Immunization protects you from disease.Get protected, get immunized.
COVID-19 vaccines protect against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (also known as COVID-19).
The virus causes an infection in the lungs and airways and is a type of respiratory illness. Go to ahs.ca/covid to learn more about COVID-19.
You should get a COVID-19 vaccine if you’re age 12 years or older. Everyone is at risk of COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are free.
Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. When you’re pregnant, you have a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy lowers your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
It’s best to get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine if you’re pregnant. Research to date shows that it’s the safest type of COVID-19 vaccine to get during pregnancy.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and have questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your healthcare provider.
Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccines require at least 2 doses.
You may need additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine to give you more protection if you have a high risk of severe disease due to:
If you’re travelling outside of Canada, you may be able to get additional doses. This only applies if your destination requires you to have a certain COVID-19 vaccine series.
If you are getting additional doses, your healthcare provider will let you know when you should have them.
alberta.ca/covid19-vaccine.aspx for more information and to find out if you can get additional doses.
If you get additional doses, this is “off-label” use of the vaccine. This means the vaccine is not licensed for additional doses, but vaccine experts support this in certain situations. If you have questions about getting additional doses, talk to your healthcare provider.
If you’re healthy and get all the doses you need, COVID-19 vaccines give you very good protection against COVID-19. The mRNA vaccines are somewhat more effective than the viral vector-based vaccines.
You need both doses for the greatest protection. All COVID-19 vaccines work very well to lower your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. They also lower your risk of needing to be in the hospital.
It’s still important to follow the recommended public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, even if you’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine. Please visit
ahs.ca/covid for the most up-to-date recommendations.
You will get an mRNA vaccine unless you are unable to receive or do not want an mRNA vaccine.
Usually you get the same vaccine for all your doses. But you can get a different mRNA vaccine for your second dose if your first-dose vaccine isn’t available or you prefer a different available mRNA vaccine. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines work in the same way.
Whichever vaccine you get for your second dose completes your immunization series and protects you against COVID-19.
Go to ahs.ca/seconddose for more information.
If you got the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine for your first dose, you can choose the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine or an mRNA vaccine for your second dose.
The AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine is a safe vaccine that works well to protect you against COVID-19. But some people may choose an mRNA vaccine to complete their COVID-19 immunization.
No matter which vaccine you choose, the second dose offers protection against COVID-19 and will complete your 2-dose series.
ahs.ca/seconddose for more information about getting an mRNA vaccine after an AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine.
You will get an mRNA vaccine for any additional doses. If you are unable to receive an mRNA vaccine, your healthcare provider will let you know which vaccine you can get.
ahs.ca/covidvaccine to find out where and when you can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
There can be side effects from COVID-19 vaccines, but they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. Side effects may include:
You may be more likely to have these side effects if you have another vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine.
Current information shows that the risk of side effects after additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine is similar to the risk after the first or second dose. Research continues to find out more about the risk of side effects after additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after your vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you’ll get medicine to treat the symptoms.
It’s rare to have a serious side effect. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.
Rare events after getting the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccineThere have been very rare reports of blood clots, low levels of platelets (these help your blood to clot), and bleeding after getting the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine.
Research is still ongoing to find out more about the risk of these events after getting the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine.
If you have any of the following symptoms within 42 days of being immunized, get medical help
There have also been very rare reports of capillary leak syndrome (CLS) within the first few days after getting the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine. In some reported cases, the person had a history of CLS. CLS is a serious condition that causes fluid to leak from the small blood vessels (capillaries). This causes sudden swelling of the arms and legs, sudden weight gain, and low blood pressure causing you to feel faint. CLS can be fatal. Get medical help
right away if you have any of these symptoms.
Research is still ongoing to find out more about the risk of CLS after getting AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine.
You may not be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine if you:
Check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Be sure to talk to your doctor
before you get a COVID-19 vaccine if you:
Always tell your healthcare provider if you have allergies or if you've had a side effect from a vaccine in the past.
What is COVID-19? COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that’s caused a worldwide pandemic. The virus causes an infection in the lungs and airways and is a type of respiratory illness. Symptoms may include:
Most people have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. But if you’re an older adult or have other health problems, you can get very sick and may need care in a hospital. In serious cases, COVID-19 can cause a type of lung infection called pneumonia. Pneumonia makes it hard to breathe without help and can even lead to death.
COVID symptoms for a list of all symptoms that may be related to COVID-19.
How does it spread? COVID-19 spreads:
It’s important to know that you and others can spread COVID-19 before symptoms start.
ahs.ca/covid to find out more.
How can I prevent COVID-19 from spreading? To prevent COVID-19 from spreading:
If you think you’ve had contact with COVID-19 or have symptoms, take the COVID-19 Self-Assessment at
Current as of: October 6, 2021
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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