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COVID-19 Vaccine: Frequently Asked Questions

Audio file
JAN 19
Luke Macleod from JBCCS speaks with Dr. Colleen Fuller
• Update on contact tracing investigation
• What does it mean to recover from a COVID-19 infection
• Why vaccination is an extra layer of protection, but does not replace precautionary measures (physical distancing, wearing a mask, handwashing).
Remote video URL


How can I get my COVID-19 vaccine?

  • The Cree Health Board received 2nd dose supplies of the Moderna vaccine in early April.
  • The vaccines were delivered to communities in Eeyou Istchee on April 5.  
  • CMCs in each community will open their drop-in vaccination sites starting Tuesday, April 6. 
  • Once the vaccination sites open, people who still haven’t received their 1st dose will also be able to get vaccinated on site.


What is the recommended delay between the 1st dose and 2nd dose?

  • Quebec’s recommended Moderna vaccination schedule is the 2nd dose is given up to 16 weeks after the 1st dose.
  •  People who have received the 1st dose are protected from severe forms of the COVID-19 disease.
  • The 2nd dose increases that layer of protection, once people receive it.
  • Vaccination schedules (timing of doses) often change as more research is done and more knowledge is gained.
  • Precautionary measures, like vaccination, physical distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand-washing, will continue to protect us from COVID-19 and its variants.


Is the Moderna vaccine effective against the variants?

  • So far, our knowledge is that current COVID-19 vaccines, like the Moderna vaccine, provide some protection against variants.
  • However, the effectiveness may be reduced for some variants including the South African variant. 
  • Scientists are now working to better understand the effectiveness of current vaccines, including the Moderna one, against the most important variants. 
  • For now, vaccines remain the most effective measure of protecting yourself against symptomatic and severe COVID-19, including the disease caused by the variants.
  • Precautionary measures, like vaccination, physical distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand-washing, will continue to protect us from COVID-19 variants.


What side effects should people expect when they get the 2nd dose of the Moderna vaccine?

  • Symptoms like pain at the injection site, fatigue, fever, and chills are possible after vaccination, and are proof that our body is responding to the vaccine.
  • These reactions are usually mild or moderate and clear up within a few days.
  • Most people have stronger reactions to the 2nd dose than the 1st dose. Some people have no reaction at all.
  • Side effects can be reduced by taking Tylenol (acetaminophen).
  • Severe allergic reactions are rare.
  • To date, no serious adverse events have been reported with the Moderna vaccine.


Do I need to still wear a mask after I am vaccinated?

  • Yes. Even after being vaccinated, we recommend you continue to respect precautionary measures in place in your community to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • It takes time for your body to build immunity after vaccination – about 2-3 weeks after the 1st dose.
  • After the 2nd dose, your body builds maximum protection after one week. We do not know how long this protection will last, since this is a new disease and new vaccine.
  • Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before changing recommendations about precautionary measures like wearing masks, limiting gatherings, and physical distancing.
  • It will take time to vaccinate everyone who wants it, to assess how effective the vaccine will be, and how long the immune protection it gives will last.


Is the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine safe? Is it effective?

  • COVID-19 vaccines will save lives.
  • The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 infection.
  • Health Canada approved the Moderna vaccine for people aged 18 and older on December 23, 2020.
  • COVID-19 vaccines that are approved for use have already been tested in large studies, with thousands of people of different ages, and with different medical conditions.
  • As the COVID-19 vaccines roll out, researchers will continue to monitor people closely.


More answers to your questions

Answers to your questions: Prevention, what to do if you get sick, travel advice, elders, children, mental health, and policy recommendations.

Wiichihiiwaauwin (Mental Health) Helpline

Service available 24/7. Cree speakers and Elders are available upon request


The video below contains information that has since been updated. Breastfeeding women and people with suppressed immune systems are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For the most updated information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below.

Remote video URL

Navigate to chapters in the video for specific questions and answers. 

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