Siksika Health Services has been allocated Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for distribution. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines contain a small piece of genetic material from the COVID-19 virus. This genetic material cannot alter your cells DNA or give you the active COVID virus. Our immune system uses that genetic material to create antibodies that can attack the COVID-19 virus protecting us if it enters our body.

You should contact your family doctor in advance to discuss whether you should receive the COVID-19 vaccine if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding;
  • You have a bleeding disorder; or
  • You have an autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or you are on prednisone or biologic injections.

Community Immunity:

Community immunity happens when a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease through vaccination or prior illness to make its spread from person to person unlikely. This community immunity acts as a barrier against the disease, with the immune people breaking the potential chain of transmission so those vulnerable populations are unlikely to get it.

Experts estimate that herd immunity would require around 80-90% of the population to have COVID-19 immunity, either through prior infection or vaccination. That’s why experts are encouraging the public to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Until a vaccine is widely available, the best course of action is to continue following public health measures ? physical distancing, masking in public and good hand-washing hygiene ? as those also break the virus transmission chain. As the vaccines are distributed in Siksika, Siksika Health Services encourages vaccination as the next step on the path to community immunity.

Alberta Health Care Card

All individuals who are being immunized will need an Alberta Health Care Card. If you have lost your personal health care card, or it has been damaged, call the AHCIP office at 780-427-1432, or toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta) to order a replacement card. Office hours are 8:15am-4:30pm (Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays). You can also order replacement cards at most registry offices in Alberta. If you do not have a card, we can still immunize you, however, you will be asked several other identifying questions. Please bring other forms of identification.

Transportation:

Due to the need to maintain COVID-19 precautions, the number of people allowed into the immunization clinic at any time will be limited. Anyone entering the building should also be masked at all times. Please make sure you have proper transportation, and please be prepared to wait in your vehicle until it is your appointment time. If assistance is required, one additional adult from the same family or caregiver cohort will be permitted to escort and assist the person being immunized.

About the COVID-19 Vaccine:

Building up immunity takes time. It is not known yet how long it will take to achieve community immunity, so until that time it is important to continue following public health guidance, such as wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing.

Expected Side Effects:

All immunizations can cause some side effects, because they stimulate the immune system. Most side effects like aches and pains, fever, headache, ?feeling very tired or weakness go away after a few days.

  • Mild side effects are expected. A second dose is still required to get the best protection.
  • Everyones experience with getting the COVID-19 vaccine may be different; just because one person experiences certain side effects does not necessarily mean that another person will as well.

Important Information about the COVID-19 Vaccine:

  • Only vaccines that are safe and effective are approved for use in Canada.
  • A vaccine will be available for everyone.
  • Because there will be limited quantities at first, once a vaccine is approved for use, key populations will need to be prioritized.
  • Building up immunity takes time. One dose of the vaccine may not be enough to provide protection; a second dose may be required.
  • It is not known yet how long it will take to achieve community immunity, so until that time it is important to continue following public health guidance.
  • COVID-19 vaccines will be free.
  • Getting vaccinated is a personal choice.
  • Vaccination is a choice you should make to protect yourself, your family and community.
  • Siksika Health Services is committed to providing ongoing comprehensive healthcare during this time, including making the COVID-19 vaccine available in the community as soon as safely possible.

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. Only vaccines that are safe and effective are approved for use in Canada.

Vaccine Development and Approval in Canada Infographic

What You Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine for Canada