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Vaccine Considerations

Everyone who is eligible can be safely vaccinated against COVID-19, although a very small number of people may need to delay vaccination if they have severe allergies to parts of the vaccine.
Last updated: January 17, 2022

There are no medical exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccines. If you have concerns, discuss with your health care provider about how you can safely receive the vaccines.

Review the HealthLinkBC Files on the COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines and the COVID-19 Viral Vector Vaccines for more information.  

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Timing with other vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines can be safely given at the same time or any time before or after any other live or inactivated vaccine. This includes the Influenza vaccine. 

If you are getting a COVID-19 vaccine you do not need to delay getting an influenza vaccine. 

It’s especially important to protect yourself against respiratory viruses during cold and flu season. If you get any two vaccines at the same time or close together the healthcare provider will usually administer the vaccines in different arms/limbs.

Pregnancy or breastfeeding

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breastfeeding is the safest choice to protect you from COVID-19. 

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Open: COVID-19 vaccine planning guide for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding

The Canadian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SOGC), the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and public health experts in B.C. all agree that people who are pregnant and breastfeeding should get the vaccine.

Pregnant people are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 infection and can be vaccinated at any time during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

 

  • If you are unvaccinated and infected with COVID-19 during your pregnancy, you are three times more likely to end up in the intensive care unit (ICU) than those infected with COVID-19 who are not pregnant.
  • Preterm birth and admission of baby to neonatal intensive care units have been shown to be more common among pregnant people with COVID-19.
  • ‎There is currently no known serious risk (such as an increased risk of miscarriage or possible birth defect) of getting a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding (or providing expressed human milk) to either the person being vaccinated or the child.
  • There is no need to avoid starting or stopping breastfeeding if you get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The vaccine helps your body to produce antibodies that will protect you from getting sick if you are exposed to COVID-19. These protective antibodies pass into your milk and may also protect your child from infection.

For more information, refer to the COVID-19 vaccine planning guide for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


There is misinformation circulating about COVID-19 vaccines and infertility. COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infertility and there is no scientific reason or biological way they would impact fertility.

 

Some people have reported changes to their menstrual cycle following vaccination. However, it is important to know that a number of factors can impact the menstrual cycle, including sleep, stress, infection, diet and exercise. In fact, getting COVID-19 itself may impact the menstrual cycle, as more than 35% of individuals noted changes in their menstrual cycle after COVID-19 infection. 


While studies are taking place to understand this potential impact, we know that other vaccines have not impacted the menstrual cycle. Read more from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada.


If you are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant, getting vaccinated with all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine is the safest way to protect yourself and your baby. People who are pregnant are at increased risk of experiencing a severe case of COVID-19 with serious outcomes for them and their baby, including preterm birth. Learn more about pregnancy and vaccination.


If you have questions, and you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding, please read the guidance or speak to your health care provider about COVID-19 vaccines.


Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy.


Previous diagnosis of COVID-19

People who have had COVID-19 should still be immunized with COVID-19 vaccines, not everyone develops a strong immune response after having COVID-19, and the vaccine is the best way to ensure immunity. 

You can get vaccinated after you have completed your self-isolation period and at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms started or from your test date if you did not have symptoms. 

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Allergies

If you have an allergy to an ingredient of one type of COVID-19 vaccine, you are still able to receive the other type - e.g. if you have an allergy to an ingredient in an mRNA vaccine, you should get the viral vector vaccine instead. Speak with your care provider if you have questions.

You should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna/ Pfizer-BioNTech) if you have had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to:

  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG), an ingredient in both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. PEG can be found in some cosmetics, skincare products, laxatives, cough syrups, and bowel preparation products for colonoscopy. PEG can be an additive in some processed foods and drinks, but no cases of anaphylaxis to PEG in foods and drinks have been reported.
  • Any component (part) of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

You should not get a viral vector COVID-19 vaccine (AstraZeneca/ COVISHIELD) if you have had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to:

  • Polysorbate 80 which is in the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccines. It is also found in medical preparations (e.g., vitamin oils, tablets and anticancer agents) and cosmetics.
  • A previous dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine or any part of the vaccine.

  • People who experienced a severe immediate allergic reaction after the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine can safely receive future doses of the same or another mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Consult with an allergist or ask your primary care provider to explore options.
  • You will be asked to stay in the clinic for 30 minutes after getting the vaccine so you can be monitored. By staying in the clinic, a health care provider can respond in the event you experience a reaction. Tell a health care provider if you feel unwell after your vaccine.

Previous reactions to non-COVID-19 vaccines do not mean that you should not get a COVID-19 vaccine. Ask your health care provider whether there are any similar ingredients in the vaccine that you had a reaction to and COVID-19 vaccines. If there are none, it is safe to get the COVID-19 vaccines.

If you have a history of any of the following it is still safe to get the COVID-19 vaccines:

  • X-ray dye allergy
  • Bee and wasp stings allergy
  • Food allergies
  • Environmental allergies such as to pollen or dust mites
  • Recurring anaphylaxis of unknown origin (idiopathic anaphylaxis)
  • Systemic Mastocytosis
  • Chronic hives
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
  • Contact allergy to propylene glycol (PG)

For more information on allergies and COVID-19 vaccination check the FAQs from the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Health conditions and other considerations

People who have medical conditions are still able to receive the COVID-19 vaccines. The health conditions below are NOT contraindications for COVID-19 vaccines. You should still get vaccinated if any of these apply to you.

If you are currently taking medication or undergoing treatment it is still safe to get the COVID-19 vaccines. If the medication you are taking suppresses your immune system, check with your healthcare provider about the best time to get the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure an optimal immune response.

 

Anyone with the following is able to get mRNA COVID-19 vaccines:

  • History of thrombosis following a previous dose of an adenovirus vector COVID-19 vaccine-like AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD
  • History of capillary leak syndrome
  • History of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) or heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT)

If you have an autoimmune disease, you should get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Speak to your healthcare provider or medical specialist if you have specific questions.
Please refer to the information for people with health conditions who are clinically extremely vulnerable for further information about specific autoimmune conditions.

Children and young people

Vaccine considerations for children are similar to adults. The vaccine can be given to children who take medications regularly, including youth with conditions that make them clinically extremely vulnerable.

 

Vaccination should be delayed for 90 days following MIS-C (the rare multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children).

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations and children. 

 

People who have had COVID-19 should be immunized with COVID-19 vaccines. You should wait until you have recovered to get immunized.‎

Resources for clinically extremely vulnerable groups

People with specific health conditions or taking specific treatments are considered clinically extremely vulnerable. Here you will find information and resources about getting the COVID-19 vaccine if you are part of this group.

A third dose of COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for some people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.


Information for health professionals can be found in the COVID-19 vaccine resources for health professionals.

A third dose of COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for some people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.


COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines, and there are no significant concerns about safety for those with weakened immune systems. It is possible that the vaccine may not work as expected in people who have a weakened immune system.


If you have questions and have a weakened immune system, speak to your healthcare provider about the COVID-19 vaccine.


A third dose of COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for some people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.







SOURCE: Vaccine Considerations ( )
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