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COVID-19 Protection & Vaccines

Local COVID-19 Vaccine Status Report – July 20, 2021

The vaccine status report will be updated every Tuesday.

Statistics

  • 87% of individuals 12 plus in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark have first dose – 67% have 2 doses
  • We have been at or near the top in the province for several weeks for first doses and second doses.
  • We show the percentages of first and second doses for each age group on the dashboard. The 50s and under are increasing for first doses and all are increasing in both first and second doses.
  • Check out our vaccination dashboard – updated every Tuesday

Vaccine Shipments

  • Our Pfizer vaccine allocations will increase in July; we continue to have a supply of Moderna. This will help us provide more opportunities for residents to get first and second vaccinations of both Pfizer and Moderna.

How to Get Vaccinated

  • All 12+ are eligible for first doses – it is important to get vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you – especially children 0 to 11 years old who can’t get vaccinated at this time.
  • All 12+ are eligible to book earlier 2nd dose:
    • 8 weeks after first dose of AstraZeneca
    • 21 days after first dose of Pfizer
    • 28 days after first dose of Moderna
  • Walk in vaccinations are also available now at all clinics – we post on our website and on our social media pages
  • More appointments continue to be available in all areas; book an appointment through the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark online booking portal or call Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Call Centre 1-844-369-1234
  • Pharmacies have both Moderna and Pfizer – some have AstraZeneca for those who received it as a first dose. Check a participating pharmacy
  • We are also working on a targeted strategy to provide vaccinations at some LGL workplaces  as well as to other groups like sports teams – if you are interested in running a clinic at your workplace, get in touch with us at [email protected].

Cancellations and Contingency Lists

  • Submit cancellation requests online – if you have an appointment in September or later, consider cancelling and getting an earlier appointment
  • The contingency list is discontinued as those who need an appointment can get one online or as a walk-in to our clinics.

Remember it is important to continue to follow precautions if you have one or even two vaccine doses. We need to keep protecting each other until we are all fully vaccinated.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/protection/

Who is Eligible for a Vaccine

  • Anyone 12+ is eligible for first dose
  • Second dose eligibility:
    • Anyone 12+ who received Pfizer 21 days ago
    • Anyone 18+ who received Moderna 28 days ago
    • Anyone 18+ who received AstraZeneca 8 weeks ago
  • For youth ages 12–17 – Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for 12–17 year old’s. More information can be found here.

How to Get a Vaccine

Booked Appointments

Walk-in Appointments

Pharmacy

  • Check for a participating pharmacy near you. Pharmacies may have either Pfizer or Moderna and offer first doses to 12+ and second doses to those who are eligible for them.
  • Pharmacies are working with the Province to continue to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the community. These vaccinations are separate from our Health Unit’s vaccination roll-out. Please call the pharmacy directly to book.

If You Attend a Community Youth Clinic for your First Dose

  • If you received your first dose at one of the community clinics that were set up for youth (Lanark Village – June 11,  Gananoque – June 14,  Elgin – June 15,  Athens – June 17,  Perth – June 23, Prescott – June 24, Carleton Place – June 26), you will be automatically booked into a second dose clinic at the same location and the Health Unit will notify you by phone or email of the date and time of your earlier appointment.

If You Received AstraZeneca

  • Ontario has paused giving first doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine. The province is proceeding with second dose administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine for those who want it. The risk for blood clots with second doses is significantly lower – 1/600,000. If you received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, you can choose to get a second dose of AstraZeneca through a participating pharmacy or health care provider, or complete your vaccine series with an mRNA vaccine like Moderna or Pfizer. Second doses are given 8–12 weeks after the first dose regardless of which second dose you choose. Maximum protection is at 12 weeks, but individuals can opt to receive it as early as 8 weeks, with informed consent, in order to be more fully protected sooner. Second doses of mRNA can be booked at either a participating pharmacy, health care provider (if available) or Public Health Clinic (starting June 7, 2021). See this document for further information: Ontario Update on AstraZeneca Guidance

Health Unit clinics use mRNA vaccines – either Pfizer or Moderna for adults 18+ depending on availability of the vaccine. These mRNA vaccines are interchangeable and include the same active ingredient. If the same brand as your first dose is not available at the clinic you attend, then you will be offered the alternate mRNA vaccine. We will help you rebook if you still wish to wait and receive the same brand as your first dose for the second dose.

Ask friends or if they have had their vaccine or booked an appointment. Please consider helping these individuals to book their appointments, as some may not have online access or be comfortable booking online appointments.

