COVID-19 VACCINATION FAQs

COVID-19 VACCINATION FAQs

WHO CAN REGISTER TO BE VACCINATED IN POWELL RIVER AND TEXADA?

(Information updated as of June 15; please check this page regularly as information is updated frequently and may change.)

  • EVERYONE 12 YEARS AND OLDER (BORN IN 2009 OR EARLIER) CAN REGISTER NOW
Anyone 12 years or older can now register at www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca and will be notified in the coming days or weeks when they can book an appointment.
 
(If you do not have internet access you can register by phone at 1-833-838-2323.)
 

After registering watch for an email, phone call or SMS text message with more information on how to book your appointment. You may not get a notice to book your appointment on the same day you register. You will be contacted when you are eligible to book a vaccine.

(NOTE: Texada residents should identify themselves at the time of booking to access the clinic on Texada Island.)

A Special Note for Youth 12-17

Youth 12-17 will receive an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer at this time).

At this time all youth vaccinations will take place at the Complex Clinic. No written consent is required from a parent or guardian for vaccination; youth are considered a “mature minor” if a health care provider has provided them with information, has given them a chance to ask questions and believes the youth has the necessary understanding to give the consent.

Youth can register and book themselves individually with the same process used now, or parents can register their children and provide their own (parent’s/guardian’s/trusted advisor’s) contact info on registration if preferred.

Family or household units can be vaccinated together in one appointment, but each family member wanting a vaccine is asked to register before arriving at the clinic.

  • A parent/guardian/trusted adult can bring children or foster children aged 12-17 to their own existing upcoming or new appointment 
  • A parent/guardian/trusted adult can book one child a new appointment and bring all eligible children in the family to be vaccinated

To register visit www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca or phone 1-833-838-2323.

For further COVID-19 vaccine information call the local public health line (604) 485-3239 and press option 2.

Scroll down for more details about getting vaccinated if you’re pregnant, the AstraZeneca vaccine, second shots and more.

Find more details here.

ANYONE WHO IS PREGNANT

All pregnant persons 16 years and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a priority population through the provincial immunization program. If you are pregnant you are encouraged to discuss your decision to be vaccinated with your  doctor or nurse practitioner. You can find more information about planning for your vaccine here.
 
**NOTE! To access a vaccination booking, people who are pregnant are asked to register online, then phone the call centre at 1-833-838-2323 and self-identify as being pregnant.
 

AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD VACCINE

Second-dose AstraZeneca vaccine supply is now arriving at local pharmacies. People who received their first vaccine dose at a pharmacy will be contacted by that pharmacy when they are able to come in for their second dose of the vaccine.

As of May 13 AstraZeneca is no longer being offered as a first dose vaccine in B.C. Existing supply will be used for second doses for those who received AstraZeneca for their first dose.

Local pharmacies are asking members of the public who are eligible for a second dose (i.e. those who received a first dose at that particular pharmacy) to wait until they are contacted, and not to phone the pharmacy.

For the latest information about vaccines in pharmacies visit https://www.bcpharmacy.ca/resource-centre/covid-19/vaccination-locations

NOTE! At the beginning of June, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) confirmed that vaccines can safely and effectively be interchanged for first and second doses. This means that people who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine may safely receive either the same vaccine or an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine for their second dose. 

CLINICALLY EXTREMELY VULNERABLE

  • People in Powell River born in 2005 or earlier who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and who have received an invitation letter.

Call 1-833-838-2323 to book your appointment, or register online.

  1. If you are in this group and have not yet received a letter you can confirm your eligibility and register online.
  2. If the registration system doesn’t confirm your eligibility, call 1-833-838-2323.
  3. If you are still having difficulty, get in touch with your doctor or nurse practitioner.

To determine if you are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, and for more information, visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/cev

FRONT-LINE PRIORITY WORKERS

For details on vaccination for front-line priority workers visit http://www.vch.ca/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine/covid-19-vaccine-for-frontline-and-essential-workers

If you are a front-line priority worker, do not call your local health authority.

All vaccine appointments will be organized by employers. Appointment information will be communicated clearly and directly to each sector and employer.

