Answers to your questions about how the COVID-19 vaccine works.
- A vaccine trains the immune system to fight a certain bacteria or virus to prevent us from getting sick from it.
- There are different types of vaccines, but they all work to strengthen our body’s natural defenses.
- When a virus invades the body, it multiplies and attacks, causing an infection. The first time the body encounters a virus, it can take many days to make and use the virus-fighting tools needed to beat the infection.
- The immune system remembers what it learned about the virus and how to protect the body in the future.
- Vaccines imitate an infection so that our body can be prepared if and when it encounters the virus in the future.
- The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines are the first time that messenger RNA (mRNA) knowledge will be used widely. This knowledge has been studied by researchers for many years.
- mRNA is like a messenger that tells your body how to make some of the proteins it needs to stop the COVID-19 virus from staying in your body.
- Once you are vaccinated, your body’s immune system will activate and start producing fighter cells and antibodies against COVID-19.
- This is harmless and there is no possible way that our DNA can be changed.
- These vaccines do not contain the live virus and cannot give us COVID-19.
Learn about all of the approved COVID-19 vaccines in Canada here: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/covid19-industry/drugs-vaccines-treatments/vaccines.html
Yes. There are several steps involved in approving a vaccine in Canada.
- Health Canada has to test the vaccine to see if it provides enough immunity (or protection) against the virus.
- Vaccines are also tested rigorously for safety and possible side effects. 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.
You can watch a video about this process here: COVID-19: How vaccines are developed (video) - Canada.ca
- Health Canada also continues to monitor the safety of vaccines closely, even after they become widely available.
- Canada is recognized globally for its high standards of safety and monitoring of drugs and vaccines.
- All COVID-19 vaccines that will be used in Canada are safe.
Yes, evidence shows us that vaccines provide individual protection, especially against severe forms of the COVID-19 disease.
- Vaccination can also protect large portions of the population from becoming infected. It is very important to remember that no vaccine can protect everyone completely.
- In the big trial run, the Moderna vaccine has been about 94% effective after 2 doses are taken, which is promising.
- Even the first dose offers good protection from severe forms of the COVID-19 disease.
- The 2nd dose increases that layer of protection, once people receive it.
- All people in Eeyou Istchee who are eligible for the vaccine will eventually get two (2) doses of the vaccine for long-term protection.
- A vaccine’s effectiveness depends on many factors, like storage, temperature, dosage, and the person being vaccinated.
- As the COVID-19 vaccines roll-out, researchers will continue to monitor people who participated in the early vaccine studies. Public health authorities will also monitor people who are vaccinated in this next phase.
- Ongoing research and monitoring will provide a clearer picture of the vaccine’s effectiveness, and what kind of protection it provides.
- Experts say the COVID-19 vaccines already developed and approved, like the Moderna vaccine, will likely work against the currently identified variants of concern of the coronavirus.
- So far, our knowledge is that current COVID-19 vaccines, like the Moderna vaccine, provide some protection against variants of concern.
- However, the effectiveness may be reduced for some variants including the South African variant.
- Scientists are now working to better understand the effectiveness of currently authorized 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.
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine contains:
- messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)
- lipids (SM-102)
- polyethylene glycol (PEG) 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol (DMG)*
- 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC)
- tromethamine hydrochloride
- acetic acid
- sodium acetate
*People who have had a proven severe allergic reaction (Anaphylaxis) to any product containing Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) or Tromethamine should not get the Moderna vaccine.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine contains:
messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)
lipids: ALC-0315 = ((4-hydroxybutyl) azanediyl) bis (hexane-6,1-diyl) bis (2-hexyldecanoate), ALC-0159 = 2 - [(polyethylene glycol) -2000] -N, N -ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine and cholesterol;
potassium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, sodium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate and sucrose;
the diluent consisting of sterile water and sodium chloride.
If you have an allergy to polyethyleneglycol, you would be referred to an allergist. Someone with any history of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) to any vaccine or any injectable medication would be reviewed by the Public Health team to make sure that it is safe for them to receive the vaccine
- Vaccines provide an important layer of protection for people. They work with our body’s immune system to get us ready to fight off the virus and not get sick if we are exposed to it.
- We all have to continue with efforts to reduce our chances of being exposed to the virus in the first place, and reduce the risk of spreading the virus to other people.
- Prevention measures such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, and frequent hand washing help reduce our chances of getting the virus from a sick person.
- The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were the first approved COVID-19 vaccines for use in Canada.
- All approved COVID-19 vaccines in Canada are safe and effective.
- The Moderna vaccine can be stored easily and does not require super-cold transportation like the Pfizer vaccine. This means it is more accessible for our communities.
- Learn about all of the approved COVID-19 vaccines in Canada here: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/covid19-industry/drugs-vaccines-treatments/vaccines.html
- Moderna is a U.S. company based in Massachusetts that began working on a COVID-19 vaccine in January 2020, based on previous coronavirus research.
- Their vaccine was approved by Health Canada on December 23, 2020 after being rigorously reviewed for safety and effectiveness.
- The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was tested with more than 30,000 volunteers before it was approved for public use.
- The vaccine continues to be monitored while it is distributed.