For those who are not mobile, the Health Unit, in partnership with the Lanark County Paramedic Service and the Leeds and Grenville Emergency Medical Services are happy to launch the new referral process for in home COVID-19 vaccine administration for those who are eligible. If you are eligible to receive your COVID-19 Vaccine, you can call our local call centre at 1-844-369-1234 or contact your case manager or health care provider for a referral to the community paramedicine program.

Community partners are offering safe, non-shared, transportation to and from vaccine appointments. Fees are based on distance traveled with subsidies available if needed.

Leeds and Grenville

For Leeds/Grenville: call United Way of Leeds & Grenville at 613-342-8889 or email [email protected]

Lanark County and Smiths Falls

For Lanark County and Smiths Falls – see the options below:

Lanark County Transportation Services to COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

*Please note:

  • only members of the same household will be transported together in a vehicle
  • hours of operation may be adjusted depending on vaccine clinic hours

Lanark Transportation Association
Contact: 1-877-445-5777 or 613-264-8256
Criteria: No restrictions, Wheelchair accessible vehicles
Areas Served: Lanark County, Town of Smiths Falls, Neighbouring municipalities when accessible transportation is required.
Hours of Operation: 6:00am–6:00pm, 7 days a week
Price: $10.00–$15.00, Subsidy may be available upon request.

Carebridge
Contact: Lisa Ryan, 613-256-1031 extension 262
Criteria: Seniors and Disabled persons able to get in and out of a vehicle, Wheelchair transport available.
Areas Served: Almonte, Carleton Place
Hours of Operation: 8:00am–4:00pm, Monday to Friday
Price: $8.00–$20.00, Wheelchair transport $30.00–$45.00, Subsidy may be available upon request.

Community Home Support Lanark County
Contact: 613-267-6400
Criteria: Seniors and disabled adults requiring minimal assistance (cane, walker, etc.,) and able to get in and out of a vehicle, No wheelchairs, Services may change as vaccine rollout moves forward.
Areas Served: Perth, Smiths Falls, Lanark, Carleton Place
Hours of Operation: 8:30am–4:00pm, 7 days a week
Price: $10.00–$54.00, Subsidy may be available upon request.

Other Vaccine Issues

Please read the information sheet and consent form prior to your appointment. If you are able to, print off and bring your completed COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Consent Form to your COVID-19 vaccine appointment. It’s also helpful to bring your email booking confirmation to your appointment (printed version or on your phone).

  • Due to privacy and security requirements, the Health Unit is unable to accept the personal health information required for proof of out-of-province vaccination electronically (by email or other digital method)
  • If you received your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine outside of Ontario, and need to book your second dose, go ahead and book your second dose once eligible using the booking instructions listed above. Be sure to bring a copy of your first dose vaccine receipt to your second dose appointment so clinic staff can verify and enter your first dose information into the provincial system.
  • If you received both your doses outside of Ontario, you can send the following information to the Health Unit by mail, or drop it off in the mail slot at any Health Unit office location (locations listed at bottom of linked webpage):
    • A copy of your vaccine receipt/ proof of vaccination (must be legible)
      AND
    • Your full name as per your Health Card, Health Card number, Date of birth, Full address, Phone number, Email address (if you have one) and Gender.
    • All the above information is needed in order to enter this into the provincial system.
      Mail to: The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
      Attention: Vaccine Team
      458 Laurier Boulevard
      Brockville, Ontario K6V 7A3

Looking for your “Proof of Vaccine”? If you provided an email address when you received your vaccine, your vaccination receipt (proof of vaccine) is emailed to you. Check your spam or junk folder if you do not see it. You can also access a digital copy by logging in with your Ontario Health Card at this website.

It can be unsettling to hear about the changing landscape for rules around travel and vaccination status. But we are still early in the process and it will take some time for the regulatory bodies and governments to agree on a common requirement to facilitate international travel again. While some vaccine manufacturers are doing research on possible booster (3rd) doses of vaccine that may be needed, there is no evidence to suggest one is needed right now. Two doses of any of the vaccines provided in Ontario provide excellent protection against COVID – including the variants of concern. For now – our goal must be to get as much of the population protected with both doses as possible. If you are worried about not being able to travel – hold tight, we are just emerging from this crisis and time will likely iron out these details. There are currently no vaccination requirements to travel to the US.

Have you attended a Health Unit COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic? Visit our Feedback and Complaints page to share your feedback with us!

FULLY VACCINATED – means you are at least 14 days past your second dose.

It is still important for everyone to continue with public health measures like wearing a mask, physical distancing, and washing hands often. These public health measures will be important until we have more people fully vaccinated, and we can be sure that the spread of COVID-19 variants in particular is under control.

The research that was done with the new COVID-19 vaccines looked at whether or not symptoms were prevented by taking the vaccine, and they did a really good job. Ninety-five percent of people didn’t get sick with COVID-19. They didn’t measure whether the virus was actually prevented from multiplying in the back of your nose and throat.

