Ask a Doctor

Ask a Doctor

It’s natural to have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. These are new vaccines for a new disease.

In addition to our Vaccine Info page, a team of physicians is posting answers below to the more common questions from Manitobans about the vaccine. 

Jump to answers for the following topics:

  • Vaccine Eligibility
    Includes answers about when it will be your turn, eligibility for essential workers and those with medical conditions, and more.

  • Personal Health Concerns
    Includes answers about allergies, pregnancy, medications, health conditions, and more.

  • Vaccine Safety
    Includes answers about safety, rapid development and approval, blood clot reports, and more.

  • Vaccine Effectiveness
    Includes answers about whether one vaccine is more effective, choosing between vaccines, new variants, and more.
  • Accessing the Vaccine
    Includes where to get the vaccine, how to book, consent form, and more.
  • Life after vaccination
    Includes answers about when you’ll be immune, when you can see friends/family, and more.

If your question isn’t answered yet, you can submit a general (non-personal) question about the COVID-19 vaccines at the bottom of this page. We’ll work to post more answers here soon. Please note, we cannot respond to personal medical questions or provide personal medical advice. If you have a specific question or need personal medical advice, contact your doctor.

Vaccine Eligibility

When will I be eligible?

All adults should be eligible for the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June, if not sooner. You can use our eligibility checker to see when you’ll be eligible, and you can sign up to get a same-day notification when you become eligible. 

The provincial government sets the eligibility criteria for the vaccine. This is largely dependent on how much vaccine the province receives from the federal government. Physicians and other health care providers must follow the provincial eligibility rules.  

Am I eligible for the vaccine if I have a medical condition?

Some serious medical conditions can increase your risk for hospitalization or death if you become infected with COVID-19. If you have one of these conditions, you could be eligible for the vaccine earlier.

The high-risk medical conditions include advanced or severe diseases involving the lungs, kidneys, liver or heart, as well as some cancers, Down syndrome, or severe obesity. The complete list can be found below, and was created by a group of medical advisors to the government, based on serious cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba as well as national and international data.

Individuals in certain age groups with these conditions could become eligible earlier for the vaccine to give them protection against COVID-19 sooner.

You can check if you’re included using our Eligibility Checker, and sign up to be notified when more vaccine is available. If you’re eligible, you might be able to get the vaccine from a physician.

The full list of conditions includes two priority groups.

Priority 1 High-Risk Medical Conditions

  • Receiving dialysis due to kidney failure
  • Severe liver conditions including cirrhosis or portal hypertension
  • Severe heart conditions, including heart failure (class III or IV), adult congenital heart disease (stage C or D), or requiring a ventricular assist device
  • Serious lung conditions, including severe COPD, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, Cyctic Fibrosis
  • History of stroke (cerebral vascular accident) with lasting or ongoing impacts
  • Blood cancers (e.g. leukemia), lymphoma or clonal blood disorder
  • Other cancers while receiving chemotherapy or other treatments that weaken the immune system
  • Severe obesity (BMI of 40 or higher)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Organ or stem cell transplant (waiting or received)
  • A spleen that doesn’t function properly (asplenia or hyposplenism including sickle cell disease)
  • Receiving one of these immunosuppressive therapies: B cell therapies (e.g., rituximab, ocrelizumab), cyclophosphamide, alemtuzumab, calcineurin inhibitors, chronic dose prednisone >=20mg/day, mycophenolate, sulfasalazine and JAK inhibitors (e.g., tofacitinib)
  • Receiving home care four or more times per week OR receiving 24/7 support from Community Living Disability Services
  • Higher risk pregnancy due to age (35 years or older), obese (BMI 30 or higher), pre-existing diabetes, pre-existing hypertension, cardiac or pulmonary disease

Priority 2 High-Risk Medical Conditions

  • Moderate heart diseases, including less severe heart failure (class I or II), coronary artery disease, malignant tachyarrythmia or cardriomyopathies
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Neurologic or neurodevelopmental conditions, including Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, or Dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Chronic lung conditions including COPD or severe/uncontrolled asthma
  • Chronic renal (kidney) disease
  • HIV, even if it is well-controlled (CD4 cell count of 200 or higher x 106L and CD4 percentage of 15% or higher)
  • Severe autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, scleroderma, myocaritis, rhematoid arthritis)
  • Diabetes that is poorly controlled or has complications (both type I or II)
  • Tuberculosis (active or latent)
  • Receiving an immunosuppressing therapy
  • Receiving home care or any level of Community Living Disability Service supports (or an equivalent support from family as determined by a physician)
  • Household contacts of individuals with priority 1 conditions
  • Designated support persons for PCH residents

Talk to your doctor to learn more and to assess your risk. You can also review the full list of conditions defined by the provincial government’s medical advisors.