HEALTHCARE WORKERS

Any healthcare provider who is eligible according to the list below, but has not yet been invited to book an appointment should contact their professional college or employer for more information.

Vancouver Coastal Health has expanded eligibility to include the following healthcare professionals providing direct patient care in acute and community health-care settings who have not yet received their first dose of vaccine:

  • Community primary care providers who are seeing patients in person (nurse practitioners, medical practitioners, other patient care staff) and office staff (including medical office assistants) working in these settings
  • Laboratory staff working in public health and private laboratories
  • Midwives and office staff working in these settings
  • Paramedics
  • Pharmacists and pharmacy staff
  • Public and community health program staff (regional, provincial, federal)
  • Research staff exposed to COVID-19 patients
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Registered Massage Therapists
  • Rehabilitation therapists
  • Podiatrists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Chiropractors
  • Acupuncturists
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners
  • Dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians and their office staff
  • Occupational therapists
  • Canadian Blood Services Staff
 
Are you wondering if you need to register online (at www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca) for your booster (2nd) vaccine shot?
 
  • If you registered online for your first shot you will be automatically notified when it is time for you to get your second shot (no need to register again).
  • If you booked your first appointment by phone and received your first shot before the online registration system was up (before April 6) you need to register online to be notified for your 2nd shot.
  • If you are a healthcare worker and registered for your first shot through your employer (but not online) you need to register online to be notified for your 2nd shot.
  • If you received your first Astrazeneca shot through a local pharmacy you need to register online if you’d prefer to receive an mRNA vaccine for your second shot.
  • If you are a frontline worker and registered for your first shot through your employer (but not online) you need to register online to be notified for your second shot.
     
PLEASE NOTE! If you don’t have access to the internet and you registered for your first shot by phone you will receive a letter about your second shot if you cannot register online.
Register online at www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca or by phone at 1-833-838-2323.

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Thank you to everyone in our community for your patience. Please continue to do all you can to prevent the spread of the virus, and to keep you and your loved ones safe. This means reducing non-essential travel, wearing a mask when you’re out, staying six feet from others, limiting contact to those living in your household, and washing your hands frequently.

Below is an extensive list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. Click on these links for questions and answers for these general topics:

 

Volunteers Needed For Local Vaccine Clinics

As the public COVID-19 vaccination campaign ramps up across the province, Vancouver Coastal Health is looking for volunteers to help in communities, including Powell River.

Download the application form here.

           —O—

Do you need help in another language?

The BC government provides translation services in more than 120 languages.

Call 1-888-268-4319 between 7:30 am and 5 pm.

           —O—

Are you deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing?

An appointment booking line is available to Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard-of-Hearing through 

Canada Video Relay Service or 

Teletypewriter (TTY).

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

VACCINE AVAILABILITY

See the page above for the most current information on who is eligible for a vaccine in the Powell River Local Health Area.

B.C.’s vaccination strategy has been developed based on recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), and is focused on protecting those most vulnerable to severe illness first. This includes immunizing those who work amongst vulnerable populations.

Learn more about BC’s eligibility approach here.

This page is updated regularly with information about which groups are currently eligible to be vaccinated. You can also see our updates on our facebook page @prdivisionoffamilypractice.

No. The COVID-19 vaccine will be free for everyone in British Columbia who is eligible to receive it. 

No. There are limited supplies of the vaccines available and there are currently no vaccines available for private purchase.

Whether to get a COVID-19 vaccination is a personal choice. Feeling worried or hesitant is completely normal when something is new. However, Health Canada has a thorough approval process that ensures the safety of vaccines and medicines. To read more about that process, click here.

 

In some rare cases people can have a reaction after vaccination. Read more about side effects here.

 

Getting vaccinated is important. As well as protecting you from serious illness, getting vaccinated reduces the chance of spreading the virus to others. This helps protect our whole community. We expect to see more waves of COVID-19 in the future unless the majority of Canadians are protected through vaccination. 

HOW THE VACCINATION PROCESS WORKS

Everyone 18 years and older can now register for vaccination online, or call 1-833-838-2323 (or someone can call on your behalf).

