What You Need to Know: COVID-19 Vaccination

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Vaccines represent one of our greatest public health achievements, and we are witnessing this in action during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Millions of people have been infected with the coronavirus with a significant percentage requiring hospital treatment. Sadly, many have died. But vaccines are saving us from a worse fate. Building on research that started after the first SARS outbreak, and with the coordinated effort of scientists around the world, we have several vaccines that are incredibly effective in preventing severe infection and the spread of COVID-19. For decades, Canadians have embraced vaccination to prevent infection for themselves, their families and their communities. With almost 80% of Canadians having one vaccine dose, and 50% having two, Canadians are lining up to do what is necessary to get us out of this pandemic.

Dr. Nicola Jones-Stokreef, Developmental Pediatrician, Children’s Treatment Network, reassures children, youth and families that vaccines are safe and effective. Individuals with complex medical conditions, disabilities and developmental needs are at increased risk of severe infection with COVID-19. Vaccination protects them and their loved ones.  

Families may be concerned about side effects and need to weigh the pros and cons of vaccination. Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines have an excellent safety profile. Most individuals experience some discomfort in their arm for a day or two. Some may experience low-grade flu symptoms such as headache and fatigue and occasional swelling or soreness of the glands. These side effects usually resolve quickly with a day or two of rest and symptomatic treatment with fluids and acetaminophen.

Canada has a robust system to monitor vaccine side effects so physicians like me can modify our advice to patients and their families as more information become available,” said Dr. Jones-Stokreef. “I encourage everyone to get their shot and if you have questions or concerns, speak to your health care provider. Together, we will get through this.”

Guidance on strategies that may help with vaccination for individuals with disabilities and developmental needs are available in this infographic, on this website and in this video that explains what happens at a vaccination clinic. Accommodations can be made, if needed, by contacting your local public health unit.

  • For York Region, contact Access York at 1-877-464-9675.
  • For Simcoe Muskoka, call the COVID-19 Immunization Booking Support line at 705-721-7520  or 1-877-721-7520.

Watch these short videos to help you make an informed decision.


Are the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) safe?

What are the side effects of the mRNA vaccines?

What are the concerns for children with heart conditions getting the mRNA vaccine? Or children with genetic conditions?

Should teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder get the COVID-19 vaccine?

How long does the COVID-19 vaccine last? Should my child also get their annual flu shot?

Should kids age 5 to 11 years old get the COVID-19 vaccination?