A health emergency can be declared when a threat to the health of the population demands the immediate application of certain measures. It empowers the Québec government and the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux to implement an array of measures to protect the health of the population.
The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux could, for example, promptly purchase equipment or conclude the necessary contracts to protect the health of the population.
If nothing is done, the COVID-19 pandemic could spread very quickly with a very high number of people requiring admission to hospital over a very short period of time. Preventive measures “flatten the curve”, which means slowing and stretching out the spread of the virus over a longer period of time. As a result, the healthcare system will not be overwhelmed by the number of hospital admissions and COVID-19 patients will receive appropriate care.
Listen to the radio or watch television and read newspapers. The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux will be providing health guidelines for the public to follow and information about where to get treatment.
Always follow government advisories and instructions. Advisories and instructions may change as the situation unfolds.
To learn how to recognize a credible source of information, go to the page How to recognize a reliable source of information on health.
No. There is no evidence that the virus spreads through blood.
However, people who have flu-like symptoms (cough, sneezing, fever), who have COVID-19 or who are waiting for a COVID‑19 test result must stay home. This means they cannot give blood.
People who work or live with a person who has COVID‑19 or who is waiting for a result may only give blood 14 days after the date the person recovered. If the test shows that the person does not have COVID‑19, anyone who has had contact with the person may give blood.
Anyone who has recovered from COVID‑19 must wait 28 days from the date they recovered before giving blood.
For more information about the criteria for donating blood, go to the page Who Can Donate? on Héma‑Québec’s website.
Travellers entering Canada by air must stay in a government-authorized hotel for 3 days at their own expense.
Travellers entering Canada by land may go directly to a place of quarantine if deemed appropriate. People arriving in Canada without a suitable place to quarantine will be directed to a designated federal quarantine facility for the entire 14-day quarantine period or isolation for a minimum of 14 days if they have symptoms or test positive.
The Gouvernement du Québec suggests that individuals who are abroad come home if possible.
The Government of Canada in its Travel Advice and Advisories section recommends that individuals who are abroad find out about the commercial options avilable to them to return to Canada and to return sooner than planned if such options become more limited.
The Gouvernement du Québec is asking Quebecers to cancel non-essential trips.
If you decide to travel anyway, you are advised to consult the Travel Advice and Advisories section on the Government of Canada site. You must also self-isolate for 14 days when you return.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus disease, you will feel tired and weak. Rest will help you fight the disease. Limit your contact with other people until the symptoms have resolved. You can resume your activities when your condition allows.
It is important to drink often because fever makes you sweat and lose a lot of fluids. At least 1.5 litres of fluids per day is recommended. Have hot or cold or drinks, whichever you prefer. Avoid alcoholic beverages or beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea and soft drinks. Alcohol and caffeine will make you urinate and increase fluid loss (dehydration).
Watch for the following signs of dehydration:
- sensation of extreme thirst;
- dry mouth and tongue;
- infrequent or dark urine;
- dizziness, confusion and headaches.
Complications of COVID-19 can develop a few days after symptoms first appear. If symptoms become more acute, you must go to the emergency room immediately or, if you need help, call 911. Watch for the following signs of a deterioration:
- body temperature over 38°C (100.4°F);
- persistent or increasing difficulty breathing;
- drowsiness, confusion, disorientation or difficulty staying awake;
- no urine for 12 hours;
- fever in a baby under 3 months of age.
To protect people around you, this is what you must do until your symptoms (fever, cough, fatigue, etc.) have resolved:
- Stay in a separate room to avoid contaminating your family;
- Sleep and eat alone in your room;
- Use a separate bathroom;
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, ideally with a tissue. Spit into a tissue. Wash your hands afterwards;
- If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow or upper arm;
- Put used tissues into a garbage bag in a trash can with a lid. Keep used tissues out of reach of children;
- Do not have visitors to your home.
Good hygiene and prevention practices are explained and illustrated in the Self-care Guide.
In addition, please consult the document Procedure to Follow for People with COVID-19 in Isolation at Home .
The virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19) can live on objects and surfaces. It can survive for:
- 3 hours on objects with dry surfaces;
- 6 days on objects with wet surfaces.
It is important to clean countertops, washbasins, door handles and any surfaces that are frequently touched by hands. Cleaning and disinfecting are very effective at eliminating the virus.
- For cleaning, use soap and water or household cleaning products.
- For disinfecting, use a bleach solution or a disinfectant. A solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water is recommended, that is, 10 mL of bleach in 90 mL of water.
If you are sick, your bed linen, towels, clothes and dishes can be washed with those of other household members using regular detergent.
Over-the-counter medications can be used to relieve the symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Before using, read the labels carefully and do not take more than the recommended dose. You are strongly advised to ask your pharmacist for advice before using over-the-counter medications if you have symptoms. Do not take products that contain the same ingredients at the same time, such as Tylenol® and Tylenol® Sinus. If you have health problems, ask your pharmacist for advice or call Info-Santé 811 before taking over-the-counter medications.
