to COVID-19, the spread of the virus will slow down and may stop. As evidence is evolving on COVID-19 vaccines, additional research will help us to determine what percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to stop its spread.

Vaccines that have been authorized by Health Canada are safe, reliable and can help protect you, your family and our community from COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines were authorized by Health Canada after thorough and independent reviews determined that they meet stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements.

As a reminder, vaccines are just one important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and it is important that we all continue to follow public health measures and take everyday actions to stop the spread of the virus.

All individuals 12 years of age and 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.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is voluntary, but strongly encouraged. The goal is for every Ontarian to get a COVID-19 vaccination if they want one, as soon as enough doses are available from manufacturers.

Vaccines that have been authorized by Health Canada are safe, reliable and can help protect you, your family and our community from COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines were authorized by Health Canada (external link) after thorough and independent reviews determined that they meet stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements.

As a reminder, vaccines are just one important tool to help stop the spread of the virus and it is important that we all continue to follow public health measures and take everyday actions to 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.

In Ontario, if you received a complete and validated series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada (external link) or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (external link) (even if administered outside of Ontario), you are not eligible for additional doses at this time. Health Canada and other international medical experts are continuously reviewing data to determine if additional doses may be needed in the future.

Halton Region Public Health cannot provide additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine for travel purposes. The decisions about vaccine restrictions, requirements and guidance for travel (external link) are directed by the Federal Government.

Second dose information

The vaccine clinic, pharmacy or primary care office where you received your vaccine may have provided you with proof of immunization that lists the type of vaccine you received. 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
  • printed patient record

If you have a green health card, you can also check the provincial portal to determine which vaccine type you received (external link) and download a copy of your vaccination receipt.

Note: There can be a delay in downloading your 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 Information Line at 1-888-999-6488.

If you were vaccinated at a Halton Region vaccination clinic, check your vaccine appointment information in our electronic system (external link).

If you do not have one of the above records, do not have a green health card and you consented to have your information entered into the electronic data base (COVax), Halton Region staff can verify the vaccine type you received. Call 311 only if you do not have access to one of the above records.

 

On June 1, 2021, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) released a recommendation on the interchangeability of vaccine types (external PDF). On June 3, 2021, the Province issued updated guidance for individuals who received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and who have not yet received their second dose (external link), to allow for the mixing of COVID-19 vaccine if desired. Learn more about the mixing of vaccines types (PDF file).

If you received either the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccine for your first dose:

  • You may receive either Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna as your second dose.
  • The Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use a similar mRNA technology so the vaccines are interchangeable and safe to mix.
  • Pfizer is approved for those 12 years of age and older. Moderna is approved for those 18 years of age and older.
  • It is not recommended to receive AstraZeneca as your second dose.

If you received the AstraZeneca vaccine for your first dose:

  • You may receive either AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna) as your second dose, eight to 12 weeks after your first dose.
    • To receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where you got your first dose to book an appointment.
    • Effective June 14, residents who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine can book a single second dose appointment to receive an mRNA vaccine for their second dose at a Halton clinic. Appointments will be booked at a minimum eight-week interval from their first dose and availability is contingent on vaccine supply. Residents can also book an mRNA vaccine directly with a participating pharmacy.
  • There is a possibility of increased temporary short-term side effects when getting an mRNA vaccine as a second dose, including pain at the injection site, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain and fatigue.

On June 12, 2021, the Province announced accelerated second doses to those who received AstraZeneca for their first dose (external link).

  • Effective June 14, 2021, individuals can receive a second dose of AstraZeneca, eight weeks after their first dose, with informed consent. Individuals should contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where they received their first dose to book an appointment. Data from the UK strongly suggests a much-reduced risk of Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT) in second doses of AstraZeneca – one in 600,000. Choosing to receive the second dose of AstraZeneca provides strong protection against COVID-19.
  • Individuals can receive an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) for their second dose, as early as eight weeks after their first dose. Residents can book a single second dose appointment at a Halton Region vaccination clinic. Appointments will be booked at a minimum of eight weeks after your first dose and availability is contingent on vaccine supply. Appointments can be booked through our online booking system or  directly with a participating pharmacy.

All individuals who have received their first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) are now able to book their second dose as early as 28 days after getting their first dose. Anyone booking a first dose appointment will receive their second dose appointment at a minimum 28-day interval.

Individuals who received AstraZeneca as their first dose will continue to be able to book a single second dose appointment (external link) at an interval of 8 weeks or more, as per Provincial direction (external link).

