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Immunization

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

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​This information can help answer the questions you have about getting immunized during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you for understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine roll-out may affect other immunizations.

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 will screen you before your appointment to make sure it’s safe for you to come. Please follow all COVID-19 guidelines when you come to your appointment.

Can I get an immunization at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine?

Children under age 12 years should wait at least 14 days after getting a COVID-19 vaccine before getting another vaccine. If they got another vaccine first, they should wait 14 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. This is to help monitor for any side effects in this age group from the COVID-19 vaccine. However, there may be times when this 14-day spacing before or after the COVID-19 vaccine is not possible, such as if your child is due to have a routine school immunization within 14 days of having the COVID-19 vaccine. If your child gets a vaccine within 14 days of a COVID-19 vaccine, both vaccines will still work to protect your child and are safe. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions about your child getting another vaccine before or after their COVID-19 vaccine.

If you're age 12 or older, you can get any vaccine at the same time as, any time before, or any time after a COVID-19 vaccine.

​Can my child or I get immunizations we need during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Alberta Health Services’ Public Health routine immunization programs are an essential service. They’re open during the COVID-19 pandemic to help protect you and the rest of the public.

Because of the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine, there are some changes to immunization services. These include:

  • shorter appointments for infant immunizations (at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months of age) and 18 month and preschool immunizations. (The appointment will still include measuring height and weight, talking to you about your concerns, and screening for postpartum depression if you have an infant.)
  • a possible delay of school immunization programs, including immunization of Grade 6 and 9 students
  • routine immunizations for healthy adults may not be available at all public health clinics

Contact your local public health clinic to find out what immunizations are available.

Public Health will work with schools to reschedule student immunizations if needed. They’ll use the signed consent from parents or guardians for the rescheduled date.

If you or your child has a health problem that puts you at a high risk of disease (such as a weak immune system) you can still get immunizations. You can also get any immunizations you need if you’ve had contact with a vaccine-preventable disease, like tetanus.

If you’re pregnant, you can still get the dTap vaccine at a public health clinic if you can’t get it at your local pharmacy or family doctor’s office.

For the most up-to-date information, visit:

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. These infections affect your lungs and breathing. They can be very serious, especially for older adults and people with long-lasting (chronic) health conditions. As public health restrictions are lifted, we will see the return of other respiratory infections including influenza.

The symptoms of influenza can be the same as COVID-19. Getting immunized for influenza will lower your chance of needing to stay home and away from others (isolating) and being tested for COVID-19.

The influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from influenza. The best time to get immunized is usually in October or November before the influenza season starts. But you can be immunized any time during the influenza season. The season starts late fall and lasts through the winter.

Visit ahs.ca/influenza to find out where you and your child can get the influenza immunization.

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

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home and 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 isolate.

Use the daily screening checklist (open.alberta.ca/publications/covid-19-information-alberta-health-daily-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 that are the same as COVID-19 symptoms​. Symptoms of COVID-19 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 isolate (even if you think the side effects are from the vaccine).

If you only have redness, swelling, or soreness where you had the needle, you don’t need to stay home and away from others.

Side effects from most vaccines start within 24 hours. 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.

Side effects that start within the expected time and go away within 48 hours
If your side effects start within the expected time and go away within 48 hours after they start, you don’t have to keep isolating. You can go back to your normal activities. But if you were told to isolate for other reasons, you must keep isolating.

Side effects that start after the expected time or last longer than 48 hours
If your side effects start after the expected time or last longer than 48 hours, stay home. Call Health Link at 811 or use 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 influenza or other immunization put me at a higher risk of getting COVID-19?

No. There is no evidence that getting an immunization makes you more 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 influenza or other immunization affect my COVID-19 test results?

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

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 from COVID-19. This includes:

  • screening clients and staff for illness and contact with COVID-19
  • setting up the clinic in a way that keeps you distanced from others
  • using an appointment system to limit the number of people at any one time
  • 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 Physicia​ns and Surgeons of Alberta 780-423-4764
  • Alberta College of Pharmacy ​780-990-0321

I have a fear or needles. What can I do to prepare for my immunization?

There are things you can do before, during, and after immunization to be more comfortable.

Visit Alberta Health Services Commitment to Comfort at ahs.ca/vaccinecomfort​ for ideas that can help you and your child have a better experience.

Current as of: November 24, 2021

Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services