Join the conversation about COVID-19

Albertans have been dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 for a year. Together we have flattened the curve, but 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 voluntary and mandatory restrictions 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. Alberta Health, with input from AHS, has identified key populations to be included in a phased approach to the immunization roll out in Alberta. Healthcare workers eligible to receive the vaccine in the first phases will receive an email from AHS, inviting them to use the COVID-19 immunization online booking tool to book their COVID-19 immunization appointments online from their phones or computers. Our goal is to immunize Albertans as safely and effectively as possible; beginning with acute care sites with the highest COVID-19 capacity concerns.

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 a year. Together we have flattened the curve, but 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 voluntary and mandatory restrictions 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. Alberta Health, with input from AHS, has identified key populations to be included in a phased approach to the immunization roll out in Alberta. Healthcare workers eligible to receive the vaccine in the first phases will receive an email from AHS, inviting them to use the COVID-19 immunization online booking tool to book their COVID-19 immunization appointments online from their phones or computers. Our goal is to immunize Albertans as safely and effectively as possible; beginning with acute care sites with the highest COVID-19 capacity concerns.

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

COVID Fact or Fiction

Have you heard a comment about COVID-19 that you want to fact check? Look no further! 

Post your comment here and an AHS expert will provide accurate and up-to-date information to validate or debunk your post as fact or fiction!

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

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  • Are are any liability factors related to vaccine injury that public health officials should be concerned about, especially regarding the 3 cases of clotting disorders in Alberta since a Friday April 16? Who is held liable in these circumstances since very few Alberta physicians have done little more than read studies?

    Q17 its time asked 4 days ago

    On April 17, Alberta Health officials confirmed a case of the rare blood clot known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) in Alberta. There have been two confirmed cases of VITT after AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada reported: one in Alberta and one in Quebec. 

     Alberta Health is actively monitoring the safety of all vaccines and working with health officials across Canada to protect Albertans. 

     While every adverse reaction is unfortunate, it is important to remember that these blood clots are extremely rare. This does not change the risk assessment previously communicated to Albertans. The global frequency of VITT has been estimated at approximately one case in 100,000 to 250,000 doses of vaccine. In comparison, Albertans aged 55 and older are at least 1,500 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 than experiencing VITT after getting AstraZeneca. Also, Albertans aged 55+ who are diagnosed with COVID-19 have a one in 200 chance of dying from the infection.

     The Government of Alberta has the most up-to-date figures on adverse events following immunization (AEFI) with the COVID-19 vaccine.

    As with anyone who receives any medication, including a vaccine, we encourage you to monitor your health and seek immediate medical attention if you experience any health concerns.

  • Are the vector based vaccines safer than the mRNA vaccines. I know personally of a few people with significant reactions to AZ vaccine, includiing one on medevac out of the NWT

    Q17 its time asked 4 days ago

    With three options of vaccine currently available in Alberta, it is understandable that individuals want to ensure they have all the latest information available to them in order to make the decision on which vaccine option is best for them. Canada has a thorough and rigorous approval process for vaccines to ensure their safety and efficacy. 

     We encourage you to speak with your healthcare provider, and in consultation with them, you can determine if the benefits of immunization outweigh potential risks based on your health and circumstances. We also encourage everyone to review current evidence in order to make the best and most informed decision about your health, the health of your loved ones and the greater community.

     Canada is recognized around the world for high standards for vaccine review, approvals, and monitoring systems. Only vaccines that are safe and effective will be approved for use in Canada. After a vaccine is approved for use, evidence on safety and effectiveness is reviewed by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization who provide recommendations on immunizations for individuals and for public health programs.

     You can find more information around vaccine safety here: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17389.aspx

  • What percentages of ICU beds have been occupied by patients due to covid. Can you break down the number of those with covid as opposed to because of covid.

    Liza asked 2 days ago

    Thank you for your questions. Please refer to the Government of Alberta for current number of COVID-19 cases, in hospital and intensive care: https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-alberta-data.aspx. And note, ICU cases are a subset of those in hospital.

