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About the COVID-19 vaccines

Details about vaccine dosing, interchangeability, and vaccines for children.

Getting fully vaccinated

You’re fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the last dose of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine (your second dose of a 2-dose vaccine, or a single dose of a 1-dose vaccine) or any combination of these vaccines.

You’re also considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving:

  • 1 or 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by Health Canada, followed by 1 dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine approved by Health Canada (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or
  • 3 doses of any COVID-19 vaccine not approved by Health Canada.

If you’re immunocompromised you should continue to self-isolate after being exposed to a person who has COVID-19 even if you’re fully vaccinated. If you have questions, speak to your health care provider.

Health Canada has evaluated, licensed and approved the following COVID-19 vaccines for use in Canada:

These COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Health Canada on the basis of their quality, safety and efficacy. All the vaccines were proven to be effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms, and preventing severe complications such as hospitalization and death.

The vaccines are free with no cost to the public. The vaccines currently approved for use in Canada do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. Learn more about the authorized vaccines and their ingredients from Health Canada. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine approval process and safety from the Ministry of Health.

Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) and Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines, often called mRNA vaccines. Learn how mRNA vaccines work.

Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) are viral-vector-based vaccines. Learn how viral vector-based vaccines work.

Other information

It’s essential that you complete your vaccine series by receiving all required doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Get your vaccine

There are many ways you can get your vaccine. Peel Public Health vaccine clinics, pop-up clinics, participating pharmacies or primary care providers are all offering the first and second doses. Find a vaccine location

First doses

Anyone born in 2009 or older can get the vaccine. Youth 12 to 17 years of age will receive the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine. The Ontario government has recommended that, for individuals between the ages of 18 and 24, it’s preferred that they receive Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech).

Refer to COVID-19 vaccines for children including providing consent, and helping your child prepare for the appointment.

Second doses

In Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has advised that, based on current scientific evidence and expert opinion, mixing different vaccines is safe and effective to protect against COVID-19. Based on this, in Ontario, you are now allowed to receive a different type of COVID-19 vaccine for your first and second doses, to complete your vaccination series.

Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) or Spikevax (Moderna)

Anyone who received an mRNA vaccine (Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) or Spikevax (Moderna)) is eligible to get their second dose. The time between the first and second dose must be at least 28 days for Spikevax (Moderna), and at least 21 days for Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech).

We're offering both brands of mRNA vaccines at all our Peel Public Health vaccine clinics. You can choose the brand you prefer as your first or second dose. However, it's still safe and effective to mix either of these mRNA vaccines.

Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)

If you received your first dose of Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) at least 8 weeks ago you can book your second dose. It's recommended that you get an mRNA vaccine (Spikevax (Moderna) or Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech)) for your second dose. There is evidence that having an mRNA vaccine after the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine will boost the immune response, which is the desired effect of any second dose of a vaccine.

You can choose to receive Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) for your second dose. Some pharmacies are offering the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine.

Those who received 2 doses of the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) can feel assured that this vaccine helps protect you against COVID-19 infection, and it provides very good protection against becoming severely ill or hospitalized.

About third and booster doses

2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine provide strong protection against infection and severe illness, including the Delta variant.

However, for people who have a lower immune response (such as immunocompromised individuals) to the first 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, a third dose of an mRNA (Spikevax (Moderna) or Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) is needed to get a similar level of protection as others in the community.

Other groups, based on when they received their first 2 doses may have a decrease in immunity over time, and may benefit from a booster dose. A booster dose helps to get immunity back up for a longer period and offers an additional layer of protection against COVID-19.

If you're eligible for a third or booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you'll need to provide consent before receiving the dose, like any vaccine.

Who's eligible for a third or booster dose

In Ontario, select groups are eligible to receive a third or booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The following groups are eligible for a booster dose if it has been at least 6 months after their second dose

  • Adults 70 or over (born in 1951 or earlier).
  • Health care workers (16 years or older). Check eligibility
  • Designated essential caregivers in congregate settings, including long-term care home and retirement home staff, and designated caregivers. (16 years or older)
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis adults and their non-Indigenous household members (16 years or older)
  • Anyone who received a complete series of a viral vector vaccine (2 doses of the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine or 1 dose of the Janssen vaccine)
  • Seniors 65 years of age and older living in the following settings will receive their booster dose in their residence or congregate setting:
    • Shelters
    • Long-term care and retirement homes.
    • Elder care lodges.
    • Other congregate settings.

The following immunocompromised individuals are eligible for a third dose, if it has been at least 2 months (or 8 weeks) after the second dose:

  • Individuals receiving active treatment (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy) for solid tumour or hematologic malignancies.
  • Recipients of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy.
  • Recipients of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy).
  • Individuals with moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
  • Individuals with stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  • Individuals receiving active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies2 (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids (refer to the CIG for suggested definition of high dose steroids), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppressive.

Where to get your third or booster dose

Eligible seniors 65 years of age or older that are living congregate setting cannot get a booster dose at Peel Public Health vaccine clinics, pop-up clinics, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, or walk-in clinics. Peel Public Health is actively working with Peel congregate settings to administer booster doses.