Taking anti-inflammatories may make coronavirus disease (COVID-19) worse, but this information is based on clinical observations and has not been confirmed or disproven. According to some recommendations, ibuprofen should not be taken by people who have COVID-19 to relieve fever. Advil® and Motrin® belong to this drug class. If you are already taking anti-inflammatories and you test positive for COVID-19, speak to your pharmacist, doctor or specialized nurse practitioner.
Fever is a defence mechanisms that helps fight infection. Acetaminophen is recommended for the relief of fever and discomfort, unless you are advised otherwise by a health professional or are allergic to this medication.
Fever is defined as follows:
- in children 0-5 years old: 38.5°C (101.3°F) and above (rectal temperature);
- in children 6 years and older: 38.1°C (100.6°F) and above (oral temperature);
- in adults: 38°C (100.4°F) and above (oral temperature);
- in older adults: 37.8°C (100°F) and above (oral temperature);
- or 1.1°C above the person's usual value.
If you are worried, do not hesitate to ask for or accept help. It is important to talk about it with your family and friends.
For home care, you can also call 211 or ask your CLSC to connect you with home care services.
For food assistance, visit the Food Banks of Quebec website.
For information about financial support for individuals, visit the Government of Canada’s website .
For information about other support measures, go to the Québec.ca/coronavirus page.
At this time, the long-term consequences of COVID‑19 are unknown. However, people who have COVID‑19 and develop pneumonia may take a few weeks or a few months to recover. People who have severe symptoms and who are treated in intensive care may experience health effects in the longer term, such as shortness of breath when they walk quickly. Studies are underway to find out more about the possible consequences of COVID‑19.
Avoid contact with pets or animals. If you are unable to avoid contact with an animal, wear a mask if you have one. If not, use a tissue or another piece of fabric to cover your nose and mouth.
If you must look after a pet, follow these hygiene measures:
- Make sure you wash your hands before looking after the pet.
- Follow the usual hygiene measures for contact with animals. To find out more, go to the page Maladies animales transmissibles à l’humain (Diseases that can be spread from animals to humans – in French only).
- Ideally, keep pets in a room or a cage that is reserved for their use in order to limit contact and contamination of the environment.
- For pets that go outside, always use a leash or a fenced area.
If someone else has to look after your pet, choose a member of your household if possible. Tell them about the hygiene measures to follow, in particular limit contact with the pet, wash their hands before and after looking after the pet and disinfect any items the sick person touched and that the pet might have had contact with, such as toys, the leash or the poop bag holder.
These measures must be followed for 14 days after symptoms appear.
To learn more go to the page COVID-19 – Questions et réponses pour les clientèles du MAPAQ , [COVID-19 – Questions and answers for MAPAQ clients; French only] on the website of the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ).
The risk of serious complications for people with COVID-19 increases with age, but even young adults are at risk. The risk of dying from serious respiratory complications (pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome) due to COVID-19 is especially high in:
- people age 70 and older;
- people who have a weakened immune system;
- people who have a chronic disease; such as:
- heart disease;
- lung disease;
- kidney disease.
It is possible to deliver groceries to elderly people or people with a weak immune system solely if you do not display any symptoms and have not returned from a trip within less than 14 days.
It is important at all times to maintain distance between individuals, avoid direct contacts and abide by the usual rules of hygiene when you cough or sneeze.
According to the World Health Organization, pregnant women are at no greater risk than adults in general of complications related to COVID-19. Scientists note that there is no known risk of malformation or mother-to-foetus transmission. The usual preventive rules apply to pregnant women. For more information, see the Information for pregnant women page.
Yes, children are less at risk. However, they can still transmit the virus. Consequently, directives aimed at containing the virus’ spread also apply to children. For more information, see the Information for parents of children age 0 to 17 page.
Distance socializing strategies, such as using alternative ways of communicating, can help you stay connected and even become closer to family and friends.
Don’t minimize the positive effects of distance socializing, since continuing to socialize has a positive impact on your physical and psychological health at every stage of life.
For example, you can use direct or indirect means of communication or even get creative:
- Direct: phone calls, video chats, text messages, social networks, digital apps (WhatsApp, Skype, etc.) or other technologies.
- Indirect: prerecorded voice messages or videos, letters, postcards, digital photos.
- Creative: drawings, crafts, photo collages, a recording of yourself reading a children’s story, arrange a time to say hello from your balcony or the street, dinner for two by Skype.
To get the most out of your experience, find out which means of communication you and your family and friends like best and decide how often you will use them.
If you are under 70 years old, are in good health and your grandchildren do not have access to day care or cannot return to school, and the parents are essential workers, you can babysit them.
However, it’s important the following conditions are met:
- no one has symptoms of fever, cough, difficulty breathing or sudden loss of smell without a stuffy nose, with or without loss of taste,
- no one has been told to self-isolate,
- none of the children in the family go to school,
- you do not live with someone who is at risk (e.g., chronically ill or 70 years of age or older).
