People 16 years of age and older can get the COVID-19 vaccines unless contraindicated.

The vaccination is recommended as a priority for people with a higher risk of complications of COVID-19, in particular people 70 years of age and older who live in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs).

Two vaccines are currently authorized:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech's, vaccine authorized for persons age 16 and over;
  • Moderna's vaccine, authorized for persons aged 18 and over.

Research is underway to approve the vaccination for people under the age of 16.

At this time, the vaccines licensed for use consist of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), that is, they contain a strand of RNA from one of the proteins found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for COVID-19. This strand of RNA serves as a “recipe” for the immune system to produce the protein. Since RNA is fragile, it is encased in a protective bubble of fat that allows it to penetrate the body and retain its shape until it enters human cells. Once it has entered, it provides the recipe for the cells to produce the protein. Then, the immune system will produce antibodies in response to the presence of this protein, which it recognizes as a virus.

Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada are required. They are administered intramuscularly.

Vaccine efficacy 14 days after the first dose and before the second dose is more than 92%. The second dose is mainly for long-term protection. Given the current very high spread of COVID-19, administration of the second dose can be postponed to allow more people to be vaccinated.

The vaccines do not protect against colds and respiratory infections caused by other viruses, such as influenza.

Where to get vaccinated

More information will be available at the vaccination sites at a later date.

COVID-19 vaccination will be free and conducted by the Québec Immunization Program. Doses will not be available on the private market.

Any electronic communication or call offering to get vaccinated for a fee is fraudulent. If you believe you have been the victim of a fraudulent communication, please notify the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Safety and effectiveness of the vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe. The vaccines were tested on a large number of people. They have met all the requirements for approval. Vaccine efficacy 14 days after the first dose and before the second dose is more than 92%.These are thought to be 95% effective after two doses. Experts closely monitor any adverse reactions that may occur after vaccination and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

Symptoms after vaccination

The vaccinantion may cause symptoms such as redness at the injection site. Other problems may arise by chance and are unrelated to the vaccinantion, such as a cold or a gastroenteritis.

Most reactions are harmless and do not last long. Reactions are less common among people age 55 and over.

Vaccines cannot cause COVID-19 because it does not contain the SARS CoV 2 virus responsible for the disease. However, people who have been in contact with the virus in the days preceding their vaccination our in the 14 days following vaccination could still develop COVID-19. It is important to continue to apply health measures until a majority of the population has been vaccinated.

Nature and frequency of known reactions to this vaccines


Known reactions to this vaccines

In most cases
(over 50% of people)
  • Pain at the injection site
Very often
(under 50% of people)
  • Headache, fatigue, fever or shivering
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle soreness
  • Diarrhea, vomiting
  • Swollen armpit lymph nodes
(less than 10% of people)
  • Redness, swelling at the injection site
(less than 1 person in 1,000)
  • Facial swelling

What to do after vaccination

Tips to follow immediately following vaccination

Wait 15 minutes before leaving premises where vaccine is received. If an allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms will appear a few minutes after the vaccination.

If you feel side effects, immediately inform the person giving the vaccine. That person will be able to treat you immediately.

Tips to follow at home

If you experience redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, apply a cold, damp compress on it.

Use medication for fever or discomfort if needed.

When to seek medical help

See a doctor if one of the following applies to you:

  • You experience serious and unusual symptoms
  • Your symptoms get worse instead of improving
  • Your symptoms last over 48 hours

If you have symptoms of COVID‑19, use the COVID‑19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool to find out if you need to get tested.