Along with other layers of protection such as physical distancing, good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and mask-wearing, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is one of the best measures in fighting this pandemic. If you’ve received two doses of an mRNA vaccine, it is highly recommended that you get a booster vaccine. Getting a COVID-19 booster vaccine can help maintain and lengthen your protection against the virus.
“Why do I need a booster vaccine?”
While vaccines are highly protective against the development of serious illness (or even death) as a result of COVID-19, studies have shown some waning of vaccine effectiveness over time – with an increase in susceptibility in individuals who are older or severely immunocompromised. Getting a booster vaccine is also crucial as new variants (such as the highly transmissible Delta variant) of the virus emerge and transmit in the community.
“Who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster vaccine?”
Everyone in British Columbia who is 18 or older will be eligible to receive a booster vaccine, starting with those who are most at risk. While getting a booster vaccine is optional, it is highly recommended – especially for those who are considered CEV (clinically extremely vulnerable.)
“When will I get my invitation for the booster vaccine?”
From November 2021 until January 2022, invistations will be sent out based on age group (starting from oldest to youngest) and the date of your second dose. Everyone will be eligible, and you will not miss your opportunity to receive a booster vaccine. In order for you to receive your invitation, you must be registered with British Columbia’s Get Vaccinated system. If you have not yet registered, you can do so by visiting www.gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated and may register online. Alternatively, you can also register by calling 1-833-838-2323. This number is available 7 days per week, from 7 AM to 7 PM PDT.
“What type of vaccine will I receive for the booster dose?”
All booster doses will be an mRNA vaccine – such as Pfizer or Moderna. If you happened to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine for your first or second dose, you will receive either Pfizer or Moderna for your booster dose.
“Will I develop more side effects from a booster vaccine?”
Everyone’s body reacts differently. While some individuals may not develop any noticeable side-effects from the COVID-19 vaccines, others can. Regardless of whether you receive one, two, or three vaccines, it’s still possible to develop side-effects. The most common side-effects that are reported following COVID-19 vaccines include flu-like symptoms such as headache, nausea, and fever, in addition to pain, redness and/or swelling at the site of injection. Typically, these side-effects will be mild and dissipate after a few days. If you’re still experiencing these symptoms after one week, you should speak with your physician by telephone for further consultation.
“Will a booster vaccine protect against influenza?”
Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine does not protect against the flu, which is why it’s also strongly recommended that everyone aged 6 months or older get the flu vaccine in addition to the COVID-19 vaccine (although at separate times.) Developing both the flu and COVID-19 could put you at even greater risk of significant complications, so it is important to protect yourself from both of these illnesses. For more information on influenza and the flu vaccine, visit www.immunizebc.ca/influenza.