I’m an essential worker. Am I eligible for the vaccine?

It depends. If you work in health care, a shelter, or a congregate living setting, you may be eligible today. 

At this point, the provincial government has not yet identified other essential workers for early access to the vaccine, such as teachers, grocery store workers, and those working in manufacturing.  

We understand the province is considering this. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended including essential workers in the second stage of prioritized vaccine access. 

You can use our Eligibility Checker to find out when you’ll be eligible. If you sign up to be notified when it’s your turn, you can indicate you’re an essential worker and we’ll update you if the criteria changes.

Do younger or healthy people need the vaccine?

Yes, even younger adults and healthy people should get the vaccine. There are three key reasons why you should still get the vaccine, even if you don’t feel at risk from COVID-19:

  1. Protect yourself: It’s not worth taking a chance with COVID when there’s a safe and effective way to prevent it. While COVID-19 can be more serious for the elderly, Indigenous Peoples, or those with underlying health conditions, younger and otherwise healthy people have had serious outcomes too.
  2. Protect those you love: Even if you don’t see the personal benefit, think about your family and friends, or others you come in contact with. Getting the vaccine helps to protect them too.
  3. Ending the pandemic: We need 70-80% of Manitobans to get the vaccine if we want to get back to a more normal way of life. This makes it harder for COVID-19 to spread, and less likely for more dangerous mutations to happen. You can help by getting immunized.

Research is  still underway to confirm the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for children and youth.

Learn more about the risks of COVID-19 here:

Johns Hopkins University: Younger Adults Are at Risk, Too

Third wave of COVID-19 could hit younger adults harder (CBC article)

Data reveal deadliness of COVID-19, even in young adults (Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy)

Why can’t children and youth get the vaccine?

Currently, provincial government guidelines include everyone age 18 and over, starting with older adults first.

Health Canada has approved the Pfizer vaccine for age 16 and over, but this has not yet been adopted in Manitoba. This could change by the time vaccine eligibility expands to younger adults. 

At this time, no vaccine is approved for use in children under the age of 16. This is because clinical trials of the vaccines only included adults. This could soon change. Studies are already underway to look at safety and efficacy in children and youth. 

Personal Health Concerns

I had a different vaccine recently (e.g. Shingrix). When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Talk to your doctor if you have had another vaccine in the past 14 days. It is recommended that other vaccines be given at least 14 days before, or 28 days after, your COVID-19 vaccination.

I’ve had COVID-19. Should I still get the vaccine?

Yes, you should get the vaccine, even if you had COVID-19. While rare, there have been people reinfected with COVID-19. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. 

Because vaccine supplies are limited, the Manitoba government is requesting those who had a COVID-19 infection to wait up to three months after their infection to get the vaccine as they already have some immunity.

I have allergies. Should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Most people with allergies do not need to worry, and should still get the COVID-19 vaccine.

There’s a small chance of a minor allergic reaction to the vaccine. A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is very rare. 

If you have a severe allergy to one of the COVID-19 vaccine ingredients, such as polyethylene glycol, do not get the vaccine. These particular allergies are very rare. See below for links to the full list of ingredients.

Talk to your doctor first if you’ve had severe allergic reactions to other injectable medications in the past, or if you have had an anaphylactic reaction in the past but do not know the cause. 

The COVID-19 vaccines do not include seafood, nuts or other foods that can cause severe allergies. 

Allergic reactions usually happen shortly after a person is immunized. This is why you are asked to stay at the clinic for at least 15 minutes.  The vaccination clinics will ask some people to stay for 30 minutes of monitoring following their shot to be cautious.  There are trained staff on hand in case someone has one of the rare allergic reactions

Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  •   itchy rash,
  •   swelling of the face,
  •   sudden low blood pressure,
  •   abdominal pain and vomiting, or
  •   sneezing, coughing and difficulty breathing.

Vaccine Ingredients:

I’m pregnant. Should I still get the vaccine?

