COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

As of October 17, 2022, anyone 12 years of age or older that has completed their primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations, can receive a bivalent booster dose at a recommended interval of six months, or minimum interval of three months, after their last dose at a Regional Vaccination clinic, participating pharmacy, or doctor’s office across Waterloo Region.

The Ministry of Health recommends that priority groups receive their bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine three months after their previous COVID-19 vaccination. For more information, please check When You Should Get a Booster Dose.

You can walk-in at select clinics or book an appointment at a Regional vaccination clinic through the Provincial COVID-19 Vaccination Portal, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired: 1-866-797-0007). Walk-ins at the Regional vaccination clinics are accepted as capacity allows. 

Please call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre if you are experiencing difficulties when booking an appointment online.

Starting November 1, individuals five years and older will only be offered a flu shot at a Regional vaccination clinic when receiving a COVID-19 vaccination during that same visit. Regional vaccination clinics are not offering flu shots to those who previously received a COVID-19 vaccination at a regional clinic during a separate visit. Individuals must be receiving a COVID-19 vaccine the same day to receive the flu shot.

Updated: November 18, 2022

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COVID-19 Vaccination Eligibility

Can my child get the vaccine?

Individuals who are six months of age or older are eligible for their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. In Waterloo Region, you can visit a Regional vaccination clinic, pop-up clinic, mobile bus, participating pharmacy or family doctors. Find information about how to get a vaccine.

If the individual is capable to provide informed consent, parental consent is not needed. If an individual is unable to provide informed consent to receive the vaccine (for example, for medical reasons), they will need consent from someone who can make a decision on their behalf, such as a parent or legal guardian. For information about consent and children's vaccines, check our COVID-19 Vaccines for Children page.

Am I eligible for a booster dose? 

Find more information about who is eligible for a booster does on our Get a Vaccine page.

Who is eligible for the Bivalent COVID-19 vaccine?

Find more information about who is eligible for the Bivalent COVID-19 vaccine on our Get a Vaccine page

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COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

Are the vaccines effective against the new reported variants of COVID-19?

With the vaccines approved by Health Canada to date so far, we are still seeing vaccine effectiveness with current variants. Health Canada will continue to monitor this.  

Learn more about variants

Can I get COVID-19 after I have received the vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death and limiting the spread of the virus in a community, but vaccines do not remove all risk of acquiring a COVID-19 infection. Your risk of getting COVID-19 and becoming seriously ill or dying is significantly higher if you are not vaccinated, than if you are fully vaccinated. Visit Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination data page for more information.

How long after I have contracted COVID-19 can I receive the vaccine?
  • COVID-19 Immunization is recommended even for individuals who have had COVID-19 Infection
  • Vaccinated individuals aged 12 and up who are eligible for a third or fourth dose, the recommendations suggest waiting three months after the onset of symptoms, or following a positive test for anyone who was asymptomatic 
  • A longer interval between infection and vaccination may result in a better immune response and longer-lasting protection against Omicron and future variants.
  • With informed consent, individuals may receive a booster dose once they are asymptomatic and have completed their isolation
  • Risk factors for exposure and severe outcomes should be assessed when considering longer intervals.
  • It is important that individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection wait until they are no longer considered infectious and no longer have any symptoms of acute COVID-19 illness before receiving a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This will help minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 at immunization venues and allow monitoring of potential side effects from vaccination, respectively
Can I get the vaccine with my health condition?

Individuals are advised to discuss any concerns with their health care provider when they are invited to be vaccinated. Doctors, nurses and vaccinators will be fully informed of vaccine characteristics, effectiveness and risks.

Please also refer to the precautions listed on our COVID-19 Vaccine page.

Can I get a different vaccine for my next dose?

The best vaccine for your next dose is the vaccine that is available first. All vaccines provided in Ontario provide strong protection against COVID-19 and its variants.

Mixing vaccines is safe, effective, and enables more Ontarians to receive their next dose sooner. 

Can I get both the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

Yes. The Ministry of Ontario has advised that flu shots may safely be given at the same time, or at any time before or after COVID-19 vaccine, for individuals aged five years and older. It is important to get your annual flu shot. Find out more at ontario.ca/flu.

Individuals aged five years and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as, or at any time before or after any other vaccines, including the flu shot. For more details, check When to Get the Flu Shot on the Ministry of Health website.

Individuals six months to under five years of age are recommended to wait at least 14 days between COVID-19 vaccines and non-COVID-19 vaccines, including the flu shot. For more details, check When to Get the Flu Shot on the Ministry of Health website.

How do the COVID-19 vaccines protect against COVID-19?