As far as possible, physical contact with children must be limited and a physical distance of 2 metres kept. If you must be in contact with children within 2 metres (e.g. infants), wear a face covering and wash your hands before and after holding the child. Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and items, such as door handles, light switches, faucets, etc. Clean bathrooms more frequently. Clean toys frequently, especially toys that children might put in their mouth. If you have been in close contact with the child change your clothes when you return home or when the child leaves. Follow the health recommendations.
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are as follows in children, adults and older adults:
- in children 0-5 years old: 38.5°C (101.3°F) and above (rectal temperature),
- in children 6 years and older: 38.1°C (100.6°F) and above (oral temperature),
- in adults: 38°C (100.4°F) and above (oral temperature),
- in older adults: 37.8°C (100°F) and above (oral temperature),
- or 1.1°C above the person's usual value;
- a new cough or a cough that gets worse;
- difficulty breathing;
- vomiting, only in children;
- stomach aches, only in children;
- sudden loss of sense of smell without nasal congestion, with or without loss of taste.
Other symptoms may also appear such as sore throat, headache, aching muscles, intense fatigue, severe loss of appetite and diarrhea. Symptoms can be mild or more severe like those associated with pneumonia.
You cannot tell the difference between COVID-19 and the flu based on the symptoms alone because they are too alike. The only way to be sure is to get tested.
However, if you develop symptoms of a respiratory tract infection and you live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, it is almost certain that you have it too.
A person who has COVID‑19‑like symptoms can get tested at a designated screening or assessment clinic, a drive‑through screening clinic or an outdoor clinic.
You can only go to some clinics if you have an appointment and at particular times.
COVID-19 is most commonly spread by droplets expelled when a person who is sick coughes or sneezes. These droplets are projected a maximum distance of 2 metres and fall quickly.
Therefore, it is recommended that you follow these instructions:
- maintain a distance of at least 2 metres (around 6 feet) from other people;
- avoid all contact with a person who is infected;
- wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
The disease is mainly contracted by close contact with an infected person. It is spread by respiratory droplets expelled from the nose or mouth of a person who is sick when they cough or sneeze. Droplets can be projected a maximum distance of 2 metres (around 6 feet) and fall quickly. This is why keeping a distance of 2 metres away from other people is recommended.
Droplets can land on objects and surfaces near the person who just coughed or sneezed and survive for a short time. You must avoid touching these objects and surfaces with your hands and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
So far, there is no evidence that people contract the disease from the air, by airborne transmission far from an infected person.
It is also unlikely that the virus spreads through ventilation systems.
The virus is mainly spread by close contact with an infected person, through respiratory droplets when they cough or sneeze. It can also be spread when a person touches a surface contaminated with the virus and then brings their hands to their face without washing them.
The virus has been detected in some body fluids such as blood, semen and stool. However, the possibility of transmission through these body fluids remains uncertain at this time.
The risk of getting COVID-19 if you have contact with someone who does not have any symptoms is low.
However, many people who are infected have only mild symptoms. This is especially true in the early stages of the disease. For example, you can get COVID-19 if you have contact with someone who has only a mild cough but does not feel sick.
That’s why you are advised to keep at least 2 metres away from other people even if no one has symptoms.
In general, coronaviruses (COVID-19) do not survive for long on objects. They can survive on surfaces for a few hours to several days. It mainly depends on the type of surface (for example, copper, cardboard, stainless steel, plastic), the temperature and ambient humidity.
According to findings from a recent experiment, the virus might be able to survive up to:
- 4 hours on copper;
- 24 hours on cardboard;
- 48 hours (2 days) on stainless steel;
- 72 hours (3 days) on plastic.
No. COVID-19 is not caused or spread by fifth-generation (5G) technology. There is no scientific evidence of a link between this technology and the virus. This information is also corroborated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Chief Scientist of Québec .
In fact, this technology does not pose more risks than the telecommunication technologies currently used in the Québec territory that comply with Canadian requirements . Telecommunications are useful in daily life and are even more important at this time for wireless communication, hence the need to preserve their integrity.
COVID 19 is spread from person to person by contact with droplets projected into the air when a person who is sick talks, coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by infected hands if you touch your mouth, nose or eyes after contact with an infected person or surface.
Transmission of the virus by ingesting food has been ruled out. In addition, the coronavirus cannot grow on food.
It is possible to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object where the virus is found and then bringing your hand to your mouth, nose or eyes, but this is not the primary means of transmission.
It is important to always follow the basic rules of hygiene, which include washing your hands thoroughly before eating and cooking, washing food thoroughly before eating, as well as coughing or sneezing into your elbow.
The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with virus transmission from person to person. There is no indication that animals play a major role in the spread of the disease. However, some cases of transmission between humans and animals have been identified. Furthermore, animals exposed to the virus are comparable to other surfaces that may be contaminated. Reported cases of animal infections are generally associated with the virus being transmitted to the animal from its human owner, often cats and sometimes dogs. There have been no reported cases of virus transmission from a pet to a human.
However, it is likely that mink, infected by people, in turn infected employees at affected farms in the Netherlands. The case of mink is exceptional because these animals are very sensitive to the virus. At mink farms, the virus is sometimes transmitted from humans to mink, which subsequently transmit it among themselves, and then can retransmit it to humans.