The vaccine is available to pregnant and breastfeeding women, however you should talk to your doctor first. Your doctor will help you consider the risks and the benefits. 

Pregnant women can be at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. COVID-19 in pregnancy can also lead to concerning issues such as preeclampsia, preterm birth and stillbirth. The vaccine can offer protection against the virus, but it is important to know that pregnant and breastfeeding women were not included in the vaccine clinical trials so there is limited data available. At this point, there are no known safety concerns.

The provincial COVID-19 advice notes that pregnant women age 35 years and older or those with asthma, obesity, pre-pregnancy diabetes, pre-pregnancy high blood pressure and heart disease may be at increased risk of severe consequences of COVID-19 infection and therefore may benefit more from vaccination. 

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada has provided guidance, suggesting the risk of infection and severe illness from COVID-19 outweighs the potential risk of being vaccinated during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

You can learn more from:

Information for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Individuals (Manitoba Public Health)

The impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy outcomes (Medical journal article)

Are there medications that could interact with the COVID-19 vaccine?

For most people, taking medication is not a reason to delay getting the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, if you’re taking a medication, you might have an underlying medical condition that can increase your risk of developing serious symptoms from COVID-19. This means it could be even more important for you to get the vaccine. 

There are no known drug interactions with medications and the vaccines approved in Canada. The injection given for the available COVID vaccines is just like the flu vaccine and well tolerated by people on blood thinners.

It is ok to take a pain medication (e.g. acetaminophen) after you receive the vaccine to help with temporary side effects, like pain in the arm. 

Some medications can weaken your immune system, affecting your ability to develop a strong immune response. We recommend you talk to your physician first if you are taking medications like this, such as:

  • High dose steroids like (e.g. 20 mg/day or more of prednisone)
  • Arthritis medications like methotrexate or azathioprine
  • Biologic immunosuppression including monoclonal antibodies
  • Chemotherapy
Should I avoid the vaccine if I have a serious medical condition?

In most cases, it is actually more important for you to get the vaccine if you have a serious medical condition.

If you have an underlying medical condition, you are likely at increased risk for severe illness from the virus. This makes it even more important for you to consider the vaccine for protection. 

Some people may need to wait or should seek medical advice before getting immunized. This includes people who:

  • Have had severe allergies to other vaccines or injectable medications in the past, or have had an anaphylactic reaction in the past but do not know the cause. Talk to your doctor first.
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding. You can get the vaccine, but you should consult a doctor first.
  • Have suppressed immune systems or are undergoing treatments that   can weaken your immune system, like chemotherapy. You likely will be able to get the vaccine, but you should consult a doctor first.

If you have questions about whether the vaccine is right for you, talk to a doctor.

Who should and should not get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Almost all adults should get the COVID vaccine. It’s safe, effective and doctors recommend it for almost everyone, including those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past.

There are very few people who should not get immunized. These include:

  • Children and youth. The vaccines are not yet approved for younger people, though research is underway to confirm vaccine safety and efficacy for this age group.
  • People with severe allergies to vaccine ingredients. You can view the ingredient list for the approved vaccines. Severe allergies to these ingredients are very rare. Food allergies or other allergies are NOT a reason to avoid the vaccine. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor.

Some people may need to wait or should seek medical advice before getting immunized. This includes people who:

  • Have COVID-19 symptoms or those who are isolating due to a potential exposure. Wait until public health clears you before getting the vaccine.
  • Had a different vaccine recently. It’s best to wait two weeks after getting a different vaccine.
  • Have had severe allergies to other vaccines or injectable medications in the past, or have had an anaphylactic reaction in the past but do not know the cause. Talk to your doctor first.
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding. You can get the vaccine, but you should consult a doctor first.
  • Have suppressed immune systems or are undergoing treatments that   can weaken your immune system, like chemotherapy. You may be able to get the vaccine, but you should consult a doctor first.

Like any medication, surgery or other treatment, vaccines also have risks of side effects. The good news is for those who have side effects, they are almost always mild and go away quickly. For almost everyone, the risk of getting COVID is much higher — like thousands of times higher — than the risk of a serious reaction from the vaccine, and the vaccine offers the benefit of preventing serious infections. Your doctor can assess your medical situation and advise you about the vaccine.

If you have questions about whether the vaccine is right for you, talk to a doctor.

