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COVID-19 vaccination at a glance

Last updated: September 20, 2021

How can I register to get a vaccine?  

All people living in British Columbia who are 12 years and older can now register to book vaccines one of two ways:

  • Online at, available in 12 different languages
  • By telephone through a provincial call center (toll-free) at 1-833-838-2323, available in 140 different languages.

Learn more about registration and eligibility.

Where can I find a drop-in clinic to get vaccinated?

Find drop-in clinics for first dose COVID-19 vaccinations in your health authority:

Immunization record and proof of vaccination

You are required to show proof of vaccination using the BC Vaccine Card for some social and recreational events, services and businesses.  

When you get vaccinated, your immunization record is stored in an online provincial database. You will receive a paper copy of your immunization record card at your vaccine appointment or you can access a digital copy online by registering for Health Gateway

When will I be able to get my second dose?

You will get an invitation by text, email or phone call to book your second dose appointment approximately 28 days (four weeks) after your first dose. You can also  get your second dose at a drop-in, mobile or special event clinic if it’s been more than 28 days since your first dose.

If you live or work in a community experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, get your second dose as soon as you can. If you do not live or work in one of these areas, getting your second dose six to eight weeks after your first dose may provide stronger protection.

Please make sure you are registered with the Get Vaccinated system. If you received your first dose and have not yet registered, do so now so you can be contacted to book your appointment. If you have questions or aren't sure if you are registered, phone the call centre at: 1-833-838-2323.

Learn more about the second dose.

Why do I need to get a second dose?

The second dose is the essential second half of your vaccine series. Both doses are needed to get the most effective protection against serious cases of COVID-19 and provide longer-lasting protection. It’s important that you complete the vaccine series. You are not fully protected until you’ve had both doses.

Watch a video with Dr. Nel Wieman, Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer (First Nations Health Authority) about getting a second dose. 

Video: Why it is important to get both doses

Will I have more side effects after my second dose?

In clinical trials for both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, there were higher rates of commonly reported side effects for the second dose compared with the first dose. This is because the immune system has learned the information from the first vaccine and can be an indication that it’s responding in a stronger way to the second dose. These side effects are short-lived and most go away within two to three days. Some people do not have any side effects after the vaccine; this is also normal and does not reflect the level of immunity provided. 

The most common side effects reported for mRNA vaccines are redness, swelling or itchiness at the injection site, and headache and tiredness. These are all common side effects for vaccines in general.

In Canada, serious side effects, which may result in hospitalization for example, were reported by less than 0.01% of Moderna or Pfizer recipients. Learn about reported side effects.

For any of the vaccines approved in Canada, the risk of serious side effects is very low.

Will I get to choose which vaccine to get?

All vaccines approved in Canada and available in B.C. are safe and effective and will help protect you against COVID-19. The vaccine you are offered is based on a variety of factors including what products are available, your age, health conditions or allergies, where you’re getting your vaccine and more.

People eligible to get their first or second dose will get either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at a mass clinic and do not get a choice between the two. Both vaccines are safe, use comparable mRNA technology, and are similarly effective.

Some pharmacies in B.C. are able to administer a first dose of AstraZeneca to anyone 18 years and older who cannot receive an mRNA vaccine. Find a pharmacy.

Is mixing COVID-19 vaccine brands ok?

  • Mixing similar vaccines from different manufacturers is safe and effective. Similar vaccines from different brands are often used interchangeably including those for hepatitis A and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines. There are standards in place to determine safety of mixing vaccines.
  • Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech are mRNA vaccines and work the same way. If you’ve received a first dose of one mRNA vaccine and are offered the other for your second dose, it is safe to receive it.
  • There are multiple clinical trials and population studies of vaccine mixing taking place in countries around the world, including Canada. Results from Germany, the UK and Spain have shown the effectiveness and safety of a mixed series. We also have real world evidence to support the process; so far over 2 million people in Canada have received a combination of COVID-19 vaccines. Canada began allowing combination COVID-19 vaccination schedules in early June and the number of COVID-19 cases and the rate of reported adverse events have continued to trend downward.
  • Two doses are required to be fully immunized and for long-term protection. 
Learn more about mixing vaccine brands.

I was vaccinated against COVID-19 outside of Canada, what do I need to do?

If you received one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in another province or country:
  1. Register with the Get Vaccinated system.
  2. Submit a proof of your COVID-19 immunization record.
Even if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 outside of Canada you may still need to receive vaccinations here. BC is following the World Health Organizations' (WHO) approved COVID-19 vaccine list to decide whether or not it is recommended that you receive additional COVID-19 vaccination here.

How do I talk to others about COVID-19 vaccines?

You may be getting lots of questions about COVID-19 vaccines. 

Here are our top tips on what to say
Credit: Fraser Health Authority

Find translations of this resource

Is the vaccine available to children?

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by Health Canada for use in people 12 and older. Young people aged 12 to 17 can register and get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Further clinical trials in babies and children under 12 are ongoing. The vaccine is not yet available to younger children.

Learn more

I received an AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine for my first dose, what vaccine can I get for my second dose?

  • If you received the AstraZeneca or COVISHIELD vaccine for your first dose, you will get to choose to get either AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) for your second dose.
  • Current evidence shows that a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by a second dose of an mRNA vaccine is safe and effective. 
    • Both vaccines use comparable mRNA technology. 
    • Both vaccines are similarly effective. 
    • Both vaccines are safe.
  • Regardless of choice, you need a second dose for long term protection.
  • Learn more about factors to consider in choosing a vaccine for second dose
  • For further information on how to book a second dose, visit Get Your Second Vaccine Dose

If you have received an AstraZeneca vaccine and have questions about the signs and symptoms of the rare but serious blood clots after vaccination, please refer to Vaccination Aftercare.

How do I determine if the information I see about vaccines is reliable? 

You might be getting information from a bunch of different places. Not all of this information will be trustworthy and unbiased. Even if the information is from friends or family, you still need to assess their source. Learn how to find trusted sources for information about vaccines.

Where can I find more questions and answers about the COVID-19 vaccine?

Visit the ImmunizeBC website to find frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination

SOURCE: COVID-19 vaccination at a glance ( )
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