Answers to Common COVID-19 Vaccine Questions

General questions

Where will I get the vaccine?

COVID-19 Immunization Clinics have been set up in Montague, Charlottetown, Summerside and O’Leary to safely and efficiently deliver the vaccine to Island residents. The COVID-19 Immunization Clinics are administering the Pfizer-BioNTech ComirnatyTM and Moderna SpikevaxTM vaccines.

A number of partner pharmacies in PEI are participating in the COVID-19 immunization program and are also offering the Pfizer-BioNTech ComirnatyTM and Moderna SpikevaxTM vaccines to Island residents 12 years of age and older. The JanssenTM, AstraZenecaTM  and NovavaxTM vaccines are available to individuals 18 years of age and older older who are unwilling or unable to receive a mRNA vaccine at select partner pharmacies on Prince Edward Island.


I am unable or prefer not to receive an mRNA or viral vector COVID-19 vaccine, is there another COVID-19 vaccine option available to me?

Health Canada recently authorized the use of the Novavax Nuvaxovid COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older. This is a recombinant protein subunit vaccine and a new option for individuals who have been unable or prefer not to receive an mRNA or viral vector COVID-19 vaccine. The primary series includes 2 doses given 8 weeks apart. There are currently no specific NACI recommendations regarding the number of doses of Novavax Nuvaxovid for immunocompromised individuals. Novavax Nuvaxovid vaccine is now available at participating pharmacies.

Health Canada has also recently authorized the use of the Medicao Covifenz COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 to 64 years of age. The primary series includes 2 doses given 8 weeks apart. There are currently no specific NACI recommendations regarding the number of doses of Medicao Covifenz for immunocompromised individuals.

An update will be shared closer to the arrival dates with information about where and when individuals can receive Medicao Covifenz COVID-19 vaccine.


What if I am allergic to any of the components in the COVID-19 vaccine?

It is possible that someone may have an allergic reaction after receiving COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals with known allergies to any of the components of the vaccine should not receive it.

Potential non-medicinal ingredients in the vaccines known to cause a reaction ranging from mild skin reactions to anaphylaxis include;

Vaccine product

(manufacturer) 

Potential Allergen included in the vaccine Other products where the allergen may be found* 

Pfizer-BioNTech ComirnatyTM COVID-19
(Pfizer-BioNTech ComirnatyTM)


Moderna SpikevaxTM COVID-19
(Moderna SpikevaxTM)

polyethylene glycol (PEG) • Bowel preparation products for colonoscopy, laxatives, cough syrup, cosmetics, contact lens care solutions, skin care products, and as an additive in some food and drinks
Moderna SpikevaxTM (Moderna SpikevaxTM ONLY) Tromethamine (trometamol, Tris) •    Contrast agents, some oral and parenteral medications. 

AstraZeneca VaxzevriaTM and CoviShield

Janssen

Polysorbates •    medications (e.g., vaccines, vitamins, oils, anticancer treatment and medication tablets), and some creams and ointments. 

I’ve recovered from COVID-19, should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you should be immunized. There is no mandatory waiting period between being fully recovered from COVID-19 disease and being immunized; however, it is recommended that people wait until they are feeling better.


Should I leave a gap between getting the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time as, or any time before or after other vaccines which includes influenza vaccine.

There is currently limited data on the administration of other vaccines with COVID-19 vaccines. There is a possibility of increased side effects when a COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine are administered at the same or within days of each other.


Should I receive COVID-19 vaccine if I am immunocompromised, or have an autoimmune disorder or I am pregnant or breast-feeding?

  • The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI)  state that mRNA vaccines may be offered to these individuals in the authorized age group.
  • These groups should be offered the vaccine as long as informed consent is given. Informed consent should include information about the lack of data on the use of the COVID-19 vaccines in these populations.
  • You may choose to be vaccinated, particularly if you are at increased risk for COVID-19 infection or severe disease.

Individuals should be aware of the absence of evidence on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in these individuals and be able to provide informed consent.


How many doses are recommended for individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised?

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has recommended an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised (link is external) in order to provide additional protection against the virus.

Those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised will need three doses of vaccine to complete their primary series:

  • active treatment for solid tumour or hematologic malignancies
  • receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
  • moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids (e.g. 20 mg/day for ≥ 14 days), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppressive.
  • Dialysis patients

5 1/2 months after the completion of the primary series (3 doses), a booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer Comirnaty® or Moderna Spikevax®) is strongly recommended.

A 2nd booster dose is recommended 4- 6 months after the 1st booster dose has been administered.


Questions about First Doses

Can I choose which vaccine I get?  How do I know what one will be offered to me?

The Pfizer-BioNTech ComirnatyTM and Moderna SpikevaxTM vaccines (both are mRNA vaccines) are being administered by Public Health Nursing at COVID-19 immunization clinics across the province to individuals 12 years of age and older. There may be only one of these vaccines available at the time you have your appointment.