Other pets or farm animals were able to be infected following inoculation with the virus in the laboratory. This is the case for ferrets, hamsters, rabbits, and a small share of bovines and swine. The results indicate that bovines and swine do not transmit the virus and that the tissue used for human consumption is free from the virus. Attempts to infect poultry have failed. These data are often based on a small number of animals exposed to very high doses of the virus. They therefore must be interpreted with care.
The risk of being infected through contact with an animal is generally considered low. Application of the following measures reduces the risks of virus transmission between humans and animals:
- Recommendations of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
- Biosecurity measures
- Hygiene measures relating to contact with animals
Certain situations call for specific measures:
- People with symptoms of COVID-19 and those following public health authority self-isolation instructions must avoid contact with animals.
- Professionals who cannot avoid contact with animals belonging to infected owners must follow the applicable recommendations, relying on the measures for veterinary care workers , for example.
Individuals in voluntary self-isolation must stay at home and monitor their symptoms. If in doubt, evaluate the symptoms on Québec.ca/decisioncovid19 or call 1-877-644-4545 right away and comply with the directives that you are given.
Certain practices are recommended if they live with other people who have not travelled. To obtain additional information on the procedures to follow, please refer to the Self-isolating instructions section.
If you stay home and do not have any contact with other people, you cannot spread or catch COVID-19. Washing your hands often and properly is still a good habit at any time, not just during a pandemic. In addition, if you have to go out or if you have contact with a person or an object that might be contaminated, you will already be practicing good hand hygiene.
There is a risk of getting infected by the virus when you touch surfaces and objects, but it is low.
To protect yourself, wash your hands with soap and warm water after touching objects that might be contaminated. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth until you have washed your hands properly.
If possible, wash the object that might be contaminated with the cleaning products and disinfectants that you usually use at home. For example, wash your reusable bags with your usual detergent.
Before eating your fruits and vegetables, wash and scrub them thoroughly under running water. There is no need to add soap or disinfectant.
These are good habits at any time, not just during a pandemic.
Physical distancing means keeping a certain distance from other people. Since COVID-19 is mainly spread by close contact with infected people, it is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the disease. To minimize close contact with other people who are infected, you must:
- Stay at home as much as possible;
- Avoid non-essential gatherings with people who do not live in your household (for example, dinner with friends);
- Avoid physical contact with people who are most at risk of complications (older adults, people with chronic diseases or a weakened immune system);
- If you must go out, stay at least 2 metres (around 6 feet) away from other people as much as possible.
As often as possible, but especially:
- Before touching your face (eyes, mouth, nose);
- After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose;
- After going to the bathroom;
- When your hands are visibly dirty or after touching something dirty;
- Before and after providing care to a family member or friend;
- Before and after preparing meals;
- Before and after eating;
- Before and after going to a public place (for example, the grocery store or pharmacy).
Washing your hands with regular soap and warm water is more effective at getting rid of dirt and most viruses than gels, foams or liquid disinfectants. These products are recommended only when soap and running water are not available. Note also that to be effective, gels must contain at least 60% alcohol.
Techniques for washing your hands with soap and water or with an antiseptic product are described and illustrated on the Washing hands page.
If you or your child experience skin irritation or an allergic or inflammatory reaction when you wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, please stop using the product. Use soap and water to wash your hands instead. Frequent handwashing and washing your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can dry out the skin. To prevent dry skin, it is recommended that you use moisturizer on your hands every day. If the skin irritation or reactions persist, you should see a doctor.
The temperature of the water is not important when you wash your hands or clothes. The soap kills the virus, not the heat of the water used.
To wash your hands properly, you should rub your hands together with soap for at least 20 seconds. Techniques for washing your hands with soap and water or with an antiseptic product are described and illustrated on the Washing hands page.
Washing your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds is the best method. Antiseptic gel should be used when soap and water are unavailable. Acetone-based products such as nail polish remover or hydrogen peroxide, mainly sold in drugstores, are not designed to disinfect the hands and pose a health hazard
There is a shortage of medical gloves right now. They should be reserved for use by health professionals. Wearing gloves can give you a false sense of security. The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands frequently and properly. Go to the page Washing your hands to find out how.
- the right way to wash their hands with soap and water;
- how to blow their nose and sneeze with disposable tissues;
- how to cough or sneeze into the crease of their elbow or upper arm.
Good hygiene and prevention practices are explained and illustrated in the Self-care Guide.
Remind them often to keep away from other people who are sick.
Keep the Decision Fact Sheet in the Self-care Guide on hand or where you can see it. You can use it to decide what to do if you or a family member have symptoms, depending on the situation.
When they are not at school, children are subject to the same restrictions as the general population based on the regional alert level in force. For example, in red zones, although private gatherings are prohibited, outdoor activities in public places are not prohibited. You can see people from other households outside provided the required physical distancing is respected. Children age 16 and under must keep 1 metre apart in green, yellow or orange zones and 2 metres apart in red zones.