Vaccine Safety

Are the COVID vaccines safe?

Yes, physicians are confident that the COVID vaccines approved for use in Canada are very safe. 

While developed more rapidly than past vaccines, safety remained a top priority. The safety of the vaccines was proven in large clinical trials. There is now even more evidence of their safety with hundreds of millions of doses administered worldwide. 

Health Canada’s approval process is rigorous. With nearly 100 different vaccines in development, Canada has so far approved four that have all of the necessary clinical trials and safety data. These four vaccines have each been independently reviewed and approved in many other countries. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, providing weekly updates.

As Dr. Joss Reimer explained recently, “we know more about vaccine safety than we do about any other medical intervention in the world.” (March 3, 2021)

You can learn more about the safety of the COVID vaccines from:

Health Canada: Vaccine Safety after Authorization

Health Canada: Vaccine Safety Monitoring

Johns Hopkins University: Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?

COVID-19: Vaccine Safety (World Health Organization)

 

The vaccines were developed so fast. Were safety steps skipped?

These vaccines were developed and approved faster than any other major vaccine in history. They were fast tracked, but this doesn’t mean corners were cut or important steps were skipped. 

COVID is a new disease that has disrupted how people live around the world and killed millions. 

The faster development, approval and delivery were possible because of:

  • Unprecedented international cooperation
  • Strong, uninterrupted funding for research and development
  • Better coordination and information sharing between scientists and drug companies
  • Faster enrolment in clinical trials due to the public concern and interest
  • A regulatory approval process that reviewed trial data in real-time
  • Manufacturers starting to produce vaccine supplies before approval, to avoid the usual delay between approval and production

The steps in the research and approval process were also streamlined to help speed up the work without compromising the clinical trial or regulatory processes that assure safety. All steps in vaccine development that ensure safety were followed for the approved COVID vaccines.

Find out more about how these vaccines were safely fast tracked from:

Health Canada: Drug and vaccine authorizations for COVID-19

Health Canada: Vaccine development and approval in Canada 

Health Canada: Watch a video version on how COVID-19 vaccines are developed

Can your second dose be a different type of COVID-19 vaccine?

At this time, you should receive the same type of COVID-19 vaccine for your first and second doses. This information is tracked in your immunization record to help with this.

This advice may change in the future as more is learned, but for now you should stick with the same type of vaccine for your second dose.

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine safe? Does it cause blood clots?
The Oxford-AstraZeneca is considered safe by physicians and regulators. Vaccines are monitored very closely for possible issues.
On March 29, the use of AstraZeneca for those under the age of 55 has been paused in Canada our of an abundance of caution. This will allow regulators to investigate blood clots that have been reported in a very small number of people in Europe after receiving this type of vaccine. The issue is serious, but it’s also very rare, potentially occurring in one in 125,000 to one in a million people who receive this vaccine. Physicians are calling this “vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia” or VIPIT.
There have been no cases reported in Manitoba or in Canada.

Most of the cases reported in Europe have occurred in women under the age of 55, which is why Canadian authorities have paused the use of this vaccine for this age group.

This type of vaccine is still recommended for ages 55 and up.

While very rare, symptoms could appear four to 20 days after immunization. The symptoms of this side effect are similar to a stroke or heart attack, and should prompt you to seek emergency medical services.
Earlier investigations by the European Medicines Agency concluded that “the vaccine is not associated with an increased overall risk of blood clotting disorders.” They also concluded that the number of reported blood clots “was lower than that expected in the general population.” 

While changes like this can leave us feeling uncertain, they demonstrate just how cautious the approach is to vaccine safety monitoring. Even very rare potential issues lead to a cautious response.

Earlier, careful review and monitoring meant the AstraZeneca vaccine was initially recommended in Canada for those under the age of 65. As more was learned, however, this recommendation was updated to include those over the age of 65 too.

You can read more from:

Science Brief about VIPIT following AstraZeneca vaccination (Ontario Science Table)

Manitoba Public Health Update

Statement from Thrombosis Canada

European Medicines Agency Review Findings

Health Canada Statement

If you have further questions or concerns, please contact your doctor.

Vaccine Effectiveness

Can I choose which vaccine to get?

The best vaccine is the first one you can get. All of the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. 

At this time, vaccine supplies are very limited as countries around the world rush to immunize their citizens. When you become eligible, physicians recommend taking the first vaccine that is available to you.

