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Immunization

Routine and seasonal immunization during COVID-19 frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Is it OK to get immunized during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, you can get immunized during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important that you keep protecting yourself from other diseases. Immunization is a very useful way to prevent certain diseases.

Public Health immunization programs are an essential service and stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Should I get the influenza vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes. It’s important to protect yourself and others from influenza. Influenza and COVID-19 are respiratory infections. That means they affect your lungs and breathing. They can be very serious, especially for seniors and people with chronic health conditions.

Because the symptoms of influenza may also be symptoms of COVID-19, getting immunized for influenza will lower the chance that you’ll need to stay home and away from others (self-isolate) and be tested for COVID-19. Get your influenza immunization early in the fall, usually October or November. It’s important to protect yourself and others during influenza season which starts late fall and lasts through the winter.

If I think I have COVID-19, can I still get immunized?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home and self-isolate. Use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment for Albertans (ahs.ca/testing) to book a COVID-19 test and get further instructions. You should not go for an immunization if you have symptoms, or if you legally need to self-isolate.

Use the daily screening checklist to screen yourself or your child before going to any activities (including getting immunized).

You or your child can get immunized when you feel well again.

I had a vaccine and now I have COVID-19 like symptoms. What do I do?

After getting immunized, some people can have side effects such as fever, headache, cough, runny nose, or sore throat. Side effects start within 24 hours after getting the vaccine. For vaccines that protect against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella, side effects can start 5 to 12 days after the immunization. Side effects tend to be mild and could last 24 to 48 hours.

Immunization side effects can be the same as COVID-19 symptoms. These include:

  • fever
  • new or worsening chronic cough
  • shortness of breath
  • trouble breathing
  • runny nose
  • sore throat

If you have side effects that are the same as COVID-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate even if you think they’re from the vaccine. Children will have to stay home with a parent or guardian.

  • If the side effects go away within 48 hours, you don’t have to keep self-isolating and you can go back to your normal activities. But if you’ve been told to self-isolate for other reasons, then you must keep self-isolating.
  • If the side effects last longer than 48 hours, stay home. Contact Health Link at 811 or do the COVID-19 Self-Assessment for Albertans (ahs.ca/testing) to make an appointment for a COVID-19 test. If you don’t get tested for COVID-19, you must stay home for 10 days from the start of your symptoms or until you no longer have symptoms, whichever is longer.

Will getting an immunization put me at a higher risk of getting COVID-19?

No. There is no evidence that getting an immunization makes you more or less likely to catch COVID-19. There is also no evidence that getting an immunization makes it harder for your body to fight COVID-19.

Will getting an immunization affect my COVID-19 test results?

No. Getting an immunization will not affect your COVID-19 test results.

Will someone come to my house to give me an influenza immunization if I may have COVID-19?

No. Please self-isolate and use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment for Albertans (ahs.ca/testing) to book a COVID-19 test and get further instructions. You can get the influenza vaccine when you feel well again.

What are pharmacies and public health clinics doing to protect people from COVID-19 during immunization visits?

All healthcare providers follow guidelines to protect you and themselves from COVID-19. This includes:

  • screening clients and staff for illness and exposure to COVID-19
  • setting up the clinic and using an appointment system to make sure that you can keep physical distance
  • spending more time cleaning and cleaning more often
  • using personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks
  • hand washing or using hand sanitizer when you arrive

If you have questions about your pharmacy or doctor’s office infection control practices, you can call their professional college to learn more.

  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta 780-423-4764
  • Alberta College of Pharmacy 780-990-0321

Current as of: November 2, 2020

Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services