  • Are there any confirmed deaths as a result after receiving the vaccination in Canada or provincially? I have been seeing a couple articles online outlining some deaths post vaccination. What are the chances of death post vaccination?

    EC asked 2 days ago

    No. A total of 7,569,321 vaccine doses have been administered in Canada as of April 9, 2021. Adverse events (side effects) have been reported by 3,444 people. That’s about 5 people out of every 10,000 people vaccinated who have reported one or more adverse events. Of the 3,444 individual reports, 2,980 were considered non-serious (0.039% of all doses administered) and 464 were considered serious (0.006% of all doses administered). 

     You can review Health Canada’s weekly reports of side effects following COVID-19 vaccination.

     As with anyone who receives any medication, including a vaccine, we encourage you to monitor your health and seek immediate medical attention if you experience any health concerns.

     Link for more information: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17389.aspx

  • Since HELLP syndrome may result in low platelet count during pregnancy, should a woman developed HELLP syndrome during a past pregnancy avoid the AZ or J&J vaccines?

    EKT2021 asked 2 days ago

    Thank you for your question. The Society for Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) have released a statement recommending pregnant women be vaccinated in any trimester. AHS supports this position. 

     We recommend that you speak with your healthcare provider to do a risk assessment and determine if the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the potential risks, and to see if the COVID-19 vaccine is right for you. 

    Resources: 

    https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/COVID-19-vaccine.aspx

    https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-vaccine-q-and-a-health-care-practitioners.pdf

  • I have seen numerous “studies” that claim early outpatient treatment using Ivermectin reduces disease severity in a high percentage of cases. Is there any validity to these claims?

    Robodog asked 5 days ago

    Thank you for your question.

    Following results of studies performed in monkey cells showing Ivermectin is able to stop the virus that causes COVID-19 from growing in cells, AHS Scientific Advisory Group conducted a review to explore using Ivermectin in treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

     The review identified several studies evaluating Ivermectin in COVID-19, mostly for its use in treatment with a few exploring its use in prevention. All studies were of low quality, meaning it is uncertain if Ivermectin is of any use in COVID-19 treatment or prevention.

     Based on the findings of this rapid review, at this time, Ivermectin should not be prescribed or taken to treat or prevent COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial. Future studies are underway, and will be important to determine whether Ivermectin is useful as treatment or prevention. 

     For more information, please see the Rapid Review.

  • Will the Covid Vaccine interfere with Mammogram results due to increased lymph node size.

    GDP asked 7 days ago

    Thank you for your question. There have been some recent reports of an uncommon occurrence that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine just prior to having a mammogram may slightly increase your chance of getting a false positive (being called back for more testing when you do not actually have breast cancer). 

    As a result, your provider may ask about your recent COVID-19 vaccination history when you book your mammogram. They may also suggest you book the mammogram appointment 4-6 weeks after your COVID-19 vaccination, as there is a chance you may experience some side effects, such as large lymph nodes in one or both arm pits.

    If you’d like to read more information about this, you might want to check out these articles:


    Dr. Huiming Yang, Provincial Medical Officer of Health, Healthy Living & Medical Director, Screening, Provincial Population and Public Health

  • If I give blood how long do I have to wait before I can get my vaccine? Is there any affect?

    Kiki asked 7 days ago

    Thank you, this is really a good question. At this time there is no deferral for blood donors after they receive a vaccine against COVID-19.

    When people have recently received certain vaccines, they may have a waiting period, called a temporary deferral, before they can donate blood or plasma. Donors are deferred after receiving vaccines made with live attenuated viruses or bacteria due to concerns for the safety of blood recipients. Shortly after vaccination, blood may contain an infective agent which is not harmful to the donor but poses a theoretical risk of causing illness if transfused to a patient who is immunosuppressed. Certain vaccinations have also been shown to interfere with transmissible disease testing that is conducted on all donations, causing “false positive” results. Donors are deferred if they’ve recently received these vaccines.

