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Vaccine Considerations

Nearly everyone will be able to safely receive the vaccine, although a very small number of people may need to avoid vaccination due to severe allergies to parts of the vaccine.
Last updated: April 6, 2021

The vaccines currently approved in Canada are the 
Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 

Review the HealthLinkBC File on COVID-19 Vaccines for more information before getting your vaccine.  

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Allergies

There are very few reasons someone should not get the COVID-19 vaccine. You should not get the vaccine if you have a serious allergy (anaphylaxis) to:

  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG), an ingredient in both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. PEG can be found in some cosmetics, skin care products, laxatives, some processed foods and drinks and other products. There have been no reports of anaphylaxis from PEG in food or drink.
  • 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 a COVID-19 vaccine or any part of the vaccine. 

Talk to your health care provider if you have had an anaphylactic reaction but do not know the cause. 

Pregnancy or breastfeeding

For most people, getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the safest choice to protect them from COVID-19. 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 can get the vaccine.

  • There is currently no known specific 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.

 

  1. ‎Being infected with COVID-19 can make you very sick. It may make you even sicker if you are pregnant.
  2. COVID-19 vaccines are very effective in preventing people from getting sick with COVID-19.
  3. Vaccines are safe and cannot give you COVID-19.

If you are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19, a vaccine can help protect you from getting sick with COVID-19 and may reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others.


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.

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




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







Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy.

Vaccinations for people with specific health conditions including those considered clinically extremely vulnerable

Find information below to help you plan for your vaccine with considerations for your health condition. This information will help you determine if there are any timing considerations or contraindications to the vaccine. 

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be contacted by letter and can book their vaccine appointments through the Get Vaccinated system. Only people with specific health conditions or taking specific treatments are considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

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

Other conditions and considerations

Vaccine manufacturers identify a number of precautions because these populations were not included in the original vaccine trials. In the context of ongoing risk of COVID-19, most individuals can be offered vaccination.

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.

Please refer to the information for people with health conditions who are the clinically extremly vulnerable for further information about specific conditions.

If you have questions and have an autoimmune disease, speak to your healthcare provider or medical specialist.


Please refer to the information for people with health conditions who are the clinically extremly vulnerable for further information about specific autoimmune conditions.


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

The current COVID-19 vaccines have been tested and approved for use in people over the age of 16 (Pfizer) and 18 (Moderna and AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD). Most children are not eligible to receive the vaccine at this time.‎

 

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home from the vaccine clinic and use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool to determine if you need to be tested. If you have a new illness preventing you from performing your regular activities, you should wait to get immunized until you have recovered. This will help to distinguish side effects of the vaccine from worsening of your other illness.‎

 

There are no medical concerns to prevent you from receiving a COVID-19 if you recently received another immunization or will be receiving one soon, and you can receive a vaccine when you become eligible. A health care provider may recommend waiting for a period of time before you receive other vaccines so that if you experience side effects from one vaccine, they are not confused with another. 


You should not receive any other vaccines until 14 days after a dose of COVID-19 vaccine.


 



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