Which vaccine is most effective?

The vaccines are all trying to achieve the same thing – to give you immunity against COVID-19 and substantially decrease the risk of severe illness and death.

All of the vaccines approved in Canada are very effective against severe illness and death. Doctors recommend you take the first vaccine available to you to ensure you get protected as early as possible. 

In other words, the best vaccine is the first one you can get.

While different overall efficacy rates have been reported, these numbers also include people who developed mild symptoms. Experts have said it’s not appropriate to compare the efficacy numbers for different vaccines because the clinical trials for each vaccine were different. Dr. Joss Reimer, the Manitoba medical lead on vaccines, has explained that the clinical trials for each vaccine were “done in different populations, at different times, in different countries, with different variants circulating, and different amounts of virus circulating.” 

New studies with real-world data are helping us to better understand the true effectiveness of the vaccines. So far, these studies are finding the approved vaccines to be highly effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death. 

Find out more about vaccine effectiveness from:

Vaccines lead to 85%-94% decline in risk of hospitalization in Scotland (British Medical Journal)

Vaccine found 94% effective in real world (Israel experience)

New Data Show Vaccines Reduce Severe COVID-19 in Older Adults (UK Government)

Should I wait for a more effective vaccine?

No, please do not wait. Doctors recommend you take the first vaccine available to you to ensure you get protected as soon as possible. 

All of the vaccines approved for use in Manitoba are very effective at reducing severe illness and death. If you wait, you remain unprotected against COVID-19. 

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine effective for seniors?

Yes, it is effective, but it’s not yet an option for seniors in Manitoba.

The recommendations in Canada for AstraZeneca were updated to include adults of all ages. The Manitoba government is expected to change their guidelines to include seniors when more vaccine shipments arrive in the province.

Initially, Canadian recommendations suggested targeting the vaccine to adults under the age of 65. This was because the original clinical trial for AstraZeneca did not include a lot of older adults, so there wasn’t as much data as some scientists want to understand how effective this particular vaccine is among seniors. More studies have emerged, however, finding the vaccine to be effective in adults of all ages. This resulted in the update to the Canadian guidelines

Some countries, like the UK and Australia, were already using the AstraZeneca vaccine on adults of all ages, including seniors, and they have found it be very effective.

This vaccine is safe for all adults, including seniors.

Learn more here:

New Data Show Vaccines Reduce Severe COVID-19 in Older Adults (UK Government)

Canadian Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 Vaccines (NACI)

Will the vaccine work against new variants of COVID-19?

Scientists and physicians around the world are monitoring the effectiveness of the vaccines against new variants of concern, such as those first identified in the UK and South Africa.

While the studies are still underway, some preliminary data has found the approved vaccines offer at least some protection against the UK and/or South African variants. 

Because these are still relatively new vaccines for a new disease, we are all still learning about their long-term effectiveness.  It’s possible we will see booster shots in the future to protect against new variants, similar to flu shots. 

One way to slow down new variants from emerging is getting most people vaccinated as soon as possible. Even if you don’t think you need the vaccine to protect yourself, getting it can help to prevent mutations and new variants from emerging. 

You can learn more from:

The effects of virus variants on COVID-19 vaccines (World Health Organization)

Why do I have to wait four months for the second dose?

Studies have shown that the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can be at least 70% to 80% effective against the virus. This is still very strong protection.  

By deferring the second dose for up to four months, physicians and health providers are able to immunize more people sooner with a first dose.  

In other words, this means instead of one person getting 95% protection, two people can get at least 70-80% protection now, and then both will get their second dose later. 

No concerns have been identified that delaying the second dose will decrease protection after getting that second dose. In fact, with many vaccines a delay between the first and second doses is required to get the best protection.

You can learn more from:

Delayed Second Dose versus Standard Regimen for Covid-19 Vaccination (New England Journal of Medicine)

Public health statement on deferral of second dose (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)

Access

Where can I get the vaccine?

More and more locations are opening to offer the vaccine, including doctor’s offices across the province. The government has also set up mass immunization clinics.

You can find out where to get the vaccine using our Vaccine Finder.

When can I get the vaccine from a doctor?