Vaccines reduce risks of getting a disease by working with your body’s natural defences to build protection.

mRNA vaccines:

How do I report an adverse reaction to the vaccine?

Vaccine side effects are being monitored as people receive the vaccine. If you get a reaction to the vaccine, contact your health care provider who will report the side effect directly to Public Health. Public Health will keep track of the reported side effects to make sure the vaccines continue to be safe.

I am planning to get pregnant. Will the vaccine affect my chance of getting pregnant in the future? 

There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines causes problems with pregnancy or fertility. If you have concerns about COVID-19 immunization during pregnancy, you should speak to your physician about the risk and benefit of vaccination.

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COVID-19 Vaccination Receipts/Certificates

I have a green photo health card. How can I get my vaccine receipt/certificate?

Log into Ontario’s portal to download or print your vaccine certificate. If you cannot find your information on the portal or have other questions, call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. If you need to update your records, call the Service First Call Centre at 519-514-1499 or complete the receipt request form.

If you received any vaccine doses outside of Ontario, report it to Public Health and we will register these doses in the Province’s electronic immunization record.

I have a red and white health card. How can I get my vaccine receipt/certificate?

Individuals who have a red and white health card can call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to arrange to receive their vaccine certificate by email. 

What to do if we received a vaccine outside of Ontario?

If you received all of your vaccine doses outside of Ontario, the Region of Waterloo is unable to provide an Ontario vaccine certificate at this time. A vaccination receipt from another jurisdiction that shows the holder is fully vaccinated can be used as proof of vaccination until further updates are available.

If you received any vaccine doses outside of Ontario, report it to Public Health and we will register these doses in the Province’s electronic immunization record.

I do not have a health card. How can I get my vaccine receipt/certificate?

Call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. If you need to update your records, call the Service First Call Centre at 519-514-1499 or complete the receipt request form. Please state that you do not have a health card and provide your full name, an email address and a phone number. 

I would like a printed copy of my receipt/certificate but I do not have access to a printer. How can I print my receipt/certificate?

Individuals can visit their local library, visit a ServiceOntario location, or ask a trusted friend or organization to help print a copy.

You can also call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have your enhanced vaccine certificate mailed to you.

You may also review the The Province of Ontario's Frequently Asked Questions.

For questions about proof of vaccination in Ontario, you may also call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.

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COVID-19 Resources

Where can I get more information on clinics for First Nations, Métis and Inuit residents?

Visit our Resources for First Nations, Métis and Inuit page for information about the vaccine. 

Is COVID-19 vaccine information available in multiple languages? 
This website has a built in translation feature that can translate any page on the website into one of over 90 languages. To use the translation feature:
  • Go to the top of the page you want to translate.
  • Click the plus sign beside the word “Translate” and select one of the many languages available.
  • This translates the website to the language you select. (Note: This feature does not extend to PDF downloads or other websites we link to for more information.)
  • Video: "How to use the Google Translate feature"
Talk to a real person 24/7 in over 200 languages at 519-575-4400.

Find translated resources on our COVID-19 Vaccine page.

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What happens next

Is vaccination mandatory? 

No. COVID-19 vaccines will not be mandatory, but you are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

Effective March 1, 2022 Ontario no longer requires businesses and organizations to check for proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, individual businesses and organizations may choose to require proof of vaccination upon entry.

Are vaccines mandatory for businesses or events?

The Ontario Ministry of Health sets strategic directions and priorities for Ontario’s health systems, including public health. To achieve those directions and priorities, the Ontario Ministry of Health develops and enforces legislation and regulations such as the Health Protection and Promotion Act and Ontario Regulations.

Local public health units follow the guidance as outlined by the Ministry of Health. We are unable to provide specific advice to businesses or organizations regarding policy decisions for restricting access to their organization or event(s) based on vaccination status. If you are seeking legal advice about policy decisions in regards to individuals who are not vaccinated, we would recommend that you consult with a lawyer.

Effective 12:01 a.m. on September 22, 2021, Ontario requires patrons to provide proof of identification and proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to access certain businesses and settings. The Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act provides information for businesses and organizations implementing this requirement. A list of frequently asked questions about using your vaccination receipt, including a list of which settings will require proof of vaccination, can be found on the Ontario Newsroom website.

In addition, businesses can participate in the Waterloo COVID-19 Safe Ambassador Program to receive COVID-19 education and one-on-one guidance to help minimize risks. Businesses can also call the Region of Waterloo at 519-575-4400 or email with inquiries 7 days a week. Up-to-date resources can be found on the Region of Waterloo Workplace page.

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