Remember that in red zones, group activities in public places are prohibited. For example, you may not organize a birthday picnic in the park with several friends. We encourage you to exercise good judgment in order to minimize social interaction.
Continued breastfeeding during the pandemic is recommended because breast milk contains multiple immune factors that fight infection. In addition, the virus that causes COVID‑19 is not spread through breast milk.
Even if you have COVID‑19 and have symptoms, you can breastfeed if you feel well enough. However, you will have to take the following precautions.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before you breastfeed.
- Wear a mask.
- Change your clothes before you breastfeed so that your baby will not come in contact with infected secretions.
- Wash your breasts with soap and water if you think that they might have come in contact with secretions.
- Between feeds, keep a distance of 2 metres (around 6 feet) from your baby. Ask a healthy family member to take care of your baby.
- If you have any particular concerns about your baby’s health, talk to your doctor or the nurse who was assigned to you at your CLSC, if you have one, or call 1‑877‑644‑4545 (toll free).
If you are caring for someone who has been diagnosed with COVID‑19, you must take steps to protect yourself against the disease. To learn more, go to the page How to care for a person with COVID‑19 at home – Advice for caregivers on the Government of Canada’s website.
No, it would be risky and the benefits are uncertain. There is a real risk, even for young people, of catching COVID-19 and being hospitalized or admitted to intensive care.
In addition, even if infected people develop antibodies against the virus, at this time it is impossible to know if this would provide a natural defence or effective, lasting immunity.
Yes, unless you have been told to self-isolate for 14 days. If so, you must stay at home. This means that you cannot go out for a walk until the 14 days are up.
If you have not been told to self-isolate:
- People who live in a residential and long-term care centre (CHSLD), a private seniors’ residence or in intermediate resources and family-type resources (IR-FTR) are allowed to go outside but they must be supervised.
- Anyone else can go outside to get some fresh air and take a walk. It is important to keep at least 2 metres (around 6 feet) away from people who do not live in your household.
There are numerous reasons to get vaccinated. For instance, we do it to protect ourselves from the complications and risks associated with several communicable diseases, but also to avoid the reappearance of infectious diseases that are avoidable through vaccination.
Vaccination is one of medicine’s great success stories and is the cornerstone of an efficient healthcare system.
That said, as with any medication, no vaccine is 100% effective. The efficacy of a vaccine depends on several factors, including:
- The age of the person being vaccinated;
- Their physical condition and health status (e.g. if they’re pregnant or have a weakened immune system);
- The genetic relatedness of the virus strains circulating and those contained in the vaccine.
The impact of vaccines at a glance
- The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that vaccination helps prevent over 2 million deaths in the world every year.
- Since the introduction of vaccination programs in Canada in 1920, polio has been wiped out across the country and several other illnesses (such as diphtheria, tetanus and rubella) have become extremely rare.
- Smallpox has been eradicated globally.
- The main bacteria responsible for bacterial meningitis in children (Haemophilus influenzae type B) is now much less common.
- Hepatitis B has practically disappeared among young people because they were vaccinated as children.
A complementary video exists on this subject : Is the vaccination effective?
This vaccination campaign aims to prevent serious complications and deaths related to COVID‑19, and stop the virus from spreading. Through vaccination, we hope to protect our healthcare system and allow things to return to normal.
A complementary video exists on this subject : Why do you need to be vaccinated if the human body can overcome COVID-19 naturally?
In Québec, the COVID‑19 vaccine is free and it is offered only by institutions of the health and social services network. Doses are not available on the private market.
Any electronic communication or call offering to get vaccinated against COVID‑19 for a fee is fraudulent.
If you believe you have been the victim of a fraudulent communication, please notify the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre .
Yes. The COVID‑19 vaccines were the subject of rigorous testing involving a large number of people and underwent all the necessary steps before being approved.
Every step required for approval was followed and some took place simultaneously, which explains why the process was so fast.
Health Canada always conducts an extensive analysis of vaccines before approving them, paying particular attention to evaluating their safety and efficacy.
In Canada, a vaccine must go through the following five steps before being deemed safe:
- Non-clinical trials in the lab and on animals
- Three phases of clinical trials involving humans
- Validation of each production step by Health Canada experts
- Quality control (Health Canada tests samples from three or more consecutive batches)
- Visits to facilities and licences issued by Health Canada inspectors or trusted international regulatory partners
- Annual re-evaluation, if necessary
Vaccines against COVID-19 are subject to the same rigorous scientific requirements and quality standards, and the same testing and post-market monitoring as any other vaccine approved for use in Canada.
A complementary video exists on this subject : Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe given their rapid development?
After receiving the vaccine, some people may experience redness or pain at the injection site, fatigue, fever, or chills. These reactions occur less often in people over the age of 55, and most are harmless and do not last long.
Certain issues (such as a cold or gastroenteritis) may arise by chance and are unrelated to the vaccine.
These vaccines cannot cause COVID‑19 because they do not contain the SRAS‑CoV‑2 virus responsible for the disease. However, people who came in contact with the virus in the days leading up to their vaccine or who come in contact with it in the 14 days after being vaccinated could still develop COVID‑19. It’s important to continue applying health measures until a majority of the population has been vaccinated.
