If you have a fever or any other symptoms of COVID‑19, or if you have received instructions from Public Health to self-isolate because of COVID‑19, you must postpone getting vaccinated.
People 5 years of age and older can get the COVID‑19 vaccines unless contraindicated.
When a person is given the COVID‑19 vaccine, the body prepares its defence against the virus. A natural immune response is triggered that neutralizes the virus by producing antibodies and other defence cells.
The vaccines do not protect against colds and respiratory infections caused by other viruses, such as influenza.
Objectives of vaccination
COVID-19 vaccination is primarily aimed at reducing COVID-19 hospital admissions and deaths among people who are most at risk.
Vaccination also helps slow transmission of the virus and reduce the number of cases. Because it curbs the spread of the virus, vaccination should also help continue to provide health and social services and maintain school, sports and social activities so people can return to a normal life as soon as possible.
Many studies conducted in Québec and elsewhere have demonstrated that vaccines are very effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths after two doses of vaccine. For the Omicron variant, which is more contagious than the Delta variant, our experts recommend that people age 18 or older receive a COVID-19 booster dose to increase their protection. See the COVID-19 booster dose section.
The Omicron variant spreads more easily than the other variants. Vaccinated people might also spread the infection if they are infected by the Omicron variant. In this context, it remains essential to maintain the basic health instructions (physical distancing, mask wearing and handwashing).
Description of the vaccines
Where to get vaccinated
Go the Get vaccinated against COVID-19 page for the procedure to get vaccinated.
COVID-19 vaccination is free and conducted by the Québec Immunization Program. Doses are not available on the private market.
Any electronic communication or call offering to get vaccinated for a fee is fraudulent. You never have to provide your social insurance number (SIN) or your credit card number to get vaccinated.
Make your appointment on the Get vaccinated against COVID-19 page to protect yourself from fraud. If you believe you have been the victim of a fraudulent communication, please notify the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre .
Public health and regulatory authorities in several countries, including Canada, are actively working to ensure that the vaccines available are safe and effective against COVID‑19.
Go to Vaccine development process page to learn more about the steps required to make a vaccine.
Safety of the vaccines
The COVID‑19 vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe. The vaccines were tested on a large number of people and have met all the requirements for approval. They must meet the same quality and safety standards as any other vaccine used in Canada.
Once a vaccine has been approved, its safety is continuously monitored in order to detect very rare adverse reactions, if any. Canada and Québec have a very comprehensive system to ensure the safety of vaccines after they have been brought to market. Any unusual adverse effects reported are examined by experts to quickly identify any safety problems.
For each COVID-19 vaccine offered in Québec, 30,000 people are recruited and monitored to document any side effects severe enough to result in a medical consultation within 7 days of vaccination. All situations reported will be investigated. The frequency of side effects will be compared between people who have been vaccinated and people who have not been vaccinated and with their frequency in the three years prior to vaccination.
For the study, you will be asked for your email address when you make an appointment to get vaccinated. If you are selected to participate, you will receive an email from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to complete a survey to monitor any unusual clinical signs or symptoms that occur after COVID-19 vaccination. You will not be asked for any identifying information. If you have an unusual clinical sign or symptom, you will be contacted again and may be asked to provide some information, such as your date of birth or health insurance number.
The vaccine you will be given will be determined based on available doses, expert recommendation and a clinical assessment at the time of vaccination. If you have concerns about the vaccine you are offered, discuss it with the health care professional responsible for doing your assessment when you arrive at the vaccination site. You can then make an informed decision.
It’s important to get all scheduled doses for the best protection against variants. All the available vaccines offer good protection against severe COVID-19 resulting in death or hospitalization.
For more information on the steps taken by Health Canada to evaluate vaccines, visit the page Regulating vaccines for human use in Canada on the Government of Canada website.
Administration of the 2nd dose
To find out more about the administration of the 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, go to the page Second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Administering an additional dose
For some people, three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are necessary. For further information, see the Additional or booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine page.
Vaccination for people who have had COVID-19
For people who have had COVID-19 confirmed by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test performed at a screening clinic, a single dose of the vaccine is required. The infection triggers or increases the immune system's response the same way a dose of the vaccine does. It would be preferable to wait eight weeks or more after diagnosis before being vaccinated.
For COVID-19 cases confirmed by epidemiological link (who have been contacted by their region’s public health authority to advise them of their status) or who have only received a positive result for a serological test or rapid test at home, two vaccine doses are necessary. The epidemiological link, serological test or rapid test at home cannot confirm beyond doubt that a person has had COVID-19. The administration of two doses of the vaccine is necessary to ensure that the person is adequately protected against COVID-19.
A person who has had COVID-19 may choose to receive a second dose of the vaccine. Giving two doses of vaccine to someone who has had COVID-19 is not dangerous.
For people who had COVID-19 when they were given the first dose of the vaccine or in the days after they were vaccinated, two doses of the vaccine are required.
For people with a weakened immune system or on dialysis, three doses of the vaccine are necessary, regardless of whether they have had COVID-19. For further information, see the Additional or booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine page.
Individuals who have already had COVID-19 and received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine may receive a booster dose if desired. See Booster dose for some people.
Vaccination for pregnant women
Vaccination for pregnant women is recommended because they are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 than women who are not pregnant. Messenger RNA vaccines such as Moderna or Pfizer are recommended since there is more data on the safety of these vaccines during pregnancy. Pregnant women can make an appointment at a vaccination clinic by consulting Get vaccinated against COVID-19.
A booster dose is also recommended for pregnant women, regardless of their age. For more information, see the Additional or booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine page.
Vaccination for travellers
Exceptionally, people who are required to get an additional dose of an RNA vaccine to travel outside the country can get one in a vaccination centre. You must make an appointment on Clic santé by selecting the COVID vaccine Troubleshooting service.
This is an exceptional measure. Each person must be properly guided to be informed of the potential risks associated with the additional dose, compared to the benefits of the planned trip.
Impacts of variants
Variants are a natural phenomenon that occurs when the virus multiplies and undergoes mutations. Most mutations are of no concern. A new variant is not necessarily more dangerous than the virus was before the mutation.
A mutation may change a virus to the point of making it unrecognizable to the immune system and making the vaccine that fights it less effective.
The available vaccines are effective against the various known variants.
Conditions for postponing vaccination
If you have a fever or any other symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have received instructions from public health to self-isolate because of COVID-19, you must postpone getting vaccinated.
Symptoms after vaccination
Some reactions may occur following vaccination:
Vaccination information for people with disabilities
Last update: January 26, 2022