Join the conversation about COVID-19

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Albertans have been dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 for nearly two years. And while we are tired, we must remain vigilant to protect one another and our healthcare system. It is as important as ever to follow advice from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and to take Guidance and Orders seriously.

Vaccines are a critical way to limit the spread of COVID-19. They are effective and safe for protecting our health, as well as the health of our families and community members. Our goal is to immunize Albertans as safely and effectively as possible.

Follow AHS on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates on COVID vaccine availability and other current news.

Albertans have been dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 for nearly two years. And while we are tired, we must remain vigilant to protect one another and our healthcare system. It is as important as ever to follow advice from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and to take Guidance and Orders seriously.

Vaccines are a critical way to limit the spread of COVID-19. They are effective and safe for protecting our health, as well as the health of our families and community members. Our goal is to immunize Albertans as safely and effectively as possible.

Follow AHS on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates on COVID vaccine availability and other current news.

COVID Fact or Fiction

Do you have questions about COVID-19 that you want to fact check? Look no further! 

Post your question here and an AHS expert will provide accurate and up-to-date information to help with your understanding or provide direction to links which can help you. Please note, the answers provided are accurate as of the time of posting.

By providing us with your email you will be notified when a response to your post is provided or updated. This notification is automatically generated and your email will not be used for any other purposes.

You can also find answers to commonly asked questions on our public and staff FAQs. For other information about COVID-19 visit www.ahs.ca/covid

Please note: only those questions that have not been previously asked will be answered. You can use the search function below to type in key words and see responses to nearly 300 questions.


AHS is pleased to answer respectful questions seeking information or clarity. Repetitive and disrespectful questions will not receive a response.

This Fact or Fiction tool will not be monitored between December 22 and January 4, 2021. 

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    When and where will NovaVax be available in Edmonton?

    Dr. Elizabeth L. Schick, MD, CCFP asked about 2 months ago

    Thank you for your question. On April 6 the Government of Alberta announced that the province expects to receive 10,000 doses of Novavax’s Nuvaxovid Starting April 12. Nuvaxovid is a two-dose protein subunit vaccine that does not use mRNA technology and is approved for those 18 and older. 

    Due to limited supply, appointments for this vaccine can be booked by calling 811 only. Other vaccines continue to be booked through the Alberta Vaccine Booking System.

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    Is it true that AHS requires new hires to be vaccinated but not people currently employed with them, and if so, what science/rationale guides this policy?

    JRN asked about 2 months ago

    AHS has amended its Immunization of Workers for COVID-19 Policy as directed by the provincial government. The updated policy allows workers — employed with AHS when the policy came into effect and who are currently on a leave of absence due to their immunization status — to return to work. 

    The requirement to be fully immunized remains in place for new hires. This means that any worker hired after Nov. 30, 2021 must be fully immunized against COVID-19 as outlined in the updated immunization policy. We’ll continue to focus on what’s important — keeping our patients and staff safe.

    It’s also important to note that the policy has been very successful and has resulted in high immunization rates across AHS with an overwhelming positive response — 97.7 per cent of staff and 99.8 per cent of physicians are today fully immunized.

    AHS will continue to educate workers about the importance of immunization and vaccine safety and effectiveness. Thanks for reaching out. 

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    What is the delay getting Novavax? What is wrong with AHS?

    Rob M asked about 2 months ago

    Alberta Health is working to bring a small number of doses of Novavax to Alberta; these will be administered through AHS clinics. We have not had an update about exact timing, but will keep Albertans informed when it becomes available.

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    Hello to all, I am a community physician. I do have a handful of patients who continue to refuse to consider the mRNA vaccines. It seems that their refusal relies mostly on disinformation and misinformation, however I have been unable to convince them. Some might consider the Novovax, but there has not been an offer in Alberta yet. Please consider as an option, as I do worry about them as they are quite high risk overall

    Adam asked 2 months ago

    Thank you for your continued support of your patients. The prevalence of misinformation about COVID-19 remains one of the largest challenges facing healthcare around the world.

    Regarding Noravax, Alberta Health is working to bring a small number of doses of Novavax to Alberta; these will be administered through AHS clinics. We have not had an update about exact timing, but will keep our partners in healthcare – including physicians – informed. 

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    Is it true that 27% of pregnant women who received Covid vaccines had serious adverse effects

    Knowmeinab asked 3 months ago

    No, that is not true. 

    According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), while pregnant and breastfeeding individuals were excluded from Phase II and Phase III studies for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, a growing body of data demonstrates no difference in rates of spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, preterm birth nor other pregnancy complications. The American V-Safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry now has close to 18,000 participants, with no indications there are increased risks, regardless of trimester when the COVID vaccine was administered.

    You can read SOGC’s full statement on COVID-19 Vaccination in Pregnancy to see this data in detail.

    Here is a link to a study published in August 2021 from the University of Washington, with 17,000 participants. This study found no difference in between pregnant and lactating individuals compared to a control group, in terms of post-vaccine reactions. In fact, odds of several reactions were statistically significantly decreased in pregnant individuals: Short-term Reactions Among Pregnant and Lactating Individuals in the First Wave of the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout | Pregnancy | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network

    Serious complications related to COVID-19 infection are more common if you’re pregnant than if you’re not pregnant. Those who are pregnant and infected with COVID-19 are at a higher risk of getting very sick, being admitted to hospital, and developing complications that need intensive care. 