All other eligible residents must book an appointment for their third or booster dose, as walk-in appointments are reserved for residents coming in for their first or second doses.

If you’re eligible for a third or booster dose you can book an appointment:

Make sure you book your appointment for a date that is at least 6 months after you received your second dose. If you come to the clinic with an appointment booked too early you will not receive the vaccine.

Hospital-based health care workers can find out from their employer if they can get vaccinated through their hospital’s vaccination program. Other health care workers will be asked to provide either an employee letter, an employee badge or ID at the time of vaccination.

Eligible immunocompromised individuals can receive their third dose at the following locations:

Region of Peel main office
10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton
Tuesday to Saturday, 1 to 8 p.m.

Region of Peel Mississauga office
7120 Hurontario Street, Mississauga
Tuesday to Saturday, 1 to 8 p.m.

Caledon East Community Complex
6215 Old Church Road, Caledon East
Sunday to Thursday, 1 to 8 p.m.

Embassy Grand vaccination centre
8800 The Gore Rd., Brampton
Monday to Thursday 12 to 8 p.m.
Friday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Select pharmacies
Find a location

Immunocompromised individuals must bring 1 of the following to a clinic or pharmacy to receive your third dose:

  • Third dose referral form completed by doctor or nurse practitioner.
  • Current prescription package, label, or pharmacy receipt of an immunosuppressant medication listed by the Ontario government. The prescription must clearly label:
    • Patient name
    • Name of medication
    • Date of dispensing
    • Name of prescribing doctor

If you have a prescription for an immunosuppressant medication not listed by the Ontario government, you can contact your doctor or health care provider to receive a referral form for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) mRNA vaccine can be given to anyone 5 years or older. The Spikevax (Moderna), Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines can be given to anyone aged 18 years and older.

Wait to get the vaccine if you’re sick or have COVID-19 symptoms. Children 5 to 11 years old should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they’ve received any other vaccines (such as, flu shots) in the past 2 weeks.

If you've had COVID-19 before, you're still encouraged to get the vaccine because protection from re-infection is uncertain at this time.

You may receive your COVID-19 vaccine at any time after you’ve recovered as long as:

  • You’ve completed self-isolation.
  • Your symptoms are improving, and
  • You do not have a fever (without the use of medications) for at least 24 hours.

If you still have symptoms or you aren’t sure if you should get your COVID-19 vaccine at this time, speak to a health care provider before attending a vaccination clinic.

Precautions for certain groups

Additional precautions are required in some cases. Consult your health care provider before getting vaccinated if you have:

  • A known allergy to a component of the vaccine.
  • A compromised immune system or an autoimmune condition.
  • Experienced a serious allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) to another vaccine, drug, or food.
  • A bleeding disorder.

If you received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of Ontario, the record of your vaccine will not be automatically entered into the Peel Public Health or Ontario Ministry of Health systems.

For your vaccine to be recorded in the Ontario Ministry of Health system, you must provide a record of vaccination to Peel Public Health. We’ll review your record and enter it into the Ontario Ministry of Health COVID-19 Vaccine system, on your behalf.

Why reporting out-of-province vaccinations matters

Submitting a record of an out-of-province vaccination to Peel Public Health is not mandatory.

However, any out-of-province doses must be recorded in the Ontario Ministry of Health system if you are eligible for and would like to receive an additional dose of vaccine at a Peel Public Health clinic. You can also report your out-of-province vaccines in order to get an Ontario vaccine certificate.

Reporting will also help Peel Public Health monitor vaccine coverage. Reporting your out-of-province vaccination does not fulfill any provincial or federal requirements related to travel.

Reporting out-of-province vaccinations

In keeping with Ministry of Health guidelines,  only these COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in Canada:

  • Comirnaty (also known as Pfizer-BioNTech or Tozinameran)
  • Spikevax (Moderna)
  • Vaxzevria (Astrazeneca)
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
If your first dose or both doses are approved by Health Canada

Submit your record of vaccination through our online reporting tool.

When submitting your record of vaccination, you’ll need to provide a phone number and email address so we can reach you about your record. If you do not have your record of vaccination, contact the health care provider who gave you the vaccine and ask for a copy. After you submit your record of vaccination, you will receive a confirmation email. You will receive email notification when we’ve completed our review and submitted your record to the Ministry of Health.

  • If you’re submitting your first dose, once your record of vaccination is in Ontario’s Ministry of Health system, you can book your appointment for your second dose.
  • If you’re submitting your second dose or both your first and second dose, once your record of vaccination is in Ontario’s Ministry of Health system, no further action is necessary.
If your first dose or both doses are not approved by Health Canada

Submit your record of vaccination through our online reporting tool.

  • If you have proof of vaccination of a complete 1 or 2-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by Health Canada, you’re eligible for 1 additional dose of an mRNA vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated.
  • If you have received an incomplete series of a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by Health Canada (for example only 1 out of a 2-dose vaccine series), you should also receive 1 additional dose of an mRNA vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated.
If your vaccine receipt is not in English

When submitting an out of province vaccine receipt that’s in a language other than English, you must also provide a typed English translated document. The document doesn’t have to be professionally translated. Anyone can prepare it for you. It must include:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Vaccination date
  • Vaccine name
  • Country or province where vaccine was given
  • Number of doses received

If you’ve already submitted your vaccine receipt without an English translation, you’ll receive an email from Peel Public Health. You will need to resubmit your vaccine receipt using the online tool, and include both the original vaccine receipt and the translated document.

