COVID-19 Vaccines FAQs | Pharmacy QI | Jan 2021
January 2021 | Practical Tips for Quality Improvement | View PDF
1. ARE COVID-19 mRNA VACCINES SAFE?
mRNA vaccines have been held to the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standards as all other types of vaccines:
- mRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus, and COVID-19 cannot be acquired solely by the administration of the vaccine.
- mRNA vaccines do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept.
2. ARE THE TWO AVAILABLE COVID-19 mRNA VACCINES INTERCHANGEABLE?
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are not considered interchangeable, therefore the vaccination series should be completed for both doses with the same vaccine.
3. CAN COVID-19 VACCINES BE ADMINISTERED WITH OTHER VACCINES (E.G., INFLUENZA VACCINE)?
COVID-19 vaccines should not be given simultaneously with other vaccines to maximize benefit of vaccination. Wait for a period of at least 14 days after the administration of another vaccine before administering a COVID-19 vaccine to prevent erroneous attribution of an adverse event following immunization (AEFI) to a particular vaccine.
4. DO I STILL NEED TO WEAR A MASK AND PRACTISE SOCIAL DISTANCING AFTER I RECEIVE THE VACCINE?
All individuals should continue to practise recommended public health measures for prevention and control of SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission regardless of vaccination with COVID-19 vaccine, at this time.
5. ARE THERE CERTAIN POPULATIONS THAT CANNOT RECEIVE THE COVID-19 VACCINE?
The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are contraindicated in persons with proven immediate or anaphylactic hypersensitivity to any component of the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccine may be offered to individuals in the following populations if a risk assessment deems that the benefits outweigh the potential risks for the individual and if informed consent with the individual/substitute decision maker includes discussion about the insufficiency of evidence on the use of COVID-19 vaccine in these populations:
- Immunocompromised persons due to disease or treatment, and those with an autoimmune condition
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Individuals who are not in the authorized age group (children and adolescents)
- Government of Canada. NACI. Recommendations on the Use of COVID-19 Vaccines. December 23, 2020. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/immunization/national-advisory-committee-on-immunization-naci/recommendations-use-covid-19-vaccines.html#a7. Accessed January 4, 2021.
- Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Product Monograph. December 9, 2020.
- Moderna Therapeutics Inc. Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Product Monograph. December 23, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines. Updated December 18, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html. Accessed January 4, 2021.