Join the conversation about COVID-19

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Albertans have been dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 for more than a year. And while the rates of COVID in Alberta are low, 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. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for MyHealth Records, a secure place to access your personal health data. By signing up for MyHealth Records, you can access the dates and types of vaccines you received.

Albertans who have received a COVID-19 immunization outside of the province, or outside of the country, can upload their immunization records for review and verification through a secure AHS online portal, to then be added to MyHealth Records. This ensures your health record is fully updated and provides an accurate record of who has been immunized. Out-of-province and out-of-country immunization records can be submitted on behalf of yourself or your child / youth under 18 years.

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 more than a year. And while the rates of COVID in Alberta are low, 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. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for MyHealth Records, a secure place to access your personal health data. By signing up for MyHealth Records, you can access the dates and types of vaccines you received.

Albertans who have received a COVID-19 immunization outside of the province, or outside of the country, can upload their immunization records for review and verification through a secure AHS online portal, to then be added to MyHealth Records. This ensures your health record is fully updated and provides an accurate record of who has been immunized. Out-of-province and out-of-country immunization records can be submitted on behalf of yourself or your child / youth under 18 years.

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

You can use the search function below to type in key words and see responses to more than 180 questions.


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

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    Post vaccine is it true that you there has been evidence of a drop in your killer T-cells (CD8 cells), don't they keep all other viruses in check (herpes family, shingles, mono, human papilloma). If we are modifying the immune system to a weakened state, what long terms trials are occurring, and what effect would this have on cancer? Are there any studies taking place to see the effects on cancer patients, either newly diagnosed or patients having a relapse or new diagnosis after being cured? (sorry I entered my incorrect email prior to this post)

    Sherri asked 16 days ago

    Thank you for your question. Here is a link to a study that actually shows an increase in Killer T-Cell response following COVID-19 immunization: https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2021/august/penn-study-details-robust-tcell-response-to-mrna-covid19-vaccines#:~:text=In%20the%20group%20of%20participants,of%20CD8%20killer%20T%20cells.

    As well, a number of news articles have debunked this myth following false articles circulating on social media. You can read these articles here, and here.

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

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    What is the data on vaccines that have cause death in children under the age of 12 vs the number of children who have died from Covid?

    Sherri asked 16 days ago

    All adverse reactions to vaccinations in Canada are tracked and monitored, as per provincial law, by healthcare professionals (learn more here).

    More than 56 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Canada, up to and including October 1. There have been 4,675 serious adverse events following vaccination – representing 0.008% of all doses.

    A total of 195 deaths were reported after the administration of a vaccine. Following medical case review using the WHO-UMC causality assessment categories, it has been determined that:

    • 73 of these deaths are unlikely linked to a COVID-19 vaccine
    • 75 deaths could not be assessed due to insufficient information
    • 41 are still under investigation
    • 6 deaths followed a diagnosis of TTS  


    Information about all adverse events from immunization and vaccine safety is available on Health Canada’s website and is updated weekly.

    Health Canada does not provide age data for deaths reported after the administration of a vaccine.

    In Alberta, as of October 7, there has been one death under the age of 19 from COVID-19.

    It is also important to note, while every death is tragic, mortality is not the only challenge created by COVID-19. The treatment of COVID-19 patients is putting extreme pressure on our healthcare system. In order to ensure we have enough capacity in intensive care units to meet patient demand, we’ve had to redeploy staff and postpone about 75% of surgeries. Postponing surgeries has a serious and potentially life-altering impact on patients, their families and their loved ones.

    In addition, a COVID-19 infection can result in long lasting symptoms such as breathing difficulties or feeling short-of-breath, loss of smell and taste, brain fog, and fatigue. These long lasting symptoms have been termed “long COVID-19” and can have an impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. It can also affect family, friends, and caregivers of people who had COVID-19.

    We are collecting information in Alberta, from other provinces, and from around the world about Long COVID. Some research studies show that about 10% of people who had COVID-19 have symptoms for 12 weeks or longer, but that number might be as high as 25%.

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

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    I received the Indian version of the astra zeneca vaccine, and then the regular astra zeneca version. All went well and I have no issue with these. Now at some point i want to visit the US, is there any harm in taking two more Pfizer shots? This is what my pharmacist recommended since i have a "mixed" and not recognized by the US vaccine.

    doug asked 18 days ago

    Clinical evidence indicates that side effects reported after an additional dose were consistent with previous doses and mostly mild or moderate. No serious adverse events were reported after administration of an additional dose.