The VCH vaccine appointment booking line is open daily from 7 am to 7 pm. When you phone, please have the following ready:

  • pen and paper
  • personal health number
  • full name
  • date of birth
  • postal code
  • phone number where you can best be reached

After registering watch for an email, phone call or SMS text message with more information on how to book your appointment. You may not get a notice to book your appointment on the same day you register. You will be contacted by email, text message or phone when you are eligible to book a vaccine.

Most vaccines require two doses, spaced at least 3 weeks apart.

If you registered online at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca for your first shot you will be notified by text or email when it is your turn to get your second shot.

 

If you booked your first shot over the phone, or via any other channel, you must register at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca to be notified when you can book your second shot.

 

Please note! If you don't have access to the internet and you registered for your first vaccine by phone you will receive a letter telling you when you can book your second shot.

 

Second doses will be administered by age category, similar to the way first doses are being administered.

When you get vaccinated, you will have the option to receive a paper and digital copy of your immunization record card. We recommend registering for Health Gateway, where your digital immunization record card will be available only after you receive the vaccine.

 

Note: Health Gateway is not a source of vaccine or immunization information. 

 

Your immunization record will be also be stored in the online provincial database, accessible to you, public health and your doctor.

 

See more information on this page.

Not at present. For information on vaccines currently approved in Canada visit this page.

HOW THE VACCINE WORKS/EFFICACY

No, influenza vaccines protect against viruses that cause influenza, often called the flu. The vaccine does not protect against other viruses or bacteria that cause common colds, stomach flu, or COVID-19. BCCDC research has found that the influenza vaccine does not increase the risk of coronavirus.

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.
  • Some of the COVID-19 vaccines use a new technology and are called mRNA vaccines. This includes both the currently approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. They use a short genetic (RNA) instruction synthetically produced in a laboratory and put it into the body in a particle. Your body will turn the RNA into a single protein from the virus. These proteins are recognized as foreign and will create an immune response. They teach your body how to recognize and fight future infections. These RNA instructions DO NOT interact with your own genetic code (DNA), and are in fact broken down rapidly within days after the immune system has been primed to recognize and create antibodies against the viral protein.

Learn more about getting the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines in B.C. and here.

This page on Health Canada’s site offers information on the different types of vaccines that have been approved and those in development.

We are still learning how our immune systems respond to COVID-19. We are also learning how long immunity lasts after getting COVID-19 or after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Even though some people will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine soon, it is still very important to follow public health orders, wash your hands, physical distance, wear a mask, keep your bubbles small, reduce non-essential travel, and stay home when sick. These layers of protection are still essential for all people in B.C.

We still do not know how long immunity lasts after getting COVID-19 or after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but early data suggests that the vaccination response is very strong. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

Yes. While we know from the studies so far that vaccination is very effective at preventing COVID-19 symptoms, no vaccine is 100% protective. Importantly, while we expect that vaccination will decrease transmission (the ability to spread the virus to others), we do not yet know just how effective this will be. As more studies are done in the coming weeks this information should become clearer.

 

It will likely be many months before it is safe to let down our defenses. It is still very important to follow public health orders, wash your hands, physically distance, keep your bubbles small, reduce non-essential travel, wear a mask indoors in public spaces, and stay home when sick. None of these layers of protection are enough on their own, but combined they are powerful protection for yourself and for those around you.

The answer to this question is still unknown. Vaccination is likely to reduce, but not eliminate, the chances of carrying or spreading this virus unknowingly. Until we do have the answer, it is still very important to follow public health recommendations.

Herd immunity occurs when enough people are immune to a virus through natural infection or vaccination to eliminate widespread transmission - occasional cases or clusters might still occur, but it would not cause a pandemic.

 

The exact percentage of people required for herd immunity from COVID-19 is not known, but based on information from other viruses it is expected to occur when roughly 60 to 70% of the population is vaccinated. 

 

When people in British Columbia decide to get the COVID-19 vaccine, they are not only protecting themselves from the virus, they are also protecting everyone around them.

VACCINE SAFETY

Health Canada has conducted a rigorous scientific review of the available medical evidence to assess the safety of the vaccines. No major safety concerns have been identified.