What we know with 14 days after the second dose of the vaccine:

  • You may still be exposed to the Covid-19 virus depending on the level of spread in the community and close contact with others.
  • You will have very good protection against COVID-19 symptoms, serious illness, hospitalization and death if you become infected with the COVID-19 virus.
  • People who are immune compromised may not have the same level of protection as others.
  • You may still transmit the virus to others before your immune system removes the virus but the risk is lower.
  • You are not required to quarantine after returning to Canada, if the vaccine you received is one approved in Canada.
  • You are not required to self-isolate for 14 days after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 if you have no symptoms. You can return to work, school, activities.

We are also starting to see some changes in restrictions in settings like long-term care for fully vaccinated individuals.

What we recommend:

Always check for symptoms, and, if present, isolate and get tested. Regardless of vaccination status.

  • If you are in a public place – Follow provincial requirements in the Roadmap to Reopen Ontario – mask and distancing still required – not everyone has received two doses of the vaccine and are still at risk. Protection from the Delta variant really requires two doses for proper protection and is now the predominant strain that is in Ontario.
  • Social gatherings (follow gathering limits)
    • Decide if masking and physical distancing is needed based on who is going to be at the gathering and the setting (see guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada).
      Things to Consider:
      • Your personal risk and the risk of people you will be spending time with (do they have health conditions or take medications that could affect their immune system or make them more at risk of serious effects from COVID-19? have they been vaccinated? is everyone symptom free?)
      • The setting where you will be gathering (e.g. indoor or outdoor, good ventilation, lots of space between people) Outdoor activities are less risky than indoor
      • Activities you are engaging in. Is there more risk of close contact, or droplet spread in these activities?
      • Individuals who are older and have pre-existing medical conditions are at a greater risk of severe illness and may not get as much protection from vaccination as a younger person with no pre-existing medical conditions
      • Be mindful of community spread of COVID-19 and the presence of the Delta variant in the community Local COVID-19 surveillance data and if people are traveling from an area where there are a lot of cases/outbreaks.
  • It’s important to re-assess your risk level and comfort level as your situation changes
  • Things are not the same for everyone, everywhere so make the decision that is right for you, and treat others with kindness

The Health Unit’s COVID-19 Distribution and Administration Roll Out Plan identifies the approximate times when people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark can receive the vaccine. This plan aligns with the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Watch this video of Local Medical Officers of Health and Physicians Answering Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet

There are 4 great reasons to get vaccinated:

  1. To avoid getting seriously ill with a potentially deadly disease. (reasoning-can still get sick but vaccine prevents serious illness)
  2. To protect all the vulnerable people in your life.
  3. To help end this pandemic. The vaccine adds an incredibly important layer of protection against COVID-19 and will be the main reason we return to some sense of normalcy.
  4. If you are fully vaccinated (14 days past your second dose) and not experiencing any symptoms, you do not have to isolate if you are a high risk contact of a positive case.

We are still learning about the long term effects of this novel (new) virus. For some people, symptoms can last for months. The virus can even damage the heart, brain, lungs and increase the risk of long-term health problems. Even young, healthy people can feel unwell for weeks to months following the COVID-19 infection.

The mild short-term side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are far less than the risk and potential long-term health damages caused by the COVID-19 virus.

Do I need a second dose?

Yes, the first dose builds protection from the virus but may provide less protection against some strains and may not last long. People have been re-infected with COVID-19 3-6 months after first infection, and the first vaccine may be similar to this. The second dose builds your immunity higher for a longer time. A second dose is very important to protect against the new Delta Variant in particular as one dose will not provide adequate protection.

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are messenger-RNA vaccines, also called mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. While this technology is new to vaccines it has been used for many years in Cancer treatment. The mRNA teaches our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that can then trigger an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response produces antibodies that protect us from getting infected if the real virus ever enters our bodies.

This mRNA has no ability to enter our cell’s nucleus (where our DNA is stored) – so there is no danger of it altering our DNA. There is also NO danger of us getting COVID-19 from the vaccine since it is only the code to build a tiny piece of the virus – not the whole thing.

No. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines do not affect, interact or alter DNA in any way. Our DNA resides in the nucleus of our cells and the mRNA does not travel into the nucleus. Therefore, there is no risk of altering DNA. It uses the body’s natural defense response which breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA after it is finished using the harmless genetic instructions. 

The nucleus is an area deep inside each of our cells, and that’s where our DNA is kept. mRNA does its work way out in the periphery of the cell, away from the nucleus. When we are injected with this vaccine; and the viral mRNA enters our cells, it doesn’t go anywhere near our nucleus—doesn’t go anywhere near our DNA, and it cannot get integrated into our own DNA or our own genome: it’s just not possible.

Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect you and those around you from serious illnesses like COVID-19.

Creating a new vaccine can take years. However, the development of vaccines for COVID-19 is progressing quickly for many reasons, including:

  • advances in science and technology
  • international collaboration among scientists, health professionals, researchers, industry and governments
  • increased dedicated funding
  • access to large samples of people who could participate in the studies.

Vaccines that are approved for use in Canada are only those that are proven safe, effective, and of high quality. The reason that the COVID-19 vaccines were approved quickly is not because safety standards were changed, it’s because Health Canada shortened the administrative and organizational process of vaccine authorization through much quicker meetings between different steps, as well as parallel steps all at the same time. So, for example, instead of waiting a month between different steps, they waited a day or days between the different steps. The safety requirements in clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines were just as strict as the regular process for any other vaccine.

Provincial Pause in First Doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine

From Dr. David Williams: “Effective today, May 11, 2021, Ontario will be pausing the rollout and administration of first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at this time…. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to an observed increase in the rare blood clotting condition, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Data from the UK points to a much-reduced risk of VITT in second doses of AstraZeneca, and we look forward to providing more guidance in advance of people’s needing to receive their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The decision to pause is also based on the increased and reliable supply of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and the downward trend in cases. We are also seeing early promising results of administering two doses of different vaccines and have asked the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to provide direction on the interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines. Based on the much higher risks of COVID-19 infection recently observed in Ontario including hospitalization, serious illness and death, we maintain that those who received their first dose with the AstraZeneca vaccine did absolutely the right thing to prevent illness, and to protect their families, loved ones and communities.”

As of June 3, 2021 – Ontario has now approved mixing vaccine doses based on new NACI guidance

What this means in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark?

  • About 13,000 residents received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from March to early May. This vaccine was available to people and provided protection when the supply of Pfizer and Moderna was reduced.
  • We are receiving a good supply of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccine now so there isn’t as much need for AstraZeneca.
  • Everyone who received AstraZeneca will be able to get a second dose of a vaccine. Check our website and social media for more information as it becomes available from the Province. See the section on Second Doses above on this webpage for information on how to book a second dose of either the AstraZeneca vaccine for those who choose it or an mRNA vaccine to complete the series. 

Most of the current vaccines are provided in 2 doses by a needle in the upper arm. After you get the first dose, your second dose should be given 16 weeks from the first dose (with exceptions for Long-Term Care Home, Retirement Home residents and those most vulnerable) as per new protocols from the Province based on this guidance from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) in order to maximize the strong protection from first doses in the population. NACI and the Province of Ontario have approved mixing brands of COVID-19 vaccine. Both mRNA vaccine brands (Moderna and Pfizer) contain the same active ingredient and trigger the immune response in the same way.

Updates to dose intervals can be found in the Second Doses section at the top of this page.

The immunizer should be wearing eye protection and a medical grade mask. The person receiving the immunization should be wearing a mask (can be non-medical/cloth).

Gloves are not usually recommended for this, but may be worn in some situations by the person giving the immunization, for instance if they have any broken skin, or if their workplace policy requires it (like paramedics, who have a policy that goes beyond this measure as generally they work in less predictable circumstances).

For more detailed information:

Yes, currently experts believe the vaccine will work effectively against the new strains (e.g., Variants of Concern, VOC’s)

  • The Alpha variant is one that has been more prevalent and there is a good protection after one dose, even better after two.
  • the Delta variant which is of particular concern, needs two doses for very good protection.

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain any live COVID-19 virus. They either use mRNA (instructions to build one specific piece of the virus) or bits of inactive, degraded virus that are not capable of causing a COVID-19 infection.

If you experience any symptoms after receiving the vaccine – they are caused by your immune system turning ‘on’ in order to make antibodies against the virus. This way it will already be prepared with tailored weapons to fight the infection in case the COVID-19 virus enters your body.

Yes, for now. To be cautious, we will need to continue testing until more evidence is available on length of immunity. The immune response can be less reliable in the elderly, so even though they may be vaccinated, we need to be very cautious around this vulnerable population.

No. However, most of the ingredients are not associated with severe allergic reactions. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain eggs, gelatin, preservatives or antibiotics.

People with allergies to the following vaccine ingredients should not take this vaccine.

  • Polyethylene glycol—or PEG. This is found in bowel preparations for colonoscopies, some laxatives, over-the-counter cough syrups, cosmetics, skin care products, and some food and drinks. An allergy to this is rare and most people are aware if they are allergic to it.
  • Polysorbate – due to potential cross-reactive hypersensitivity with the vaccine ingredient PEG.