Visit Symptoms after the COVID‑19 messenger RNA vaccine and Symptoms after the COVID‑19 viral vector-based vaccine to learn about all known reactions.
A complementary video exists on this subject: What are the side effects of the COVID‑19 vaccine?
The Government of Canada signed advance purchase agreements for seven promising COVID‑19 vaccines with the following companies: AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Medicago, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer and Sanofi Pasteur/GlaxoSmithKline. These purchases are conditional on approval of these vaccines by Health Canada.
To date, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been approved for distribution in Canada. Vaccines from multiple companies will be used to speed up COVID‑19 vaccination.
Past efforts, particularly during the SARS epidemic in 2003, advanced coronavirus vaccine research and accelerated the fight against COVID-19.
There are currently over 50 COVID-19 vaccines undergoing clinical trials around the world, the result of unprecedented scientific collaboration. Considerable financial and human resources were invested in order to quickly develop vaccines that meet regulatory requirements.
Public health and regulatory authorities in several countries, including Canada, are actively working to ensure as many safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are available as quickly as possible.
No. With vaccines like the ones against COVID-19, the code (messenger RNA) used to create the protein found on the surface of the virus that causes the illness is injected into the body and distributed among the cells.
Once inside the cells, the RNA is decoded by them, and the viral protein is produced. This stimulates immune system cells to create antibodies against the viral protein created by the cells.
The mRNA does not enter the cell’s nucleus and thus does not come in contact with the DNA contained within. It’s therefore impossible for it to alter the DNA in any way.
Three types of vaccine are currently being studied.
- RNA vaccines: These vaccines activate the immune system by using part of the virus’s RNA.
- Vector vaccines: These vaccines use genetically modified viruses that are harmless to humans.
- Protein-based vaccines: These vaccines contain non-infectious pieces of proteins that mimic the virus’s membrane.
A complementary video exists on this subject : What types of COVID-19 vaccines are being studied?
The vaccines cannot cause COVID‑19 because they do not contain the SRAS‑CoV‑2 virus responsible for the disease. However, people who came in contact with the virus in the days leading up to their vaccine or who come in contact with it in the 14 days following their vaccine could still develop COVID-19.
In addition, people who live in regions or areas where there is a higher level of community transmission who develop symptoms must consult the website of their CISSS (integrated health and social services centre) or CIUSSS (integrated university health and social services centre) to find out where to go and how to arrange to get a diagnostic test. You will find the list of CISSS and CIUSSS websites in the COVID-19 tests section.
You can get tested for COVID‑19 even if you do not have symptoms and have not been exposed to the virus. The test may be recommended, for example, if:
- you work in health care;
- you will be staying in a facility where people who are vulnerable to COVID‑19 live;
- in order to protect remote or isolated communities or to protect staff in certain health care settings;
- you travel to remote or isolated regions.
If you do not have symptoms or have not been exposed to the virus, the test’s effectiveness in preventing transmission of the virus has not yet been demonstrated.
If you do not have symptoms and you get tested, there is a higher risk that the test will give false positive results (a test can be positive even if you are not infected with the virus) or false negative results (a test can be negative even if you are infected with the virus). This means you might be placed in unnecessary isolation or falsely reassured about the risk of transmitting the disease to your family and friends.
Getting tested for COVID-19 is not mandatory. Every person who is offered a test must decide whether or not to get tested. In all cases, regardless of what you decide, it is important to follow all the public health recommendations and to continue to follow the health instructions.
In addition, people who live in regions or areas where there is a higher level of community transmission who develop symptoms must consult the website of their CISSS (integrated health and social services centre) or CIUSSS (integrated university health and social services centre) to find out where to go and how to arrange to get a diagnostic test. You will find the list of CISSS and CIUSSS websites in the COVID-19 tests section.
Close contact is when you are less than 2 metres away from a person who has COVID‑19 and who is contagious, for more than 15 minutes, without either of you wearing a mask.
A person is contagious with COVID‑19 from 2 days before the onset of their symptoms until they recover. A person who does not have symptoms is contagious from 2 days before they get tested until they recover.
In general, there are no contraindications. Some situations require a medical assessment before getting tested:
- Your child is between 0 and 3 months old;
- You have a nasal obstruction other than nasal congestion;
- You are having a nosebleed now;
- You had a nosebleed in the last week;
- You have had surgery:
- oral surgery in the last week;
- nose surgery in the last month for an adult;
- nose surgery in the last 3 weeks for a child;
- You are having an episode of wheezing.
In all of these situations, you can call 1‑877‑644‑4545 for an assessment of your situation.
Health Canada has authorized COVID‑19 test kits, but their use is restricted to health professionals and trained users. If you think you have COVID‑19, complete the online COVID‑19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool.
Because COVID-19 is spread from person to person, it is not currently recommended to have animals tested, except in exceptional circumstances or in the context of research activities.
