Join the conversation about COVID-19

Albertans have been dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 for a year. 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. 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. 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. 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

Please note, the answers provided are accurate as of the time of posting.

loader image
Didn't receive confirmation?
Seems like you are already registered, please provide the password. Forgot your password? Create a new one now.
  • My 12 yo son has received his first vaccination. Is it recommended to wait at least 8 weeks until his second shot to minimize the potential of pericarditis or myocarditis?

    Anngram780 asked 4 days ago

    Thank you for your question. A small number of cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and/or pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) following immunization with COVID-19 vaccines have been reported in Canada and internationally. These cases are very rare and most reported cases to date have followed vaccination with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) and were resolved with symptomatic therapy within days. Usually, symptoms started within one week after vaccination.

    Cases happen more frequently following the second dose of an mRNA vaccine, more often in those under 30 years of age than older individuals, and more often in males than females. There is currently a lack of evidence about whether the length of time between first and second doses of vaccines impacts the risk of myocarditis/pericarditis. 

    All Albertans age 12+ are recommended to receive COVID-19 vaccine as the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines continue to outweigh their potential risks. Second doses are recommended 28 days after the first dose. 

    Individuals should seek medical care if they develop symptoms that may be compatible with myocarditis and/or pericarditis after immunization, which may include chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, or the feeling of a rapid or abnormal heart rhythm.

    Albertans who have a history of previous myocarditis, pericarditis or post-COVID inflammatory syndrome are advised to consult with their clinician before COVID-19 vaccination. 

    More information about this issue is available here

    Dr. Kristin Klein, Medical Officer of Health, Provincial Population and Public Health, and Co-Lead of AHS’ COVID Vaccine Task Force

  • Is there any available information on any risks or increase side effects of being immunized with 2 different COVID-19 vaccine series. Research regarding the safety of receiving 2 complete series of COVID-19 vaccine? For example, we have clients that have received a complete series of COVID vaccine in another country but are eligible to receive a complete series here in Canada.( eg. Sinovac which is on the list of “finalized” vaccines from the WHO but not Health Canada approved therefore are eligible to receive a complete series of COVID vaccine that is approved for use in Canada). Thank you.

    Danielle Sawchuk asked 15 days ago

    Thank you for your question. There is limited evidence available about people who have received 2 different vaccine series. In order to minimize the risk of any interference between the different vaccines, it would be recommended to wait at least 4 weeks after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in another country before receiving a dose of a Health Canada authorized vaccine. 

    Dr. Kristin Klein, Medical Officer of Health, Provincial Population and Public Health, and Co-Lead of AHS’ COVID Vaccine Task Force

  • Can you please provide the studies and research that AHS is using to determine that that a Covid vaccine is necessary for someone who has recovered from Covid? I asked previously and was told I had to make a FOIP request. Why? Why is this data not public. If I missed seeing where it is on the website, could you direct me? Thank you.

    Christy asked 15 days ago

    Thank you for seeking research and studies to verify information on this important topic. 

    AHS relies on the guidance and recommendations provided by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), which are published in the Canadian Immunization Guide, and by the Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization (AACI).  Both advisory committees review available studies to make their recommendations.

    NACI recommends that a complete vaccine series with a COVID-19 vaccine may be offered to individuals who have had previously PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. This recommendation is based on observational studies that reported on the immunogenicity and safety of vaccination in previously infected individuals, safety data from pivotal clinical trials of vaccines approved for use in Canada, as well as presentations from the Canadian National Vaccine Safety Network and the University of Montreal RECOVER study. There is currently limited data on potential differences in adverse reactions/side effects from vaccination between those with and without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

    There is also a lack of evidence about how the severity of the previous infection and the interval between a previous infection and timing of the first dose may affect adverse reactions/side effects from vaccine. 

    There is limited data suggesting individuals with previous infection may generate a comparable or greater immune response to a single dose of vaccine compared to SARS-CoV-2 naïve individuals after receiving 2 doses. There are reports of reinfections with SARS-CoV-2 and variants, and we still do not understand the duration of immunity from SARS-CoV-2 infection and the amount of cross-protection there is between variants of concern.

    NACI continues to monitor the evidence and will update its recommendations as needed. 

    AACI recommends that individuals who have had lab confirmed COVID-19 infection who have no contraindications can be provided COVID-19 vaccine.

    Getting tested for antibody levels if you've had COVID-19 previously is not recommended as we do not know how much protection these antibodies may provide or how long this protection may last. Antibodies do not mean you are immune to reinfection with COVID-19. 

    Therefore, in the absence of understanding about the duration of immunity provided by COVID-19 infection, the possibility of reinfection with COVID-19 and variants, and with the data that shows immunization is safe for previously infected individuals, AHS recommends immunization for those who have had COVID-19 previously.

    Dr. Judy Macdonald, Medical Officer of Health, AHS Public Health

  • Apparently there is a Lambda variant circulating, are there any further precautions to take at this time? Thanks!

    RG Smith asked 17 days ago

    The C.37 COVID-19 variant, also known as the Lambda variant, is currently designated by the World Health Organization as a Variant of Interest. We don't yet know if it will become a Variant of Concern.

    The Lambda variant is being closely monitored because it has some genetic changes that could result in changes in transmissibility, disease severity, or other factors, compared to current circulating COVID-19 strains. It is also associated with increased numbers of cases in multiple countries.

    While the COVID-19 variants spread more easily, they spread in the same way as wild type COVID-19. This means the same types of preventive strategies will be effective. However, the variants can more easily take advantage of any relaxation of preventive measures. The public is advised to follow all public health recommendations, including:

    • get immunized against COVID-19
    • reduce the number of close contacts
    • use frequent hand hygiene
    • wear a mask (note: a mask is required on public transit including taxis and ride shares)
    • stay home when sick
    • get tested if an individual has any symptoms of COVID-19
    • know isolation and quarantine requirements
    • practice cough etiquette
    • avoid crowded places
    • ensure good ventilation

    These are all critical steps to preventing the spread of the virus, regardless of what strain it is.