If you are unsure of the ingredients you are allergic to or you have had a reaction to a vaccine in the past, talk to your health care provider.

People with allergic reactions to other vaccines and medicines can, in fact, get the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, only those individuals with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine itself, or its container, are not advised to receive the COVID-19 vaccine because of the potential for allergic reactions. That would probably amount to a very small number of people. If you have concerns consult your family physician prior to receiving the vaccine.

People with a history of anaphylaxis (severe allergic responses) to non-vaccine ingredients, like foods or latex, can receive the vaccine, but they would be monitored for a longer period on-site after receiving it.

Vaccines in general are safe and effective when delivered to pregnant people, and many are regularly given to pregnant and breastfeeding individuals.

However, until more data is available, the potential risks of vaccination to a pregnant individual and fetus remain unknown. What is known, however, is that an unvaccinated pregnant individual remains at risk of COVID-19 infection and is at heightened risk of severe illness if infected. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has advised “COVID-19 vaccine should not be offered to populations excluded from clinical trials until further evidence is available. However, if a risk assessment deems that the benefits of vaccine outweigh the potential risks for the individual (e.g., where the risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19 and risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 is high) or for the fetus/infant (in the case of pregnancy/breastfeeding) and if informed consent includes discussion about the insufficient evidence in this population, then a complete series of authorized COVID-19 vaccines may be offered to pregnant and breastfeeding individuals.”

Because of the recent evidence on increased risk – pregnant individuals are now eligible to receive the vaccine in Ontario as part of the “Adults with Health Conditions in the Highest Risk” category. Pregnant individuals are encouraged to speak with their health care provider for individualized advice on the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine.

Here is a linked PDF with many resources from credible organizations that can offer more information for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Here is descriptive report #1 from data gathered between December 2020 and May 2021 on COVID-19 Vaccination During Pregnancy in Ontario which is now available on the BORN Ontario Website.

Like all vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects. Most of the side effects that followed vaccine administration in clinical trials were mild or moderate. They included pain at the injection site, body chills, and feeling tired and feeling feverish. Many of these are indications that your body’s immune system is doing its job by creating antibodies to prepare for fighting the virus if it enters your body in the future. These are common side effects of vaccines and do not pose a risk to health.

As with all vaccines, there’s a chance that there will be a serious side effect such as an allergic reaction, but these are rare. Report any unusual symptoms after receiving the vaccine to your health care provider. Unusual symptoms may include:

  • A high fever (greater than 40°C).
  • An allergic reaction (rash, hives, itching, throat swelling, difficulty swallowing/breathing).
  • Severe vomiting, diarrhea and/or headache.
  • Reactions that are severe or require visit to a doctor or hospitalization.
  • Reactions that do not go away after a few days.

There is a very rare risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle and/or pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) following immunization with an mRNA vaccine. Research to date has found that most cases are mild and resolve on their own or can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication.

You should seek immediate medical attention if you develop symptoms, which may include chest pain, shortness of breath, or the feeling of a fast, pounding or fluttering heartbeat. Cases typically occur within a week after the receipt of an mRNA vaccine dose, more commonly after a second dose. Any potential cases should be investigated with medical assessment regardless of timing from vaccination to onset.

If a person develops an adverse reaction to a vaccine, what should they do?

People who receive the vaccine are monitored for at least 15 minutes on-site for adverse reactions. If you have a history of allergic reactions to vaccines or other things like food or latex, you will be monitored for a longer period of time.

If you have any unusual symptoms after the vaccine – please report them directly to your health care provider. Health care providers are going to report these to Public Health so they can be tracked by Health Canada and the vaccine manufacturers, and potentially used to adjust any guidance.

Managing Health Care Workers with Symptoms within 48 Hours of Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine

No. The type of test the labs use (PCR test) to detect COVID-19 is not looking for antibodies – but rather the whole COVID-19 virus, so there is zero chance that it will pick up antibodies and show a positive. In future, if we get to the point that we’re starting to do more antibody testing of people, then it may pick up the antibodies that your body has developed. But, for now, the two are totally different so you don’t need to worry about getting a positive COVID-19 test because you’ve been immunized.

You should defer your vaccine if you have a fever as your immune system is already activated and you may not get maximum benefit from the vaccine.

If you have any mild symptoms that could potentially be from COVID-19, please defer your appointment until you feel well as we don’t want to expose others at a vaccination clinic.

You should also not have received any other vaccines in the 14 days prior to getting your COVID-19 vaccine, and refrain from getting any additional vaccines for 28 days afterwards. This is to be able to isolate any adverse reactions and attribute them to the appropriate cause.