Doctors’ offices will begin offering the vaccine in mid-March. Initially, supplies will be very limited and the provincial government is requiring these doses be used with those most at risk. This includes patients between 50 and 64 years of age with a serious medical issue that increases their risk to a severe outcome if they get infected with COVID-19.

This includes serious conditions such as advanced or severe diseases involving the lungs, kidneys, liver or heart, as well as some cancers, Down syndrome, or severe obesity. You can view the full list of conditions considered “high risk” for severe outcomes from a COVID-19 infection in the next question below.

You can register on our site, and we’ll let you know when you become eligible and where you can get the vaccine.

When will the vaccine be available in my community?

As more vaccine doses become available, physicians are planning to offer the vaccine in large and small communities across the province. In the meantime, the government has planned mass immunization clinics and pop-up clinics in larger communities.

You can find out where to get the vaccine using our Vaccine Finder.

How do I book an appointment?

How you book an appointment depends on where you are eligible to get it. If you are eligible for the vaccine in a doctor’s office, you can call the clinic directly when they have enough doses in stock. If you can get the vaccine at one of the government’s mass immunization clinics, you have to book through their central call centre or online booking system.

You can find out how and where to book using our Vaccine Finder.

Can spouses book together?

Yes, spouses can book their appointments together if they are both eligible. If one spouse is younger and you want to go together, you have to wait for the younger spouse to become eligible.  Younger spouses or another support person can join an eligible adult at the provincial immunization clinics if they need assistance.

You can check if it’s your turn to get the vaccine using our Eligibility Checker.

How can I get ready for my vaccine appointment?

It’s easy to get ready for your vaccine appointment!

If you need, you can bring someone to help you at the appointment. They must also wear a mask. 

Where can I download the consent form?

The consent form is available here.

Can I bring someone to help me at my vaccine appointment?

Yes. If you need help, you can bring one person to assist you. They must also wear a mask.

I got my first dose. When do I get my second dose?

The current guidelines suggest offering the second dose within four months of the first dose. About three months after your first dose, you should call to ensure you get your second dose within the four-month period.

Life after vaccination

After getting vaccinated, how quickly am I protected?

Immunity, or protection from COVID-19, doesn’t happen immediately. After both doses of the vaccine, it usually takes about two weeks for your body to develop full immunity. However, you develop some immunity about two weeks after your first dose.

The Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines require two doses to be considered fully vaccinated. When available, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will only require one dose.

Data also suggests that these vaccines are effective in the short term against the disease and the need for hospitalization starting one to two weeks after a person receives the first dose. Where two doses are required, that immunity is further boosted after the second dose.

 

How long will the vaccine work?

So far, we know the protection lasts at least several months. Because these are new vaccines, for a new disease, we don’t yet know how long their protection will last. 

Scientists and physicians are still following patients who have been vaccinated to determine how long the vaccine’s protection lasts.  They are also looking at ways to boost the effectiveness of the vaccine.

After getting the vaccine, will I still have to wear a mask, socially distance and follow other precautions?

For now, yes. In Manitoba, you are still required to follow the fundamentals, like wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands when sick. 

These guidelines are in place to protect those around you, because we don’t know enough yet about whether the vaccine prevents spreading the virus to others. 

These rules will change in Manitoba as more people get the vaccine.

In the United States, for example, new guidelines for vaccinated people will allow them to gather indoors without masks or social distancing, as long as it is around others who have been fully vaccinated, or with one designated household with lower-risk unvaccinated individuals. 

 

When can I see family and friends again?

Soon. Public health officials will loosen the rules when they know it’s safe to let people gather. This can happen when enough people get the vaccine, or when the number of active cases decreases to a safer level.

When can I travel?

With new variants emerging, non-essential travel is still discouraged. COVID-19 may still be able to spread to others, even if you’ve been vaccinated and don’t get sick.

As more people get immunized, however, travel will again be a routine option.

Will there be a vaccine passport or proof of immunity document?

We’re not sure yet. Some countries are considering a formal document that proves immunity, while others are concerned about the ethics of such a document. 

In the meantime, you can get a record of your immunization through Shared Health’s online test result portal. You will need a valid Manitoba Health card and an email address. The record shows which vaccine you received and when.  At this point, however, no one should ask you for proof of your immunization.

Have a Question?

If you have a general vaccine question that hasn’t been answered yet on our site, you can submit it below. We will work to post more answers on this site soon. Please note: this is not for personal medical questions.

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