Skip to main content

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: September 21, 2021

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

On this page


You should not get a COVID-19 vaccine 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, 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.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine ingredients.

Children and young people

Learn about booking vaccine appointments for people age 12 to 17.

B.C. is currently offering the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to young people age 12 and older. Children aged 12 and older can register and book appointments to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or visit a drop-in clinic. 

Health Canada approved the use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in people age 12 and older. Clinical trials indicated that the vaccines were safe and highly effective for people age 12 and older. Once a vaccine begins to be used, B.C. and other provinces and territories work with Health Canada to monitor safety and effectiveness.

Further clinical trials in babies and children under 12 are ongoing.

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

Children with allergies to any of the vaccine ingredients should not get the vaccine. Vaccination should be delayed for 90 days following MIS-C (the rare multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children).    


Like adults, young people will need two doses of the vaccine for long-term protection. 

Children are expected to experience similar side effects as adults, though may experience some of them, like headache, chills and fever, more often. The Vaccination Aftercare handout provides more information about common side effects and how to manage them. 

Symptoms such as hives, swelling of the face, tongue or throat or difficulty breathing are signs of a severe allergic reaction and you should seek medical attention or call 9-1-1 right away. 

The rare but serious blood clotting events associated with the viral vector-based COVID-19 vaccines (including AstraZeneca, COVISHIELD and Janssen) do not occur with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna).  

Young people will need to continue to follow public health recommendations after they are vaccinated, like keeping a safe distance from people outside their household, wearing a mask, and cleaning their hands.

‎In rare cases, some people have experienced inflammation of the heart (conditions known as myocarditis or pericarditis), following immunization with a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. This has been reported mainly in males under 30 after the second dose. Typically, this condition has been mild to moderate. People have responded well to treatment and rest, and have made a full recovery.

At this time, this is only an association between vaccination and this condition and is being investigated. There is no conclusion on the exact cause of those cases. For more information, visit the vaccine safety page.

When a young person is vaccinated, they can be exposed to COVID-19 without getting sick. If they do get sick, it’s usually not very serious. Most young people aren’t likely to get very sick from COVID-19, but some will. Being vaccinated is the best way to protect young people from COVID-19.   

Having young people vaccinated helps protect the people around them too, including those who might get very sick from COVID-19. If a young person is vaccinated, they are much less likely to spread COVID-19. 

The more people who are vaccinated in B.C., the harder it is for COVID-19 to spread. This helps protect everyone. Public health recommends all eligible people get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Having questions about vaccination is normal. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination to help decide if vaccination is the right choice for you or your family. You can also call 8-1-1 or talk to a health care provider if you have questions. 

Not all COVID-19 vaccine information is reliable. Learn how to find trusted information about vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be available in B.C. You don’t have to decide right now if you’re not sure.

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. 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 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 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 can 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.

Pregnant women and individuals (age 16 and older) can now book an appointment for their COVID-19 vaccine. To book an appointment, call the provincial Get Vaccinated number at 1-833-838-2323 and inform the operator that you are pregnant. It is important to register with Get Vaccinated to ensure you receive an invitation to book your second dose at the appropriate time. 


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.

Health conditions and other considerations

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 reasons not to get the vaccine.

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 clinically extremely vulnerable for further information about specific autoimmune conditions.

‎If you have ever had a reaction to a vaccine,  please talk about this with your healthcare provider. They will help you decide whether and when you should get your COVID-19 vaccine.‎

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 ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © BC Centre for Disease Control. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2021 Provincial Health Services Authority.