Submit your vaccine receipt

Use our online tool to submit your out of province vaccine receipt.

Report your vaccine

To get an additional dose, you’ll need to submit your record of vaccination. Once your record of vaccination is in Ontario’s Ministry of Health system, you can book your appointment online for an additional dose.

Like all vaccines, some people may experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. These side effects will likely be mild to moderate and resolve after a few days. They include pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, chills and fever. Some of these side effects are part of the body’s response to developing immunity.

Serious side effects after receiving the vaccine are rare. If you develop any serious symptoms or symptoms that could be an allergic reaction, seek medical attention right away.

If you develop any of the following reactions, seek medical attention or call 911:

  • hives (bumps on the skin that are often very itchy)
  • swelling of the face, tongue, or throat
  • difficulty breathing, wheezing
  • chest pain
  • the feeling of a fast, pounding, or fluttering heartbeat
  • high fever (over 40 C)
  • very pale colour and serious drowsiness
  • convulsions or seizures
  • other symptoms like pins and needles, or numbness

Any serious side effects after vaccination should be reported to Peel Public Health.

Call 905-799-7700 to report any serious side effects after vaccination.

It's important to follow up with your health care provider if you experience serious side effects. Health care providers can find information on reporting an adverse event on the Health Professionals page.

Myocarditis and pericarditis

The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada are monitoring Canadian and international reports for myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) following vaccination with an mRNA vaccine (e.g., Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) or Spikevax (Moderna)).

The Ontario government has recommended that, for individuals between the ages of 18 and 24, it’s preferred that they receive Comirnaty (Pfizer). This is due to an observed increase in reports of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination with Spikevax (Moderna) in this age group, particularly among males.

Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination remain rare and have been reported in a small number of people in Canada and internationally. Even among age groups with the highest observed rates of this event, cases occur at a frequency of 0.01% to less 0.1%.

Cases typically occur within a week of receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and are more common after a second dose. Typically these events have been mild and treatable. These events will continue to be monitored closely, and appropriate action will be taken if any new safety issues are identified.

If you experienced any of the following symptoms of myocarditis and/or pericarditis following your first dose of vaccine, you should be assessed by your health care provider for this condition prior to receiving your second dose:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling of a fast, pounding, or fluttering heartbeat.

What happens right after your vaccine

Wait for 15 minutes

Immediately following your vaccine, a clinic employee will recommend that you wait inside the clinic for 15 minutes. This waiting period will ensure that you’re feeling well.

Though uncommon, fainting or an allergic reaction can happen after vaccination. Our clinic employees are prepared to manage these events if they happen.

A clinic employee might ask you to wait up to 30 minutes if there’s a concern about a possible vaccine allergy.

While you’re waiting:

  • Tell a clinic employee if you start feeling unwell.
  • Keep your mask on and stay at least 2 metres away from others.

When your 15-minute time is over:

  • Use the alcohol-based hand rub to sanitize your hands before leaving
  • You can operate a vehicle or other form of transportation if you’re feeling well.

How you might feel after getting your vaccine

Common, expected side effects can develop in 1 or 2 days after getting the vaccine. Although these side effects are not serious to your health, they may make you feel unwell for 1 or 2 days. These side effects will go away on their own.

Placing a cool, damp cloth where the vaccine was given may reduce soreness. Pain or fever medication (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) may help reduce overall body pain or fever.

Severe reactions after getting the vaccine are rare

A severe reaction may develop within 4 hours to 1 week of receiving your first dose of an mRNA vaccine.

A small number of cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) have been reported in Canada and internationally.

If you experienced chest pain, shortness of breath, or a fast, pounding, or fluttering heartbeat following your first dose of vaccine, you should be assessed by your healthcare provider for this condition prior to receiving your second dose.

If you’re concerned about any side effects you experience after receiving the vaccine, contact your health care provider. You can also contact Peel Public Health to ask questions or report an adverse reaction at 905-799-7700.

To get the best protection against COVID-19, it’s crucial that you get a second vaccine dose, even if you experienced mild side effects after your first dose.

What to do after receiving the vaccine

  • Keep practicing public health measures such as physical distancing, washing your hands, or using hand sanitizer often, wearing a mask and limiting or avoiding contact with others outside your household.
  • Speak to your health care provider if you’re planning to become pregnant or find out you are pregnant before your appointment for your second dose.
  • Print your COVID-19 immunization receipt from your vaccination and keep it in a safe place.
  • Bring your COVID-19 immunization receipt with you for your second dose of vaccine.
  • Do not get any other vaccines until you’ve received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (unless another type of vaccine is considered necessary by your health care provider).

Need your vaccination receipt?

If you received your COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario, you can save or print a copy of your receipt by logging into the province’s portal. Get your receipt