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Vaccines Available in B.C.

Learn more about the five vaccines being used in B.C. and how they work.
Last updated: May 13, 2021

What is the COVID-19 vaccine? 

  • Vaccines are products that produce immunity to a specific disease like COVID-19. When you are immune to COVID-19 that means you can be exposed to it without becoming sick or if you do become infected, it prevents more severe illness.
  • Vaccines save lives. Vaccines don't just protect the people getting vaccinated; they protect everyone around them too. The more people in a community who are vaccinated and therefore protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for it to spread.
  • Five vaccines have been approved in Canada: the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (owned by Johnson & Johnson) vaccines. Several other vaccines are being developed.

List of Currently Available Vaccines


mRNA Vaccines

Viral Vector-Based Vaccines


Learn more about vaccine considerations and getting the vaccine in B.C.

How COVID-19 vaccines work

Vaccines work by teaching your body's immune system to remember and recognize a virus. Your body can then defend you if you are exposed in the future. 

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines. These vaccines teach your body to make a piece of a protein from the COVID-19 virus using instructions from the virus, called mRNA. 

The instructions tell cells in your body how to make part of a harmless protein from the virus. Once the cells make the protein, the instructions are broken down. 

The cells display the pieces of protein they’ve created on the outside of your cell and your body recognizes that protein as foreign and develops an immune response. This response will recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if you are exposed later on. 

mRNA vaccines do not change or affect your own DNA. 

AstraZeneca, COVISHIELD, and Janssen (owned by Johnson & Johnson) vaccines are a type of vaccine called a viral vector vaccine.

These vaccines introduce instructions from the virus that causes COVID-19 using a non-COVID-19 virus that has been modified so as to be inactive and harmless. This is known as a vector. 

The vector only carries the instructions to make a specific protein from the COVID-19 virus. Similar to the mRNA virus, once the body creates that protein, it produces an immune response that will recognize and fight future infections. 


Ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines


You may have questions about the ingredients in each available vaccine. The table below outlines each individual ingredient and a description of its purpose in the vaccine.  

mRNA vaccine ingredients

  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Click the image to expand)

Pfizer vaccine ingredients

  • Moderna (Click on the image to expand)

Moderna vaccine ingredients

Viral vector-based vaccine ingredients

  • AstraZeneca  (Click the image to expand)
AstraZeneca vaccine ingredients
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) (Click the image to expand)
Janssen vaccine ingredients

To learn more about vaccine ingredients, check out these links:







SOURCE: Vaccines Available in B.C. ( )
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