If you already received your first dose and have a second dose appointment booked 16 weeks after the first dose, you can reschedule your second dose appointment to a shorter interval (subject to appointment availability and vaccine supply). You may be able to book your second dose appointment through a participating pharmacy (external link), but should call ahead to confirm availability and eligibility.

As the body works to build immunity, it is common to have temporary side effects after receiving many vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine. After any second dose, regardless of the vaccine (AstraZeneca, Moderna, or Pfizer), you may feel more, the same, or fewer side effects than after your first dose.

In clinical trials, mild to moderate side effects (such as fever, chills, tiredness and headache) were more common after receiving the second dose of an mRNA vaccine.

If you have a side effect after receiving the vaccine, contact your health care provider who will report the side effect directly to public health. Public health will keep track of the reported side effects to make sure the vaccine continues to be safe.

Starting March 10, 2021, Halton Region followed provincial direction to book second dose appointments 16 weeks after the first dose (external link). However, with an increased vaccine supply the Province announced a plan to accelerate second dose appointments.

The Province announced that all Ontario residents 18 years and older are eligible for a shortened dose interval (external link). Effective June 28, all individuals who have received their first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) are able to book their second dose as early as 28 days after getting their first dose. Anyone booking a first dose appointment will receive their second dose appointment at a minimum 28-day interval. Individuals who received AstraZeneca as their first dose will continue to be able to book a single second dose appointment (external link) at an interval of 8 weeks or more, as per Provincial direction (external link).

For best results, it is important that everyone receives a second dose (with the exception of the Janssen vaccine) and completes the series.

While there are recommended minimum timeframes for a second dose, at this time, there is no data about what the maximum interval between doses should be. Health Canada will continue to monitor this new dosing interval for safety.

No. An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving their second dose of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine. The two doses do not need to be of the same vaccine. For example, you can receive AstraZeneca for your first dose and either AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer for your second dose. 

Halton Region Public Health cannot provide additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine for travel purposes.

The second dose will give you stronger and longer lasting protection from COVID-19. Getting two doses as soon as possible is critical for gaining protection from COVID-19 and its variants.

Research from AstraZeneca clinical trials found that individuals had stronger protection from COVID-19 if they received their second dose 12 weeks after their first dose compared to 28 days after their first dose. With informed consent, individuals can choose to receive a second dose of AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine at an eight to 12-week interval, recognizing that while waiting 12 weeks helps to ultimately provide more protection, some may choose to receive their second dose sooner to have the increased protection provided by a second dose earlier. All of these options provide protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant, and have been deemed safe.

No. You don’t need to restart the vaccine series if you received your first dose more than 16 weeks ago. However, it is recommended that you receive two doses as soon as possible to gain protection from COVID-19 and its variants. While there are recommended minimum timeframes for a second dose, at this time, there is no data about what the maximum interval between doses should be. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) (external link) does not recommend restarting a vaccine series if there is an extended time between doses.

You can book a second-dose only appointment through Halton Region’s online booking system (external link) 

If you have a green health card, you can check the provincial portal to determine which vaccine type you received (external link) for your first dose and to download a copy of your vaccination receipt.

Note: There can be a delay in downloading your 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 Information Line at 1-888-999-6488.

According to the Ministry of Health:

  • If you received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of Ontario you need to submit proof of immunization to your local health unit.
  • If you are unable to provide proof of immunization, you need to restart your vaccine series).
  • If you received your first dose of a Health Canada authorized COVID-19 (external link) vaccine outside of Ontario, you can receive your second dose in Ontario once your proof of immunization for the first dose has been entered into the Provincial COVID-19 immunization database. Second dose schedules will follow the intervals recommended by Ontario.
  • If you did not receive a Health Canada authorized COVID-19 (external link) vaccine for your first dose, you need to restart your vaccine series. There is no evidence of harm when restarting a vaccine series. This is recommended by the Ministry of Health as long as the client receives the COVID-19 vaccine 28 days or more after receiving the previous type of COVID-19 vaccine.

Visit our COVID-19 vaccination clinic page for more information on how to report an out-of-province vaccination.

If you are a Halton resident and received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of Ontario or Canada, you should report this information to Halton Region Public Health so that your vaccination record can be validated in the Provincial COVID-19 immunization database. Visit our COVID-19 vaccination clinic page for more information on how to report an out-of-province vaccination.