 

Several vaccines being developed use the same technology as vaccines that have already been used successfully for other diseases. The development of vaccines is a multi-step process, and pharmaceutical companies are completing many steps simultaneously as well as preparing for large-scale production before receiving approval due to the urgency of the pandemic. Approval is still a rigorous process, with safety approvals not being changed. Health Canada instead shortened the administrative and organizational process. The requirements for safety data in the clinical trials are as strict as the regular processes.

 

There is always a small chance of side effects, no matter the drug or vaccine you’re taking. Serious side effects are assessed in clinical trials. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccine through these trials, and many millions more now in general populations worldwide. 

 

Once the vaccine is approved and begins to be used in a larger population, surveillance and evaluation continues to identify any side effects that are less frequent. This happens for all vaccines.

To watch a short video on how vaccines are developed, click here.

 

For more information on vaccine development and safety, the best sources are:

Any drug or vaccine can have a small chance of side effects. Given the serious health consequences of COVID-19, for most people the low likelihood of a serious reaction to a vaccine is outweighed by the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine, which has shown to be very effective at protecting people from COVID-19.

COVID-19 immunization is being carefully documented. B.C. will closely monitor vaccine safety, uptake and effectiveness. Once a vaccine is approved and begins to be used, vaccine safety is continuously monitored to identify serious adverse events.  If these events happen, authorities investigate to identify whether the vaccine is directly responsible for the adverse effect. If required, a vaccine can be withdrawn from the market and not used.

In clinical trials, those who received the vaccines were about 95% less likely to become sick with COVID-19. When you get immunized, you help protect others as well, including those who are unable to get the vaccine.

 

However, it will likely be many months before it is safe to let our defenses down. Even once vaccinated it is still very important to follow public health orders, wash your hands, physically distance, keep your bubbles small, reduce non-essential travel, wear a mask indoors in public spaces, and stay home when sick.

The exact answer to this question is still unknown, but we expect vaccination will reduce transmission. Vaccines appear highly effective at preventing the symptoms and complications of COVID-19, which reduces coughing, sneezing, and other droplets that can spread this virus more widely. 

 

Based on what we know so far, people who get infected with coronavirus but never show symptoms (asymptomatic) can still spread this virus, but it appears they do so at a much lower rate. We don’t yet know for sure how well the vaccines prevent asymptomatic infection, which means that some vaccinated people could theoretically still transmit the virus, though likely to a much lesser degree. 

 

Important note: asymptomatic people (those who are infected but never develop symptoms) are different from pre-symptomatic people (those who don’t have symptoms today but develop them within a few days). Pre-symptomatic people can be highly contagious for 24-48 hours before they develop symptoms, which is why contact tracers look for close contacts in the days before someone gets ill with COVID-19.

 

For the foreseeable future, it is still very important that we all follow Public Health orders, wash our hands, physical distance, keep our bubbles very small, reduce non-essential travel, wear a mask when needed and stay home when sick.

People should not be vaccinated if they:

  • are under the age of 12-18 (depending on vaccine type) until more research is conducted
  • have received antibodies for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19
  • have received a vaccine in the last 14 days
  • have symptoms of COVID-19 
  • have allergies to any of the ingredients in vaccines  (the most common of these is PEG, which is similar to polysorbate). See Pfizer vaccine ingredients and Moderna vaccine ingredients.

People MAY receive the vaccine after discussing it with their health care provider if they:

  • have an immune system weakened by disease or medical treatment
  • have an autoimmune disease
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding (see more information here)
  • those with a history of anaphylaxis, but not to vaccine components

Studies suggest that people may experience symptoms after COVID-19 vaccination similar to those which might be experienced after a flu shot. These typically last 1-2 days and are generally minor. Many people have no symptoms, but common symptoms after a vaccination might include:

  • pain at the injection site (shoulder)
  • fatigue 
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • chills
  • redness or swelling at injection site
  • fever 

As with all vaccines, there’s a chance that there will be a serious side effect, but these are very rare. 

A serious side effect might be something like a severe allergic reaction (e.g. anaphylaxis). Anaphylaxis was not noted in the vaccine trials (over 70,000 people), but those with a history of this condition were excluded from study. The rate of anaphylaxis in the general population,  based on U.S. data, is estimated at roughly 1 per 100,000 (out of every 100,000 people vaccinated, one person will have this reaction). If you have had anaphylaxis in the past you should contact your healthcare provider to discuss if it is safe for you to get the vaccine.