If you are concerned about your animal’s health, get in touch with your veterinarian. Discuss your concerns with them, but also other known illnesses that can affect animals. There is limited knowledge about which animals are likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Veterinarians with specific questions about animal health or public health can get more information by calling 1-844-ANIMAUX.
Procedure masks, also known as medical masks, can refer to medical equipment and are certified by government bodies before use. A face covering is a handcrafted mask used as a form of protection that can be made at home. It can be used in addition to basic preventive measures (washing your hands, coughing into your elbow, distance of 2 metres, etc.) but is not a substitute for them. It does not protect the wearer, but might reduce the risk of an infected person who has few or no symptoms spreading the virus that causes COVID‑19 to other people.
Information is constantly evolving, both about how the virus is spread and how effective masks and face coverings are. Information from recent studies varies and the number of infected people who have few or no symptoms is unknown. The analysis prompted us to suggest wearing a face covering or procedure mask in some circumstances as an additional measure. Remember that wearing a face covering or mask must not replace other basic preventive measures, such as washing your hands.
Various reference authorities, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and INSPQ, have opted to favour the wearing of face coverings, which can be used by the general population to reduce community spread and, more specifically, in public settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux also asked the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) to do a literature review and produce an opinion in order to guide the decision making process. The opinion produced by the INSPQ is available on the page COVID-19 : Port d’un couvre-visage par la population générale [COVID-19: use of face coverings by the general public; in French only]. It indicates that wearing a procedure mask protects the wearer and people around them when the mask is properly positioned and covers the nose and mouth.
Wearing a face covering (homemade mask) could reduce the transmission of COVID-19 virus from an infected person who has little or no symptoms to other people. There is no evidence that wearing a face covering in the community protects the wearer. When you wear a mask in public, you must also follow other safety measures, such as hygiene and physical distancing (2 metres) as often as possible.
Wearing a procedure mask protects the wearer and people around them when the mask is properly positioned and covers the nose and mouth. See the opinion produced by the Institut national de santé publique for more information.
To find out how to make a face covering, go to the page How to make a face covering.
Wearing a mask or face covering, also known as a homemade mask, is mandatory on public transit for people age 10 and over. This obligation applies to buses, the subway, ferries, taxis, car services, etc.
Wearing a mask or face covering that covers the nose and mouth is mandatory in enclosed or partially enclosed public places for people age 10 and over. Wearing a procedure mask is now mandatory in movie theatres, performing arts venues and places of worship for people age 10 and over.
There are specific measures for some places. See the measures in force in your municipality or region for more information.
Some people in special situations are not required to wear a mask. To find out who is exempt or to find out how to make a face covering and use a mask, go to the page Mask or face covering in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is not recommended that face coverings be worn by children who are less than 2 years old. Face coverings are strongly recommended for children between the ages of 2 and 9 years, but non-compliance is tolerated. Children over the age of 10 are required to wear a face covering when taking public transit as well as in closed or partially open public places. Children age 10 and over must wear a procedure mask in movie theatres, performing arts venues and places of worship.
Since children are more likely to touch their face, their parents and/or others who have charge of them must wash their own hands and the child’s frequently with soap and water or a water-alcohol sanitizer.
There are specific measures for some places that vary depending on the alert level. See the measures in force in your municipality or region for more information.
You can also go to the page Mask or face covering in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to find out how to make a face covering and use a mask.
Children in educational childcare services are not required to wear a mask or a face covering.
Preschoolers and students in Elementary Cycle One and Two are not required to wear a procedure mask or face covering.
To know the measures in force in primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities or in adult education and vocational training, see the measures in force in your region or municipality for more information.
Individuals whose personal medical condition prevents them from wearing a mask or face covering are not obliged to. Here are a few examples of situations in which the mask requirement may be waived due to a medical issue:
- The individual is not capable of putting on and removing the mask by themself due to a physical disability.
- The individual has a facial deformity.
- The individual has a cognitive disorder, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, substance abuse or serious mental health problem that prevents understanding the face covering requirement, or if wearing a mask or face covering leads to significant mental breakdown or distress.
- The individual has a severe face or ear skin condition that is significantly aggravated by wearing a mask or face covering.
It is recommended that people who are exempt from the mask or face covering directive due to a health condition, avoid locations where they are mandatory as much as possible. However, their access to places where a procedure mask or face covering is mandatory must not be restricted by a third person. If these individuals frequent such locations, it is recommended that they strictly abide by the one metre physical distancing from others directive (does not apply to attendants or accompanying persons).
Moreover, individuals with chronic medical conditions including heart and lung diseases are not exempted from the requirement to wear a mask or face covering. In fact, such persons are among those for whom masks or face coverings provide the greatest benefits. Whenever possible, these people should preferably use a procedure mask, since it provides better protection against the virus.
No. You are not required to state why your condition prevents you from wearing a mask, and no medical note will be required of you. Venue operators have no right to decide whether or not your exemption is legitimate. They must allow you access to the location, while reminding you of the importance of other measures, such as hand hygiene and the one metre distancing rule while you remain in the venue.
