COVID-19 VACCINATION FAQs

COVID-19 VACCINATION FAQs

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

(Information updated as of May 5; please check this page regularly as information is updated frequently and may change.)

  • Those 18 years of age and older (born in 2003 or earlier) CAN REGISTER NOW

Call 1-833-838-2323 between 7 am and 7 pm to book your appointment or register online here.

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

WHO IS BEING PRIORITIZED FOR VACCINES IN POWELL RIVER?

  • AS OF MAY 4: Anyone 16 and older who is pregnant can book their vaccine now (see details below)
  • Those who are deemed Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and have received an invitation letter can book their vaccine now (see details below)

IN ADDITION

    • The COVID-19 AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine is available to those born in 1991 and earlier via local pharmacies (see details below)
    • Distribution of the AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD (AZ/SII) vaccine for front-line priority workers is starting now, and will ramp up in the coming weeks.
    • Eligible healthcare workers (see details below)
    • On May 5 Health Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in children aged 12 – 15. No details are available yet on when children 12-17 will be eligible to register for/book a vaccine, or how. We will publish more details on this page as that information becomes available.

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

Find more details here.

ANYONE WHO IS PREGNANT

All pregnant persons 16 years and older are now 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.
 

PEOPLE BORN IN 1991 AND EARLIER (AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD VACCINE)

The COVID-19 AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine is now available at the following pharmacies to those born in 1991 and earlier.

  • The Medicine Shoppe – 111-4871 Joyce Avenue – call (604) 489-5919
  • FreshCo Pharmacy – 7040 Barnet Street- book online here — call (604) 485-1233
  • Rexall – 4794 Joyce Avenue — call (604)-485-2929 – join an online waitlist here
  • Shoppers Drug Mart – 7100 Alberni St (in the Town Centre Mall)pre-register at covid-19.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en
  • Powell River Pharmacy – 4280 Joyce Avenue – call (604) 489-9272

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

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

Distribution of the AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD (AZ/SII) vaccine for front-line priority workers is starting now, and will ramp up in the coming weeks. Program distribution status will be updated as information is available.

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.

For more information, and a detailed list of eligible workers, visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/plan

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

NOTE! Healthcare workers who have not yet received their 2nd vaccination dose must sign up on the Provincial vaccine registry to be notified of the date for their second dose.

                                                                                  -0-

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.

It’s up to you whether you want a COVID-19 vaccination. Feeling worried or hesitant is completely normal when something is new. However, we can be reassured that Health Canada has a thorough approval process that ensures the safety of vaccines and medicines.

 

In some rare cases people can have a reaction after vaccination. Read more about side effects here. Getting vaccinated is important. It is the best way to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community from the virus.  Given the serious health consequences of COVID-19, the low likelihood of a serious reaction to a vaccine is outweighed by the benefits to you and your loved ones.

HOW THE VACCINATION PROCESS WORKS

Eligible parties 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

Once you have an appointment, you will be given further information about where to go for your vaccination.

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

This information will be provided when you receive your first dose.

 

Second doses will be administered by age category, similar to the way first doses are being administered. Watch this page for announcements about when you can book your booster (second) appointment.

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 16-18 (depending on specific 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.

Most COVID-19 vaccines trials have been in adults. Initially, vaccines are expected to be approved for adult use. COVID-19 is a more serious illness for adults.

Neither of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved are recommended for children until more research is conducted. 

The following are good places to find more information:

There are new variant strains of the virus from the UK and South Africa, both of which have now been identified in B.C. (in very limited numbers). Both strains are more infectious than the existing strains in our province. 

Vaccine effectiveness for these newer variations is still being studied. So far, the approved vaccines have been effective against many subtle variations of this virus. Given the very large numbers of people with COVID-19 worldwide, however, there are many opportunities for this virus to adapt. The faster we reduce the number of new cases, the better we can limit the number of variations.

While the routine COVID-19 tests (from swab or gargle) are extremely accurate, they do not specify which variation is found. The BCCDC does additional testing on about one of every 20 positive tests to find the variation of the virus. This is how we know these strains are in B.C. However, we can’t be certain exactly how many cases there are.  

Additional travel restrictions are being considered to limit the spread of more infectious variants. If they do circulate more widely, this could result in higher case numbers and longer restrictions. In the meantime, closely following the Public Health measures, including travel restrictions within the province, is still our best defence.

For more information on variants, 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.

© Powell River Division of Family Practice | Site design by Maywood Design