Two COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for use in Canada and immunizations have begun in priority populations.
: January 21, 2021
Vaccines help protect you from getting sick by working with the body's immune system. Vaccines help your body develop protection so you do not get sick. Most vaccines are given by injection and sometimes need more than one dose.
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.
- Most existing vaccines work by delivering part of the virus, or a weakened or dead form of the virus, to create an immune response. This teaches your body to recognize the virus. If you are exposed, your body will know how to fight that virus. Some of the vaccines developed for COVID-19 use this type of technology. Learn more from ImmunizeBC’s How Vaccines Work.
- The two vaccines being used in Canada at this time are called mRNA vaccines. They use genetic instructions from the virus, called RNA, and put it into the body in a particle. Your body will turn the RNA into a protein from the virus. These proteins will create an immune response. They teach your body how to recognize and fight future infections.
The vaccine will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in B.C. Vaccines save lives by preventing disease, especially for people most likely to have severe illness or die. If enough people get vaccinated, it makes it difficult for the disease to spread. This gives everyone protection – this is called ‘herd immunity’. We hope that as more Canadians get vaccinated, we can return to activities that haven’t been possible during the pandemic.
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Worldwide, there are many vaccines in development and about 60 in clinical trials. They will not all get to the clinical trial stage or be approved for use. Learn more on what you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine for Canada.
Federal authorities are ordering COVID-19 vaccines for all of Canada. Canada has agreements with seven pharmaceutical companies to secure sufficient doses to immunize all Canadians. This includes Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, and Medicago.