 

For more information see this aftercare handout from BC Centre for Disease Control.

There is currently no vaccine supply at local pharmacies, but more AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to become available again soon. As of May 13 AstraZeneca is no longer being offered as a first dose vaccine in B.C. Existing supply will be used for second doses for those who received AstraZeneca for their first dose.

 

NOTE! Those who have already had their first dose may choose to get AstraZeneca for their second dose as well, or to receive an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine instead. Further data on the efficacy of mixing vaccines is expected in the coming weeks from current trials in Britain.

 

For more information about getting a second dose of AstraZeneca visit this page on immunizebc.ca.

 

If you have already received a COVISHIELD vaccine and have questions about the signs and symptoms of the rare but serious blood clots after vaccination, please refer to Vaccination Aftercare

On May 5 Health Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children 12 to 15 years of age. According to Health Canada, “this is the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized in Canada for use in children and marks a significant milestone in Canada’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In December 2020 the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for use in people 16 years and older (though only those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable 16-18 are eligible to register for/book a vaccine at this time). The three other vaccines approved for use in Canada (Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson) are still only authorized for use in people 18 years of age and older.

According to Health Canada: “After completing a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, the Department has determined that this vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 when used in children between 12 and 15 years of age.”

You can read Health Canada’s statement and all the details here.

 

Youth 12-17 (born in 2009 or earlier) are now eligible to register for and book their COVID-19 vaccination at www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca. Children 12-17 will receive an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer at this time).
 
At this time all youth vaccinations will take place at the Complex Clinic. No written consent is required from a parent or guardian for vaccination; youth are considered a “mature minor” if a health care provider has provided them with information, has given them a chance to ask questions and believes the youth has the necessary understanding to give the consent.

Youth can register and book themselves individually with the same process used now, or parents can register their children and provide their own (parent’s/guardian’s/trusted advisor's) contact info on registration if preferred.

Family or household units can be vaccinated together in one appointment, but each family member wanting a vaccine is asked to register before arriving at the clinic.

  • A parent/guardian/trusted adult can bring children or foster children aged 12-17 to their own existing upcoming or new appointment 
  • A parent/guardian/trusted adult can book one child a new appointment and bring all eligible children in the family to be vaccinated

To register visit www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca or phone 1-833-838-2323.

The following are good places to find more information:

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control,

 

"Viruses change over time and can lead to new versions or variants. Some variants of COVID-19, known as Variants of Concern can spread more easily, cause more serious illness and may be less impacted by current vaccines."

 

To read the most current information about COVID-19 variants in B.C. visit this page.

GETTING VACCINATED

Public vaccinations for people in eligible age groups are taking place on the upper level of the Powell River Recreation Complex (in the Complex Clinic).

 

There is also a vaccine clinic taking place on Texada Island at Gillies Bay Community Hall – 4913 Gillies Bay, Texada Island, B.C.

 

Residents of Texada should identify themselves as such when they book their appointment.

 

For more information visit http://www.vch.ca/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine (scroll down for information about the Sunshine Coast).

 

Vaccinations are by appointment only.

A qualified healthcare provider will administer your vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine is a small  injection, usually given in the large muscle of the shoulder. This is similar to a flu shot or other vaccination. 

 

For optimal protection, a second (booster) dose is given at least 3 weeks after the first shot. It is important not to receive the booster dose too early because the first response needs time to take effect. To establish best protection you must get both doses of the vaccine. 

 

When you go for your first injection your healthcare provider will advise you what steps you need to take to get the second dose. It is important to keep a record of all immunizations you receive. Be sure to bring that record when returning for your second dose.

COVID-19 vaccines are no more painful than any other vaccination. Most people describe the sensation as uncomfortable rather than painful.

This After Care Sheet from the BC Centre for Disease Control provides all the information you need, including what to do right after getting the vaccine, and what to expect in the days after you are vaccinated.

As of March 15, Vancouver Coastal Health will be offering a public vaccination site located on the upper level of the Powell River Recreation Complex.

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