It is recommended that individuals exempt from wearing a mask or face covering due to a health condition avoid locations where they are mandatory, as much as possible. They can ask a friend or family member to go to the store for them or order necessities online. However, third parties cannot restrict their access to venues where wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory. If such individuals frequent these locations, it is recommended that they strictly abide by the directive for one metre physical distancing from others (does not apply to attendants or accompanying persons).
Wearing a procedure mask or face covering for a long time is not recommended. A procedure mask or face covering should be worn in enclosed or partially enclosed public places, on public transport and in public places outdoors where physical distancing of one metre cannot be maintained and should then be taken off. It should also be changed when it is dirty, damp or damaged.
People who have symptoms of COVID‑19 must not go out in public. If you refuse to wear the mask or face covering in a place where it is mandatory, the operator may first remind you of this obligation. In addition, since the operator risks financial penalties if users do not wear a mask or face covering, they may refuse to serve you. If you show up in a public place without a mask or face covering and you have symptoms compatible with COVID‑19, you are at a high risk of infecting people around you. You should not leave the house except for medical reasons. In this case, wear a mask or face covering. You can consult the Instructions for People With COVID‑19 Symptoms at any time.
Face shields in no way replace masks or face coverings in locations where they are mandatory. Individuals that only wear a visor/face shield will be denied access to public transit and stores.
Face shields do not provide sufficient protection from droplets and are not impermeable. As such, droplets in the air can penetrate face shields from the sides and below.
Face shields are only used for the protection of eyes from aerosols, such as when intubation takes place. This does not happen in stores and other public settings.
A neck warmer or scarf can be considered a face covering if it is made of fabric and covers the nose and mouth. However, it is recommended that the fabric be soft and tightly woven, such as cotton, which allows air to pass through as you breathe. Use at least two layers of fabric and make sure your face covering is comfortable and fits snugly over your face. A neck warmer or scarf that needs to be stretched to allow you to breathe easily or pulled up because it slips down the face or towards the neck is not recommended.
A seam over the nose and mouth reduces the seal of the handcrafted mask, also called a face covering, since the elastics pull on the seam, letting more particles through. Make sure there are at least two layers of fabric without a seam over the mouth and nose. A model with seamless inner layers would be effective.
You should wash your handcrafted mask, also called a face covering, every day. As soon as you get home, put it in the washing machine with the rest of your laundry. Don’t forget to wash your hands after you handle it. Ideally, it should be washed in warm water with your regular laundry detergent. Then put it in the dryer or allow it to air dry. Make sure the handcrafted mask is completely dry before you use it again.
If it is a fabric handcrafted mask, also called a face covering, fold the outside of the mask inward and put it in a clean bag. As soon as you get home, wash your handcrafted mask with the rest of your laundry.
If it is a disposable model, put it in a closed trash container after using it.
You must wash your hands after you take your mask off.
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 for the moment. Most people with the virus will recover on their own by remaining at home without needing to go to the hospital.
However, people who are infected with the virus, especially people who are seriously ill, must receive special care to relieve and treat the symptoms. For example, they may need to be given acetaminophen if they have a fever, oxygen if they have difficulty breathing or an infusion if they are dehydrated.
Some people who have severe difficulty breathing will need additional supportive treatment to help them breathe (for example, a tube in the airway, a mechanical ventilator).
Lastly, many studies are being conducted to assess the efficacy of medications or treatments that are already being used for other diseases in patients diagnosed with COVID-19, in particular chloroquine. In addition, many research teams are trying to develop new medications, but none are available at the moment.
There are no foods, supplements, vitamins or natural health products that can be used to protect you against or treat COVID-19.
You cannot strengthen your immune system through diet.
However, for the immune system to function effectively, it is important to eat a variety of healthy foods every day, as recommended in Canada’s Food Guide. To find out more, go to the page Healthy eating.
It is normal to have signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression during a pandemic. Most people have the resources and mental strength to adapt to this type of situation. To find out more for yourself and your family, go to the page Stress, Anxiety and Depression Associated With the Coronavirus COVID‑19 Disease.
Mourning someone who has passed away (also called bereavement) is one of the realities of life that can be very difficult, especially in these unusual days of the COVID‑19 pandemic
The process of bereavement varies from one individual to the next. The intensity and duration of these feelings varies from one person to the next. It is quite normal to feel confused and shaken. For this reason, it is vital to take the time needed to get back on your feet and, especially, to develop a caring attitude towards yourself and others.
To learn about common reactions, how to cope with grief and the resources available, go to the page Bereavement during the pandemic (COVID‑19).
Like adults, children and teenagers can experience the loss of a dear one at any time and especially in these days of the COVID‑19 pandemic. The death of someone cherished is always a very upsetting and painful experience, one that is difficult and complicated to cope with.
Children and teenagers are unique individuals, each trying to understand death and express sorrow, uneasiness and worry in their own way. How they react depends on their age, maturity, culture, relationship with the departed and support network, to name but a few factors.
To learn about the possible manifestations of grief in children and teenagers, how you can help them and the resources available, go to the page Bereavement during the pandemic (COVID‑19).
Last update: May 14, 2021