    During the Delta wave, AHS saw a significant increase in severe illness of COVID-19 infected pregnant individuals. From July 15 - Nov 30, 2021 there were 28 ICU admissions in Alberta, compared to only 12 ICU admissions in the entire previous waves 1, 2 and 3 (March 1 2020 - June 30, 2021). Of the 48 pregnant individuals admitted to ICU, none were vaccinated (1 individual had received a single dose 5 days prior to admission, so still considered "unvaccinated"). 

    Furthermore, if you’re pregnant and have COVID-19 you’re more likely to have a premature birth. Your baby is more likely to be admitted to a neonatal care unit (NICU). Vaccines make your immune system stronger by building antibodies to help prevent disease. Immunization allows immunity to be passed from mother to infant, helping to protect your baby for the first few months of life.

    Learn more here: Vaccination While Pregnant.

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    Is proof of a positive test of covid (and recovery after testing positive) enough to provide a person with natural immunity without having a vaccine? Also can you tell me if we will still be able to use the QR code reader to verify people's Canadian vaccination status going forward? Thank you.

    Joan asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization (AACI) continue to recommend that COVID-19 vaccines be offered to individuals with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, who have no contraindications to the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines provide more robust protection than infection-acquired (or natural) immunity. The robustness and duration of protection conferred by SARS-CoV-2 infection alone is variable.

    While having had the disease offers some protection against future infection, there’s not enough data about that level of protection to know when it tapers off or how protective it is against new variants. Individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 may remain at risk of Omicron infection, and evidence prior to Omicron suggests protection is more robust and longer lasting with vaccination in previously infected individuals compared to immunity from SARS-CoV-2 infection alone. Numerous reports have documented the risk of reinfection with Omicron is higher than risk of reinfection with previous variants (an example from the World Health Organization can be found here). 

    People with previous COVID-19 infection should continue to receive a complete vaccine series at the recommended intervals. Getting fully immunized offers the best protection possible from the virus.

    The Alberta vaccine record is a Government of Alberta program, not AHS. More information can be found on the Alberta Government website.

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    Please fact check this statement: “ Since January 1, 2021, only 3.8% of people with 2 doses were diagnosed with COVID-19, 14 days after the second immunization date.”

    JRN asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for fact checking. COVID-19 data is updated on the Government of Alberta’s website daily. 

    As of end of day February 27, 2022, since Jan 1, 2021, 4.3% of people with two doses (143,077/3,342,817) were diagnosed with COVID-19 14 days after the second immunization date. In contrast, 53.1% of cases (224,511/422,556) since Jan 1, 2021 were unvaccinated or diagnosed within two weeks from the first dose immunization date.

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    Is AHS allowing COVID positive staff to return to work while still symptomatic or after only a 5 day isolation? If yes, why is this changing?

    Jodi asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your question. The time an AHS staff member or physician must stay away from work following a positive COVID diagnosis varies depending on their immunization status.

    Employees who are fully immunized, if symptomatic, must be work restricted for 5 days after onset of symptoms, or until symptoms have improved AND worker has gone 24 hours without a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications – whichever is longer. If fully immunized workers are asymptomatic, they must be work restricted for 5 days after date of positive test. 

    Unimmunized employees who are part of the testing option as outlined in the Immunization or Testing of Workers for COVID-19, can return to work after their work restriction. If tested positive on PCR, these employees must be work restricted for 10 days after onset of symptoms or until symptoms have improved and have gone without a fever for 24 hours, without taking fever reducing medication whichever is longer. These employees must continue to follow the direction outlined in the Immunization Policy for AHS Staff, Physicians & Volunteers

    A Return to Work Decision Chart has been developed to guide staff and managers.  

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    I have issues with taking this vaccine, it has nothing to do with the vaccine itself. Rather it has to do with me, I am a person who gets hypertensive panic attach from just taking vitamins or drinking coffee or even eating chocolate. I get these attacks even if I take any form of pain killer, how am I supposed to take this vaccine when these attacks happen for such minor reasons? How am I to get this shot when it could lead to another attack, one that could end up being worse then any other before? I mean my attacks are so close to a heart attack that they have almost been considered the same thing. I have had Covid 19 and haven't had it since, or any other illness. I see this vaccine as something that may do more harm to me then good, my fear is real and palpable. I want to take the vaccine, but these attacks are exceedingly severe and they are frightening.

    JohnDWilley asked 4 months ago

    Many people are nervous about immunization. AHS is committed to making your healthcare experience as comfortable as possible. Our Commitment to Comfort promotes comfort by helping lessen pain and distress that may be experienced during immunization, medical procedures and blood collection. The five Commitment to Comfort (CTC) principles support people of all ages to have a more comfortable healthcare experience.

    If you have a fear of needles or concerns about pain associated with immunization, learn more at Commitment to Comfort.

    We also encourage you to speak to your family physician about your concerns, and to ask any questions you may have about the vaccine.

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    Does the common cold still exist? Would a covid test show positive if we get tested when we have a cold?

    thomjs asked 5 months ago

    No, the test for COVID-19 is specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and cannot be mistaken for the influenza virus or a common cold.