If you are taking immunosuppressant medication, speak to your healthcare provider first to see if there may be any recommendations specific to this prior to receiving your vaccine.

Yes. Thrombosis Canada encourages patients on anticoagulation to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Find more details on thrombosis and COVID-19 on the Thrombosis Canada website.

Were people of different races and ethnicities included in the clinical trials?

Yes, people of different races and ethnicities were included in the clinical trials. Approximately 42 percent of global participants and 30 percent of US participants had racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and about 41 percent of global and trial sites were located in six different countries including: USA, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, and Argentina. Based on this, the scientific community is fairly certain that it is quite effective across a variety of different ethnicities.

And were there people of different age groups, like older adults, included in the clinical trials?

Yes, about 41 percent of global and 45 percent of US participants were 56 to 85 years of age. The observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age was over 94 percent. This is a very high efficacy in a vulnerable population. Unfortunately, no one under 16 years of age was included and, therefore, at this current time, is not advised for children or teens under 16 to receive the vaccine. However, there are ongoing studies and trials looking at younger age groups.

Yes. Getting the vaccination will enhance any current level of immunity you may have from experiencing the illness. We don’t currently know how long natural immunity lasts, so making your immune response more reliable by getting vaccinated is a good thing. Currently guidelines say you can receive the vaccine as soon as you are done isolation and are no longer infectious, when symptoms have cleared.

You should wait 14 days before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine if you have had another type of vaccine.

After receiving your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you should not receive any other vaccines for 28 days. If for some reason you need another vaccine within 28 days, discuss this with your doctor or health care provider.

Herd immunity is a term used to describe when enough people have protection—either from previous infection or vaccination—that it is unlikely a virus or bacteria can spread and cause disease throughout the population. As a result, on average, the whole population within the community is protected even if some people don’t have any protection themselves. However, isolated or short chains of transmission could still occur. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease.

Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. Early estimates for COVID-19 suggested it may be near 60 to 70%, but recently, high transmissibility of the new variants of concern have experts thinking it could be as high as 90% . While we learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue practicing public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

(See also: FAQ: Once a person is vaccinated with the series of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, can they stop following public health measures like wearing a mask, physical distancing and self-isolating when they become sick?)

Anyone age 12+ who received a first dose of Pfizer or Moderna and is unable to get their second dose at the same location as the first, can book a second dose here. See booking information above for details on how to do this and what the interval should be.

AstraZeneca vaccine is not part of the Health Unit distribution plan at this time. Anyone who received their first dose of AstraZeneca that is asking about how to be booked in for a second dose will need to contact a local pharmacy or their local health care provider to see if they have it available for them.

No! This is misinformation. There is no metal in the vaccine. We already have iron in our blood and a substantial amount in our liver yet we don’t become magnetic from this. Also consider that many of the items people claim to stick to them are also not even magnetic (e.g., keys).

If something sticks to your skin it is likely sticking due to the flat smooth sticky surface so other smooth non-magnetic items will also stick (plastic, wood etc.). Put talc powder on your skin to break the stickiness and it will no longer stick as this is due to friction not magnetism.

Being healthy may help you to fight an infection but will not prevent you from getting COVID-19 or giving it to someone else. There have been very healthy people who have had very serious illness so being healthy is not a guarantee. Vitamins or supplements will not prevent you from getting COVID-19. Being vaccinated will enhance your immune system and protect you and your loved ones who may be more vulnerable.

General Information About COVID-19

COVID-19: COVID-19 is a unique strain of a large family of viruses (coronaviruses) that can cause respiratory diseases. There is a vaccine but it will take time for this to be available and distributed to everyone in the community. Check here regularly for updates on the vaccine.

The symptoms of COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to develop after exposure to the virus. Most people infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, such as low-grade fever and cough. Some people develop more severe symptoms, such as high-grade fever, breathing difficulties or shortness of breath. These symptoms are similar to those of influenza and other coronaviruses, and it is difficult to differentiate COVID-19 from other viruses based on symptoms alone. Call 911 or go directly to the nearest emergency department if you are experiencing severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, feeling confused or unsure of where you are or losing consciousness.

COVID-19, like other coronaviruses, causes infection in the nose, throat, and lungs, and can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets created when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks. The droplets vary in size with large droplets that fall to the ground rapidly (within seconds or minutes, and within 2 metres) near the infected person, and smaller droplets, sometimes called aerosols, which linger in the air under some environmental circumstances, such as in a confined space with recirculated air. COVID-19 is frequently transmitted when people are in close contact with others who are infected by the virus (either with or without symptoms).