    As of October 6, third / additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are available for eligible groups, including:

    • Albertans age 75 and older
      • recommended at a minimum of six months after their second dose
    • First Nations, Inuit and Métis people age 65 and older'
      • recommended at a minimum of six months after their second dose
    • Immunocompromised individuals 12 years of age and older with specific conditions
      • recommended at a minimum of eight weeks after their second dose.
    • Residents of seniors’ supportive living facilities
      • recommended at a minimum of five months after their second dose.
    • Travellers to jurisdictions where Covishield/AstraZeneca or mixed doses are not recognized
      • available four weeks after their second dose.

     

    It is important that anyone considering travel review the most up to date requirements for the jurisdiction they are travelling to.

    See Additional Doses for more information.

    Information on how to book: ahs.ca/covidvaccine

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

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    Please help me. I feel like I am pressured into taking the Covid vaccine but I am very scared and looking for an answer. Research and experience shows that with all the previous mrna-vaccines it was the long term effects that made the trials unsuccessful and not able to be marketed. Auto immune disease, deaths, etc. What is different this time that makes the vaccine manufacturers, health regulatory agencies and the governments feel ok in recommending mass vaccination? In specific, my main question is: With previous trails of mrna vaccines always failing in phase 3 (trails for cancer, sars etc) what modifications did they make this time to feel comfortable to go ahead without being able to complete phase 3 trails (because that would be another 2-2.5 years)? How do the potential negative long term effects of the vaccine weigh against the effects of covid for young healthy people. Both the doctors I asked said that it’s a legitimate question to which they don’t have a clear answer. Ps. I believe this question only pertains to heathy young people. Because for elderly and immune compromised that’s a choice easily made considering the severity of this disease. Please help me so I can feel comfortable in getting the vaccine.

    Baukje Groothof asked 18 days ago

    Thank you for your question.

    mRNA vaccines are new, but not unknown. Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials. This means the process can be standardized and scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods of making vaccines.

    There is no reason to believe that the COVID-19 vaccines will have any long term effects. While the COVID-19 virus – and the vaccine to treat it - is new, the mRNA vaccines have been around and studied since the 1980s. And in similar vaccines and the research that has followed, there have been no long term side effects.

    Even young healthy people can have serious outcomes, including hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

    A COVID-19 infection can also result in long lasting symptoms such as breathing difficulties or feeling short-of-breath, loss of smell and taste, brain fog, and fatigue. These long lasting symptoms have been termed “long COVID-19” and can have an impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. It can also affect family, friends, and caregivers of people who had COVID-19.

    We are collecting information in Alberta, from other provinces, and from around the world about Long COVID. Some research studies show that about 10% of people who had COVID-19 have symptoms for 12 weeks or longer, but that number might be as high as 25%.

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

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    I can see statistics about hospitalizations broken down by age group and vaccine status. Cannot find that same breakdown for ICU and deaths, where would I find that? Secondly, is AHS collecting information about cases/hospitalizations/ICUs/deaths of people who have had Covid previously? If so, where is this information? If not, why are they not collecting it?

    guest 9898 asked 19 days ago

    Thank you for your question. Data on COVID-19 cases and immunization status is available is available on www.alberta.ca/covid and is updated regularly. Alberta Health is responsible for reporting COVID-19 statistics. To find information related to vaccination status and hospital/ICU admissions please see the data for “Vaccine Outcomes” available here: https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm#vaccine-outcomes.

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

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    If the vaccine is supposedly “safe and effective” how come people who are partially or fully vaccinated afraid of individuals who aren’t vaccinated? The whole point of a vaccine is to protect that said individual and their community, but if these COVID-19 vaccines are creating variants, and are only a certain percentage of “safe and effective”, how on earth am I or others really going to have trust in a vaccine that’s still in clinical trails? Segregation and manipulation of data is not the way to go.

    User8927 asked 20 days ago

    There are three important reasons to get vaccinated – to protect yourself, to protect those you come into contact with, and to help protect all Albertans. 

    First, getting immunized for COVID-19 will help protect you from serious illness related to COVID-19. While you can still contract COVID-19 after being immunized your chances of becoming seriously ill are much lower. Review the full data about vaccine effectiveness

    Second, you are less likely to spread the virus if you are vaccinated than you are if you are unvaccinated. Evidence suggests that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the infection than non-vaccinated people. There is more information on this topic available from the US CDC here. Variants are much more likely to be created when the virus is able to spread quickly, which is prevented by vaccination.

    Thirdly, by getting vaccinated and protecting yourself and those around you from serious illness from COVID-19 you are helping to reduce the pressure this pandemic is putting on our healthcare system, so that care is available for all Albertans when they need it. 