    Dr. Cheri Nijssen-Jordan, Co-Chair of AHS' Vaccine Task Force

  • effect on ovaries, if we have a young teenage daughter

    Jeannette asked 23 days ago

    Thank you for your question. The COVID-19 vaccines do not have any effect on the ovaries or their development. 

    Medical experts continue to assert that the COVID-19 vaccine does not impact fertility. Confusion around this issue arose when a false report surfaced on social media, saying that the spike protein on this coronavirus was the same as another spike protein called syncitin-1 that is involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. The false report said that getting the COVID-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight this different spike protein and affect her fertility. The two spike proteins are completely different, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant. 

    You can read more here: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/the-covid19-vaccine-and-pregnancy-what-you-need-to-know.

    Dr. Judy Macdonald, Medical Officer of Health, AHS Public Health

  • Can you tell me more about this "capillary leakage syndrome" noted on some Covid 19 vaccine patients? What other rare but dangerous side effects can we expect in coming months? I know technically these vaccines are approved by health Canada but with literally zero long term data can you give the actual medical and ethical caveats to this approval process? What aspects of these vaccines will not be revealed until 2023 when human trial officially conclude? Is any element of this process still technically experimental despite the tentative approval. A full answer would be appreciated. Thanks!

    RG Smith asked 21 days ago

    Health Canada has noted very rare cases of capillary leakage syndrome (CLS) being reported following vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. CLS is a very rare, serious condition that causes fluid leakage from small blood vessels (capillaries), resulting in swelling mainly in the arms and legs, low blood pressure, thickening of the blood and low blood levels of albumin (an important blood protein). Symptoms are often associated with feeling faint (due to low blood pressure).

    In some of these cases, individuals have had a history of CLS and there is one reported death in Canada (of 25,459,240 Canadians who have received the vaccine). The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is not recommended for people with a history of CLS, but mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) remain safe for those individuals.

    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.

    In regards to the approval of the COVID-19 vaccines and data collection underway we have provided the following response to previous questions:

    While sufficient evidence of safety, efficacy and quality is an absolute requirement for Health Canada to approve a vaccine for use, sufficient evidence does not mean knowing everything that can be known about a vaccine. 

    Monitoring for reactions following immunization, called post-marketing surveillance, is critical once a vaccine program rolls out to a large population in order to pick up rare or very rare vaccine-related reactions, and to learn more about how the vaccine works in the real world. This monitoring is done by the vaccine manufacturer, by public health professionals and other health care professionals to continue to ensure safety and effectiveness. 

    You can read more information about this from Health Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/canadian-immunization-guide-part-2-vaccine-safety/page-2-vaccine-safety.html.

    Dr. Judy Macdonald, Medical Officer of Health, AHS Public Health 

  • If there are more variants, do we eventually take more new Covid shots? Does repetitive Covid vaccine eventually going to affect the DNA?

    Mickey asked 30 days ago

    Thank you for your questions. Researchers around the world, and here in Canada, are currently studying whether people will need a third, or possibly a yearly shot, to protect them against COVID-19. We do not know yet how long someone is protected after two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. However, it is likely that additional shots will be needed. Alberta will be reviewing the evidence on this topic as it develops. 

    None of the COVID vaccines enter the part of the cell where our own DNA is located. The vaccine is not able to interact or modify DNA in any way. 

    Dr. Kristin Klein, Medical Officer of Health, Provincial Population and Public Health, and Co-Lead of AHS’ COVID Vaccine Task Force

  • do vaccines for covid 19 have fetal matters in them?

    Mickey asked 30 days ago

    No, the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain fetal matter. 

    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. 

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

  • What do I say to people who say that the vaccine increases the spread of COVID?

    Maya asked 29 days ago

    Thank you for your question. As the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the COVID-19 virus, the vaccines do not spread COVID itself. In fact, the vaccines effectively slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the number of Albertans who can be infected, and therefore, are able to spread the virus to those they come into contact with.

    This image illustrates how vaccination effectively limits the spread of the virus:

    Dr. Kristin Klein, Medical Officer of Health, Provincial Population and Public Health, and Co-Lead of AHS’ COVID Vaccine Task Force

  • Where can I find the past research done with similar proteins head 'vaccination' done on animals looking at results over multiple generations. I heard from two well established-credible scientists that there has been 'no' successful research on animals using a similar corona virus vaccination as ones currently being used for COVID0-19.

    PepperB asked about 1 month ago

    The creation of every vaccine features several important steps - including cellular work, animal studies and human clinical trials, all of which are necessary in order to develop safe and effective vaccines.

    Although vaccines for coronaviruses has been explored in the past, there hadn’t been significant resources put towards developing these vaccines prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

    Health Canada, which is the governing body responsible for the review and approval of vaccines in Canada, conducts thorough and independent reviews of all vaccine data prior to vaccines being approved for use in Canada. For COVID-19 vaccines, Health Canada is using a fast-tracked process that allows manufacturers to submit data as it becomes available, and for Health Canada experts to start the review process right away. So while the review process is expedited, no steps are skipped.

    Learn more about the development and approval of vaccines in Canada.

    You may also find interesting information through Americans for Medical Progress; this is a US based research group so not all of the information they provide is relevant to the Canadian context. However, the site includes is a list of links to research on the Role of Animals in Developing COVID-19 Treatments and Vaccines.

    Dr. Kristin Klein, Medical Officer of Health, Provincial Population and Public Health, and Co-Lead of AHS’ COVID Vaccine Task Force