Visit this page frequently for up to date information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

*Vaccine currently not available in stores.
  • The Government of Canada is securing vaccines for everyone who lives in Canada, who wants a vaccine and is working with provinces, territories, First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders to make sure doses are available as soon as possible. Provinces and territories are working on detailed vaccination rollout plans for their residents. Check back on shopperdrugmart.ca/covid19 regularly for updates.

  • The Government of Canada is working at all levels of government to deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to everyone who wants one.

  • Everyone who lives in Canada who wants a vaccine will have access to a safe, effective and free COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.

    Vaccination has started and will be expanded to the entire population throughout 2021 as vaccine supply increases.

    Doses for the whole population will arrive at different times. A phased approach to vaccine delivery has begun with prioritization for high-risk people.

    Priority high-risk groups include residents and staff of shared living settings that provide care for seniors adults 70 years of age and older, beginning with adults 80 years of age and older, and then decreasing the age limit by 5-year increments to age 70 years as supply becomes available health care workers who have direct contact with patients, including those who work in health care settings and personal support workers adults in Indigenous communities.

  • The new COVID-19 vaccine will not give you COVID-19. This vaccine is not made of the live virus that causes COVID-19, instead it is made up of messenger RNA (mRNA). The goal of this vaccine is to teach your body to recognize and fight the virus by giving the instructions (mRNA) to make a harmless protein of the virus. After the protein is made, the cell breaks down the instructions (mRNA) and gets rid of them. Your immune system then recognizes the protein since it doesn't typically belong there. This triggers your body to make antibodies, which will protect you from being infected with the real COVID-19 virus if it were to enter your body in the future.
  • Vaccine development is usually a long process and can take several years. However, the new COVID-19 vaccine was developed and approved for use in a matter of 8 months. This rapid timeline may sound alarming, but it was possible due to the large amount of funding, time and effort spent on research.

    New vaccines go through different stages before being approved: preclinical trials and clinical trials (phases I, II and III). Preclinical trials involve testing the vaccine in cells and in animals. During phase I of clinical trials, the vaccine is given to a small number of healthy people. In phase II, the vaccine is given to more people who fit the characteristics of the intended target population. In phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people (usually 1,000 to 3,000) to test for effectiveness and safety.

    The COVID-19 vaccine underwent the same rigorous testing as any other vaccine, but was fast-tracked by completing many stages at the same time. This means that all the usual safety checks were performed and completed simultaneously, rather than separately, saving a lot of time. The phase II/III trial of the new COVID-19 vaccine also had over 43,000 participants, which is far more than normally required.
  • Vaccines are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Currently, the new COVID-19 vaccine cannot be given to everyone. It is only approved for use in people 16 years of age and over.

    It's important to have multiple vaccines available so that everyone can be safely vaccinated and protected against COVID-19. Each vaccine may have different requirements, and if you can't receive one vaccine for any reason, there's a good chance that you can get another one. As of now, there are over 200 vaccines in development around the world, with over 10 in phase III clinical trials.
  • The efficacy and safety of the new COVID-19 vaccine was tested in a phase II/III study with over 43,000 participants. The vaccine was given in two separate doses, 21 days apart.

    The vaccine was found to be 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection beginning 1 week after the second dose.

    The main side effects seen were injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. These side effects were usually mild or moderate, and went away within a few days, similar to what you might experience with other vaccines.
  • After someone is infected with COVID-19 and has recovered, they may have some protection from getting COVID-19 again. However, at this time, scientists do not know how long this natural immunity lasts. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last long, but more research is needed to better understand this.

    Because the health risks associated with COVID-19 infection can be severe, and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, you may be advised to get the COVID-19 vaccine even if you've had COVID-19 before. If there is a limited supply of the vaccine, those who have already tested positive may have their COVID-19 vaccination delayed. Talk to your health care professional if you're not sure whether you need the vaccine.
  • Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) is a type of genetic information found in our cells. mRNA can be thought of as a set of instructions that are used by your cells to make different proteins in your body.

  • mRNA vaccines deliver the genetic instructions for the cells in our body to make viral or bacterial proteins themselves. Our immune system then responds to these proteins and builds up immunity.

  • Health Canada is recommending vaccination for everyone in the approved age groups that do not have contraindications to the vaccine. For people who have previously had COVID-19, vaccination is still recommended since we don’t know how long immunity lasts, and you could get infected again and become sick.