The Pfizer-BioNTech ComirnatyTM and Moderna SpikevaxTM vaccines are also being offered by partner pharmacies to individuals 12 years of age and older. A select number of partner pharmacies are offering the JanssenTM vaccine to individuals 18 years of age and older. 

If you have an allergy to any of the components of the COVID-19 vaccines being offered in Prince Edward Island, you should provide that information when making your appointment at either a COVID-19 immunization clinic or partner pharmacy.


I have a health condition can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) state that COVID-19 vaccines may be offered to individuals who are immune suppressed or have an autoimmune disorder in the authorized age group. Individuals who are immune suppressed, have an autoimmune disorder or an underlying medical condition should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine as long as informed consent is given.

Informed consent should include information about the lack of evidence on the use of the COVID-19 vaccines in these populations.

You may choose to be vaccinated, particularly if you are at increased risk for COVID-19 infection or severe illness from the virus. If you have any concerns, you should consult your primary care provider before getting the vaccine.


I am unable or prefer not to receive an mRNA or viral vector COVID-19 vaccine, is there another COVID-19 vaccine option available to me?

Health Canada recently authorized the use of the Novavax Nuvaxovid COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older. This is a recombinant protein subunit vaccine and a new option for individuals who have been unable or prefer not to receive an mRNA or viral vector COVID-19 vaccine. The primary series includes 2 doses given 8 weeks apart. There are currently no specific NACI recommendations regarding the number of doses of Novavax Nuvaxovid for immunocompromised individuals. Novavax Nuvaxovid vaccine is now available at participating pharmacies.

Health Canada has also recently authorized the use of the Medicao Covifenz COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 to 64 years of age. The primary series includes 2 doses given 8 weeks apart. There are currently no specific NACI recommendations regarding the number of doses of Medicao Covifenz for immunocompromised individuals.

An update will be shared closer to the arrival dates with information about where and when individuals can receive Medicao Covifenz COVID-19 vaccine.


Can I get my Flu vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time as, or any time before or after other vaccines which includes influenza vaccine.

There is currently limited data on the administration of other vaccines with COVID-19 vaccines. There is a possibility of increased side effects when a COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine are administered at the same or within days of each other.


I was diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrome (GBS) in the past. Should I get the vaccine?

Anyone can develop GBS, but people older than 50 are at greatest risk. In addition, about two-thirds of people who get GBS do so several days or weeks after they have been sick with diarrhea or a lung or sinus illness. On very rare occasions, people develop GBS in the days or weeks after getting a vaccination. If you have been diagnosed in the past and are unsure if you should receive the vaccine you should contact your health care provider.

The Global Medical Advisory Board (GMAB) Statement on vaccines  (October 13, 2021) from GBS/CIDP Foundation International.

COVID19 vaccines are different from flu vaccines. We are not seeing evidence that COVID19 vaccines are more likely to cause GBS, even in individuals who have had GBS brought on by other vaccines. Therefore, we do not see prior GBS as a reason not to get a COVID19 vaccine.


I have an autoimmune disorder or am taking medication that affect my immune system, should I be vaccinated?

We don’t yet know about the side effects or how well COVID-19 vaccines work in people with autoimmune/rheumatic diseases. People with these conditions were mostly excluded from COVID-19 vaccine trials. People whose immune system activity is lowered by medications may have somewhat less protection from vaccination, although most people are usually still protected.


What is informed consent?

Informed consent means that you agree to receive the vaccine and understand the risks of receiving the vaccine and the risks if you do not receive the vaccine. You will be provided information on the vaccine and should ask the nurse any questions you may have before receiving the vaccine.

Children 12 years of age and older can receive the vaccine at a COVID-19 Immunization Clinic.


I am pregnant and/or breastfeeding, should I be vaccinated?

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada state that "Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be offered vaccination at any time during pregnancy if they are eligible and no contraindications exist."

Pregnant and breastfeeding women may want to contact their prenatal care provider to assist in making decisions weighing the risks and benefits so that they might arrive at a well informed decision that is right for them as an individual.

Read the SOGC Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding


I have been living in PEI for over a year and do not have a PEI health card.  Can I get the vaccine and, if so, how do I book an appointment?

You do not need a PEI health card to make your vaccine appointment. You can book your appointment through the online platform or call toll-free 1-844-975-3303.


Are vaccines effective at preventing the spread of the Omicron variant?

As per a recent statement by the Canadian Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, “while data remains limited at this time, there is emerging evidence that two doses of a mRNA vaccine are less effective at preventing Omicron infection compared to previous variants but does indicate good protection against more severe disease requiring hospitalization. We also know that a booster dose is a valuable tool to offer protection from infection and do expect that a booster dose will offer very good protection against severe disease. While we do not know how long protection from boosters will last, this is an important tool at this time to help protect our collective progress against COVID-19 and preserve health care system capacity.” The full statement can be found here

Published date: 
May 3, 2022
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
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105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121

DeptHW@gov.pe.ca