    None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in Canada (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Jannsen and Novavax) use live attenuated or weakened SARS-CoV-2 virus, so none should pose a safety risk to recipients.

    Please see the following link for the article from the Canadian blood services around this topic:

    https://www.blood.ca/en/research/our-research-stories/research-education-discovery/you-can-still-donate-after-COVID-vaccine

    There is also another link from the Canadian blood services with relevant Q&A. In this link it shows that there is no suggestion or evidence in the research available that donating blood will reduce the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine:

    https://www.blood.ca/en/covid19#:~:text=How%20long%20after%20recovery%20can,full%20recovery%20to%20donate%20blood.

    Dr. Michael Zakhary, Medical Officer of Health, Edmonton

  • Hello, is there any fact that the vaccination effects the fertility of women. your response would be appreciable. thank you so much!

    mandeepsaran02 asked 7 days ago

    Thank you for your question. The Society for Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) have released a statement recommending pregnant women be vaccinated in any trimester. AHS supports this position.

    The challenge we have with most new drugs and vaccines is that pregnant women are excluded from the initial clinical trials. This leaves a gap in our knowledge about safety and efficacy in pregnant women. However, although trials of vaccines for COVID-19 excluded pregnant women, sometimes women get vaccinated and find out a few days later they were actually pregnant when they received the vaccine. In each of the trials, 10-20 pregnant women received the vaccine. They were followed up with very carefully and there were no adverse effects to the woman or the baby. That is a small number but that’s the evidence we have so far.  In addition, as vaccines (or drugs) are licensed, registries for pregnant women are often created (or mandated through the licensure process) so that outcomes on pregnant women and their babies can be tracked. Through all of this, there is no suggestion that there is any safety issue for COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy.

    Because of the rare risk of blood clots that have been recently reported primarily in young women with the Astra-Zeneca and the Johnston and Johnston COVID-19 vaccines, we would not recommend that these vaccines be administered to a pregnant woman.

    We now have extensive evidence from providing vaccines to women who are pregnant. We recommend that pregnant women get vaccinated for influenza and whooping cough, for example, because of the risk to them or their baby if they become ill during pregnancy. Vaccinating the pregnant woman also allows immunity to pass on to her infant, protecting the baby for the first few months of life. 

    There have been some women who developed severe COVID-19 in late pregnancy and it is therefore recommended that pregnant women receive vaccine. Ideally, any woman who is planning a pregnancy should be vaccinated BEFORE becoming pregnant – out of an abundance of caution. The SOGC advises that women may be vaccinated at any time during pregnancy. Some women may choose to avoid being vaccinated in the first trimester of pregnancy in case fever results from the vaccine.

    The important message is that COVID-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their babies and the benefits of being vaccinated far outweigh any risks.

    Dr. Mark Joffe, VP and Medical Director Cancer Care Alberta, Clinical Support Services and Provincial Clinical Excellence and Specialist in Infectious Diseases

  • Are there “religious” reasons for not getting the vaccine? Is there any truth to the suggestion that aborted fetuses were used in the creation of vaccines?

    YYC2021 asked 8 days ago

    Thank you for your question, we've seen this question come up in some of our public engagement sessions and on social media.

    Some of the vaccines were developed and tested using cells derived from the fetal tissue of elective abortions that took place decades ago, but none of the vaccines include fetal tissue. The J&J vaccine used cell lines that originated from fetal cells during research and production in the 1960s. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use fetal cell lines in their early testing but not in development. 

    The Catholic Church has said Catholics can receive any approved COVID-19 vaccine. The Pope received the Pfizer vaccine Jan. 13, 2021. He’s told Catholics it is their “moral obligation to be vaccinated”. 

    Benefits to family, friends and the community should be strongly considered (“it’s not for you, it’s for your grandmother, or those you work with”).

    - Dr. James L. Silvius (Clinical Professor, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary and Senior Medical Director, Provincial Seniors Health and Continuing Care)