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COVID-19 vaccine – mRNA (age 6 months and older)

Learn about the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, doses, side effects, and safety.

COVID-19 mRNA vaccine

The Moderna SpikeVax XBB.1.5 and Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty XBB.1.5 vaccines are the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines available in Alberta. The Pfizer-BioNTech XBB.1.5 vaccine may not be available at all sites. They are updated mRNA vaccines that help protect you against getting seriously ill from COVID-19, including XBB variants that are currently spreading.

Who should get this vaccine

Everyone is at risk of COVID-19. You can get an XBB.1.5 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine if you are age 6 months or older. COVID-19 vaccines are free.

Who should not get this vaccine

You may not be able to get the XBB.1.5 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine if:

  • You have an allergy to any part of the vaccine.
  • You had a severe (serious) or unusual side effect after this vaccine or one like it.
  • You are under age 6 months.

If you have allergies or have had a side effect to this vaccine, check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.

Although you can get the vaccine if you have a mild illness such as a cold or fever, you should stay home until you are feeling better to prevent spreading your illness to others.

Check with your healthcare provider about when you can get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine if:

  • You had COVID-19 in the past.
  • You are under age 18 years and have a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).

Be sure to talk to your doctor before you get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine if:

  • You have a weak immune system (because of a medicine you take or a health problem).
  • You have had a stem cell or organ transplant.
  • You are getting CAR T-cell therapy (a type of cancer treatment).
  • You have a history of myocarditis or pericarditis within 6 weeks of getting a dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Already had COVID-19

If you have already had COVID-19, it is not yet known how long your protection will last or how much protection you will have against variants. It is important to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you have already had the virus.

The vaccine may give you better protection if you wait a while after having COVID-19 and then get a vaccine. How long to wait depends on your health history, the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccine you have had, and your risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.

If you have had COVID-19 in the past, check with your healthcare provider about when to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

While you are pregnant, you have a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine lowers your risk of getting seriously ill from the virus.

You can get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. There is more to learn about the Moderna XBB.1.5 and Pfizer-BioNTech XBB.1.5 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding, but information from the original mRNA vaccines found no safety concerns. Research shows that mRNA vaccines are the safest type of COVID-19 vaccine to get while pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and have questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your healthcare provider.


If you are age 6 months to 4 years, you can get the Moderna XBB.1.5 vaccine.

If you are age 5 years or older, you can get either the Moderna XBB.1.5 vaccine or the Pfizer-BioNTech XBB.1.5 vaccine (if available).

There is no information about how well an XBB.1.5 protein-based COVID-19 vaccine works after getting an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. However, information from the original COVID-19 vaccines shows no safety concerns. It is reasonable to expect the same from the XBB.1.5 protein-based vaccine after an mRNA vaccine, but there is still more to learn. If you have already gotten an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, information shows that you may get better protection if you continue with an mRNA vaccine rather than getting a protein-based vaccine.


Consent for immunization

Consent for a COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 18 years is provided by a parent or guardian. If a parent or guardian cannot be at the appointment, they can use the consent form at COVID-19 consent for children under 18. In some cases, children under age 18 years may be able to give their own consent.

Alternate decision-makers (could be an agent, guardian, specific decision-maker, or co-decision-maker for another person) can use this consent form when they cannot attend an immunization appointment with the person they are authorized to make decisions for. Alternate decision-makers must also include (with the consent form) a copy of documents showing they are the person’s authorized decision-maker.

The person being immunized must bring the completed and signed consent form to their appointment.

Current as of: April 15, 2024
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
Our work takes place on historical and contemporary Indigenous lands, including the territories of Treaty 6, Treaty 7 & Treaty 8 and the homeland of the Métis Nation of Alberta and 8 Métis Settlements. We also acknowledge the many Indigenous communities that have been forged in urban centres across Alberta.