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

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    There have been multiple reports of myocarditis complications being higher in youth (more specifically boys) age 12-15. Can you pls tell me why I should put my healthy son in a position where he would have a lifetime of heart problems when the kids are not a big factor in the COVID equation for spreading or dying from the disease?

    Leave the kids out of it. asked 21 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. Both Pfizer and Moderna have been carrying out clinical trials of their COVID-19 vaccines in children as young as six months old. We anticipate more information about recommendations of these vaccines in younger children in the coming weeks.

    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

    Although COVID-19 in children is usually milder than in adults, some kids can get very sick and have complications or long-lasting symptoms that affect their health and well-being. The virus can cause death in children although this is more rare than for adults.

    Like adults, children also can transmit the coronavirus to others if they’re infected, even when no symptoms are present. The COVID-19 vaccine protects against this potential harm to the child and others, including family members and friends who may be susceptible.

    Another reason to consider a COVID-19 vaccine for your child is to protect the health of the broader community. Each child or adult infected with the coronavirus provides a chance for the virus to mutate and create a variant that might prove more dangerous or resistant to the available vaccines and therapies. Fewer overall infections among the population means less chance of dangerous coronavirus variants.

    The Canadian Pediatric Society has recommended that the Pfizer vaccine be offered to all children and adolescents 12 years of age and older. 

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

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    You have stated several times that the vaccine is safe for breastfeeding and pregnant women. The statement seems misleading. The first covid 19 injection was delivered in December 2020, less than a year ago. How can there be so much certainty when there has not been sufficient time to collect relevant data?

    Dsorensen asked 22 days ago

    Thank you for your question. While the COVID-19 vaccines are new, researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades.

    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.

    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.

    It is becoming more clear that there is an increased risk of severe disease if COVID-19 infection occurs in pregnancy.  This impacts both the mother and their baby. Individuals who contract COVID-19 while pregnant have a higher risk of having a very preterm baby, which can lead to complications for the baby both shorter and longer term. Therefore, it is more important than ever that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant be vaccinated against COVID-19.

    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 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.

    AHS has compiled a number of resources, videos and patient stories to provide you with information about the importance of getting immunized when pregnant, trying to become pregnant or breastfeeding: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17683.aspx.

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

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    In regards to natural immunity you stated "there’s not enough data about that level of protection to know when it tapers off or how protective it is against new variants". Surely there are studies looking in to this? Is there sufficient data on the vaccine and when it's protection tapers or whether it protects against new variants? Would be interested to see how it compares.

    Dsorensen asked 22 days ago

    We continue to review the data and evidence in Alberta, from across Canada, and around the world to understand the COVID-19 virus and the vaccines approved for use in Canada are protecting Albertans – including how long the vaccines are effective. At this time, all evidence tells us that getting immunized is more effective at preventing future infection from COVID-19 than any natural immunity that may be acquired through previous infection. 

    Learn more by watching this interview: A Discussion on Vaccination.

    AHS is carefully monitoring the rates of COVID infection in Alberta, as well as the prevalence of the variants. Our best defense to protect ourselves, and those we come in contact with, is to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

    The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is an external advisory body that provides the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) independent, ongoing and timely medical, scientific, and public health advice in response to questions relating to immunization. NACI has been reviewing research and data from around the world regarding the efficacy and effectiveness of the four vaccines currently approved for use in Canada – in clinical trials, all COVID-19 vaccines are efficacious in the short-term against symptomatic, confirmed COVID-19 disease; trials are ongoing. 

    Emerging data suggest the mRNA vaccines are 33.2% effective against symptomatic illness due to B.1.617.2 (Delta) after one dose, and 87.9% effective after two doses. Data also suggests the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 94% effective against hospitalization due to B.1.617.2 (Delta) after one dose, and 96% effective after two doses.

    You can find the most up to date data here

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

    Dr. Mark Joffe, Vice President and Medical Director, Cancer Care 

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    So if vaccinated people can still have COVID and pass on COVID, why are only unvaccinated people required to produce a negative PCR or rapid test. If you really are concerned about spreading COVID why would you only test unvaccinated?

    TDG asked 22 days ago

    Because no vaccines are 100% effective, infectious do occur in fully immunized individuals. However, it is much less likely for a vaccinated person to become infected than an unvaccinated person. Emerging evidence also shows that vaccinated individuals are less able to pass on the infection to others.

    Real world evidence in Alberta continues to show that vaccination is an effective way of slowing the spread of the virus and reducing the risk of serious outcomes. 91% of those currently in Alberta hospitals with COVID are unvaccinated. 

    To get the most up to date information about transmission in vaccinated people, refer to this CDC Scientific Brief on the subject: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/fully-vaccinated-people.html 

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