COVID-19 may be spread through touching hands or surfaces that have been contaminated by droplets from an infected person, e.g. through coughing or sneezing, and then touching the eyes, nose or mouth.

COVID-19 has an incubation period of up to 14 days. While symptoms usually develop in the first 2–5 days, it can take up to up to 2 weeks from the time you were exposed to the virus before you get symptoms of the disease. You become infectious, and can spread the virus to others, from about two days before symptoms develop until 10 days after symptoms start for people with mild to moderate symptoms. That is why it is important for all of us to practice physical distancing at all times to reduce the spread. See the Health Canada website for more information on how COVID-19 spreads.

What about ‘herd immunity’?

Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community (the herd) becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. As a result, the whole community becomes protected — not just those who are immune.  This can occur through immunization or mass exposure to a disease. 

COVID-19 is a new virus so we don’t know a lot yet about how long immunity will last after someone has become infected with virus. We do know that people do not develop long lasting immunity from the usual corona virus that causes a cold – you can be infected more than once over a winter with corona virus. We have only had the virus for 6 months so we can’t tell what long lasting immunity would be, possibly not very long. Studies are being done on this now to determine antibody levels in people who have had COVID-19.

COVID-19 Variants of Concern

At least three variants (mutations or new strains) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been identified around the world. The one first identified in the UK has been identified in several areas of Ontario. A change in the Stroke (S) protein allows the virus to enter cells more easily which means symptoms developed earlier, within one or two days, and the virus is more easily spread from one person to another with close contact. Early analysis suggests it may also cause more severe disease. The new variant is similar enough to the existing one that existing vaccines are likely still effective with it.

The Public Health Laboratory is able to do additional testing to identify if a new variant of the COVID-19 virus is present. Public Health will notify the lab if an individual meets criteria for additional testing. If the new variant is detected, then Public Health will use provincial guidelines for follow up.

All the current COVID-19 precautions are key to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, both the current virus and any variant that may come into our region. Given how easily the new COVID-19 variant spreads, avoiding close contact with others outside your household, with social gatherings and in the workplace, is critical.

You can get the latest local information from the Local Cases & Statistics section at right. We do not provide details about the positive cases as we have an obligation to protect the identity of individuals. As our communities within Leeds, Grenville and Lanark are relatively small, providing further details may put an individual’s identity at risk. Please be assured that a Public Health staff member actively follows up with all people who tested positive and investigate all people in close contact with individuals who test positive. See the Contact Tracing section for more information.

More information on COVID-19

Visit the Public Health Canada website for more detailed information on COVID-19 in general.

Protecting Yourself and Your Family

Because this virus spreads so easily, especially the variants of concern – we all need to do our part to slow and reduce the spread so we can end this pandemic. This means:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Limit the amount of people you are socializing with or sports teams you play on
  • Practice physical distancing – stay 2 meters (6 feet) away from people in public areas
  • Use a cloth face covering/mask if you cannot stay 6 feet away from people when out in public – and in indoor public spaces when with people outside your household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer after being in touch with others or handling anything from outside your home
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hands
  • Do not share personal items that come into contact with saliva such as toothbrushes, eating utensils, drinks, water bottles, and towels
  • If you are experiencing any respiratory symptoms (including fever) – please self-isolate immediately and complete the online self-assessment.

COVID Alert App

Download COVID Alert, a made-in-Ontario, privacy-first app, that is available for free from the Apple and Google Play app stores. The more people who have the app, the more effective the province will be at stopping the spread of COVID-19. The app notifies Ontarians of the potential exposure to COVID-19 to help people protect themselves, their loved ones and community as we carefully reopen.

Some COVID Alert app facts:

  1. Downloading the app is VOLUNTARY
  2. It does NOT track your location with GPS. Instead it uses a Bluetooth signal to anonymously alert you if someone near you has tested positive without sharing any personal information.
  3. It can help by alerting you to someone who spent time in your vicinity who later tested positive for COVID-19.
  4. It does rely on others using it, that’s why it is only ONE additional way to protect yourself – and not the only thing we should be doing to stay #COVIDSmart
  5. The government or public health unit does not receive notifications – our contact tracing is done manually and not linked to this app at all. 

#WeBeforeMe #COVIDSmart

For more detailed information about stopping the spread of germs visit our Infectious Diseases section.

Flu virus is still circulating in the community. Consider making the flu shot part of your routine in the fall.

There are things you can do to prepare in case you or someone in your house becomes ill and are asked to self-isolate at home until the infection clears, or if you have close contact exposure with someone who has the COVID-19 infection.