In Ontario, if you received a complete series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada (external link) or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (external link) (even if administered outside of Ontario), you are considered to have a complete vaccine series and further vaccination is not required. (Important: the definition of a fully immunized individual may be different in other Provinces and countries. Learn more about the Government of Canada’s requirements for travel (external link).)

Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

Eligible residents can book an appointment online at Halton’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic webpage. Halton residents can also call 311 if they require booking support. Please only call 311 if you are unable to book online to ensure those requiring support can be assisted. For information on groups that are currently eligible for vaccination, please check our Who is currently eligible in Halton webpage.

Walk-ins are accepted at some vaccination clinics on a first come, first served basis and dependent on supply. No appointment is required at these locations. Visit Halton’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic webpage for more information.

You do not need a referral from your doctor to book an appointment to be vaccinated. 

Yes. You can book an appointment on behalf of someone else. One person may accompany the person being vaccinated to the appointment, if assistance is required. Only the eligible person will be vaccinated.

If you know anyone who is eligible that may require assistance with booking an appointment, please reach out and help them register for the program.

At this time, the booking system requires each individual to book separately so that the necessary details for each person are entered into the system. There are multiple appointments for each timeslot in the system. We recommend couples try to select a time slot on a later date (i.e., not the first available) as it may not fill up as quickly. Couples can also call 311 for assistance with their bookings if necessary.

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.

It is important that you get two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are unable to get your second dose in Halton Region, you can book an appointment at any Ontario clinic or pharmacy (external link).

If you are unable to attend a vaccine appointment, please remember to cancel your appointment as soon as possible so that someone else who is eligible can get the vaccine.

When booking or rescheduling appointments, eligible residents have the option to book same-day (“last minute”) vaccine appointments. These appointments will become available when there are last minute cancellations at a vaccination clinic. Your appointment will not be confirmed until you complete the form by clicking “Book now” button. If you select this option, you must arrive at the clinic within 30 minutes of booking and go to the vaccine clinic selected.

Walk-ins are accepted at some vaccination clinics on a first come, first served basis and dependent on supply. No appointment is required at these locations. Visit Halton’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic webpage for more information.

If you have another appointment scheduled at a Halton Region vaccination clinic, please cancel your appointment online as soon as possible so that someone else who is eligible can get the vaccine. If you require assistance cancelling your appointment, please call 311.

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.   

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

Youth Vaccination Program

Starting May 31, Halton youth 12 to 17 years old who live or attend school in Halton can book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments through our online booking system as part of the Youth Vaccination Program (external link). Halton Region, in partnership with local school boards, are committed to following Provincial direction to offer first doses to all 12 to 17 year olds in June, and second doses by the end of August (external link).

Appointments for youth will also be available at participating pharmacies offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to individuals 12 years or older. Appointments must be booked through the pharmacy. Visit covid-19.ontario.ca (external link) for more information on participating locations.

Note: To be eligible, you must have had your 12th birthday on or before the date of their first dose appointment.

Halton students who are 18 to 21 years old and returning to secondary school in September 2021 are also encouraged to get vaccinated through the youth vaccination program in order to receive their second dose by the end of August.

The youth must have had their 12th birthday at the time of their first dose. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only vaccine in Canada approved for individuals 12 years of age or older at this time.

Learn more about where to get vaccinated on the Halton COVID-19 vaccination clinic webpage.

Health Canada authorizes the use of COVID-19 vaccines for different populations based on scientific evidence. While preliminary clinical studies are underway for youth under 12 years of age, it’s currently unknown when individuals younger than 12 years of age will be eligible for vaccination.

Yes. All youth 12 to 17 years of age living or attending a school in Halton region can be vaccinated regardless of their citizenship status.

Yes. The youth will need to bring a piece of identification, or a combination of documents that include a photo, full legal name and date of birth. Accepted documents include but are not limited to:

  • health card
  • passport
  • student card
  • other government issued identification, including out-of- province ID’s or foreign national passports

Youth will be required to provide documents that prove age and residency. If they live outside of Halton region, but attend school in the region, they will need to indicate what school they attend at their clinic appointment but not provide proof. If they do not provide documents that prove age and residency, they must sign a declaration of eligibility at the vaccination clinic.

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:

Youth 16 to 18 years of age who have already received their first dose at a Halton vaccine clinic and need to reschedule their second dose, will be able to reschedule their second dose appointment online (external link) (subject to availability of appointments and vaccine supply). The youth will need to enter their original vaccine appointment confirmation number OR provide their date of birth, last name and postal code.

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.

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