  • Stock up on non-perishable foods gradually over the next few weeks.
  • Follow these tips for Personal Preparedness during Emergencies.
  • Prepare an emergency kit. Be prepared for two weeks should you become ill or are in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 infection and have to self-isolate at home.
  • Fill prescriptions for an extra month if you’re able.
    • Get refills with enough notice so that you do not run out of medication you may need.
    • Have over-the-counter pain/fever medications on hand.
  • Make plans for your children or other dependents in case you may be sick.
  • Stock up on supplies for your pets.
  • Stock up on cleaning supplies.
  • Ensure you have adequate sanitary and hygiene supplies.
  • Call your friends and neighbours and make plans to check in on each other; being prepared to help others out if there is a need to self-isolate.

Staying at home is not always safe. If you or someone you know is in danger at home from domestic abuse, you can contact Interval House.

If you are concerned about the safety and/or well-being of a child or youth under the age of 18 in Leeds, Grenville or Lanark, please contact Family and Children’s Services of LLG at 1-855-667-2726.

There are currently no reports of COVID-19 spreading from packaging. It is best to practice good hand hygiene (washing and sanitizer) after handling any packaging and before handling food.

If getting food or other items delivered – practice physical distancing and use no-contact ways to pay if possible (e-transfer, tap, etc.).

Fruits and vegetables should be washed before eating as before: rinse under cold, safe, running water, rubbing with hands; using a scrub brush if it is a tougher skin.

To limit trips to the grocery store, buy produce with a longer shelf-life (carrots, potatoes, squash, melons, frozen fruits and veggies) and stock up on items that don’t need refrigeration (like dried grains and canned goods). 

Current research suggests that the virus that causes COVID-19, can live for several hours on hard surfaces, so laundry machines, countertops, and furniture need to be sanitized frequently.

Health Canada has created a list of disinfectants that are safe and effective against the virus.

Although laundry from sick people should be kept bagged and separate while in your home to prevent accidental handling, there is no need to wash or dry these items separately.

Using Shared Laundry Facilities Fact Sheet

Doctors’ offices and hospitals are still open, so please seek health care when needed. Some services (like prescription refills) might be done over the phone or virtually, so always call ahead to see what the policies and procedures are for your health care provider. General health care is important to stay healthy and be best able to fight an infection if it occurs.

Pregnancy and Infant Care

Currently, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that pregnant women are at greater risk from COVID-19. We recommend pregnant women protect themselves from infection through the regular measures of physical distancing, frequent hand washing and not touching your face.

Given low rates of transmission of respiratory viruses through breastmilk, the World Health Organization states that those who have COVID-19 can breastfeed. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Wash your hands before and after feeding your baby
  • Wear a mask while feeding or caring for your baby
  • Ensure breast pump equipment, if used, is cleaned after every use
  • If hospitalized, it is your decision whether to room-in (dependant on hospital policy) and nurse at the breast or to separate temporarily and provide pumped milk.

If you have made the informed decision to feed your baby formula, be sure to use only commercial infant formula. It is the only recommended and safe alternative to breast milk. Home-made formula recipes are not a safe or nutritionally adequate substitute for commercial infant formula. They do not offer the right amount of vitamins, minerals and energy that babies need and they could be a food safety risk.

Are you an essential worker? Free emergency childcare may be available. Check these websites and fill in an application to see if you are eligible:

The Role of Your Local Pharmacy

As an essential service, your local pharmacy remains open with their professional staff available to support you and your medication needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since there is no vaccine or treatment, COVID-19 is managed at home in self-isolation with over-the-counter (OTC) medications that reduce fever and body aches. If you are ill, have gone for screening, screened positive and/or are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 (such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing), but require medication, please call your pharmacy and speak to them about options for obtaining your medication, such as getting someone from outside your household (who has not been in contact with you) to pick up your medication or arranging for delivery or curbside pickup. Please do NOT enter the pharmacy yourself.

Your pharmacist may also be able to help you if you are unable to attend an appointment with your prescriber and need refills of your medications, if you have questions about the supply status of your medications, if you need advice on minor ailments, if you need direction on where to go to use the province’s self-assessment tool or to find the latest information from Public Health on physical distancing, respiratory precautions, wearing a cotton mask when in public places, and regular cleaning of common hard surfaces.

As the health hub of many communities, your pharmacy team is always there to support you and the community with information, advice and to work hand in hand with your other medical practitioners towards your overall health and well-being. And some day hopefully soon, when specific treatments and a vaccine become available, your pharmacist will again be there to help you access them. We all need to work together and do our part to help stop others from becoming sick.

Sources for Information

Government of Canada. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine: What you should know. Ottawa, ON: December 9, 2020.

Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 Vaccine product Monograph. December 2020.

The Ontario Ministry of Health’s website for healthcare providers now includes COVID-19 vaccine guidance documents. Documents are currently available in English and French.