Vaccination Information

Immunization by vaccination is a safe and effective way of preventing illness caused by infectious diseases. The COVID-19 vaccines are intended to protect you and those around you from developing COVID-19, and to make your symptoms milder if you are infected.  

As we move towards widespread, lasting control of COVID-19 through safe and effective vaccines, it is essential for everyone in Canada to continue following public health recommendations to prevent further spread.  

Humber recognizes that vaccination is a critical component of the overall public health response to the Pandemic but will continue to rely on all other prescribed safety measures and regulations until such time as public health officials recommend easing of such measures.

Everyone, including those vaccinated, should continue physical distancing, practice frequent hand hygiene, wear face masks, and follow any additional measures laid out by public health authorities.  

Additional information about vaccinations can be found from official sources, including the Public Health Agency of CanadaOntario Government and the City of Toronto.  

Free vaccines will be available to everyone in Canada throughout 2021.

DISCLAIMER: This page is not meant to provide personal medical advice and is being provided as a resource based on available advice from appropriate public health authorities and other government resources. Talk to your doctor/medical provider to get advice specific to you.

Below are answers to commonly asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines.

Humber-specific Vaccination Information

Will Humber and UofGH require proof of vaccination for staff or students?

At this time, proof of vaccination is not required, except potentially for programs with work-integrated learning experiences that already require students/staff to be fully vaccinated.

Can I be denied entry to campus if I am not vaccinated?

No. Proof of vaccination is not required, except potentially for programs with work-integrated learning experiences that already require students/staff to be fully vaccinated.

Why isn’t Humber/UofGH making vaccinations mandatory?

Humber and the University of Guelph-Humber have followed the direction and recommendations of public health throughout the pandemic. Vaccinations are another public health measure to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 and staff and students are encouraged to get vaccinated.

However, the choice to get a vaccine is personal and may be based on a range of factors including medical, religious or other. As always, staff and students are asked to treat their peers with respect, including understanding the private nature of health-related decisions.

I live in Humber’s residence/close to Humber’s North Campus, I am a Humber/Guelph-Humber student/I work at Humber or Guelph-Humber, can I get my vaccine at the vaccine clinic on campus?

The Osler-Humber College COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic is open to anyone who is 12 years or older and seeking their first dose/shot. The clinic has also begun administering second shots to those who meet the provincial eligibility for accelerated doses.

Walk-ins are accepted starting at 5:30 pm based on eligibility, but appointments are encouraged. Bookings for this clinic are managed through Osler’s vaccine appointment system: myosler.williamoslerhs.ca. Please check online before heading to the clinic.

Please visit Ontario’s three-phase COVID-19 vaccination plan here for more information.

Toronto Public Health Vaccine Webinar Recording and Slides

On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, Toronto Public Health hosted a special vaccine webinar for post-secondary education students, staff and faculty, featuring Dr. Vinita Dubey, Associate Medical Officer of Health, and Nicole Welch, Director Chief Nursing Officer. For those unable to take part in the live session, you can view the webinar recording and access the slide presentation via the links below:

Other Helpful links

Will masks continue to be mandatory on campus as more people get vaccinated?

Health and safety measures including physical distancing, masks and hand hygiene will remain in effect for the foreseeable future. Once you have received both doses of the vaccine, you may still contract COVID-19, but the risk of serious illness or death is greatly reduced. However, you may still contract the virus and pass it to others. Ongoing mask requirements will help minimize this. 

I heard some people talking about vaccinations at work/school and I felt uncomfortable. What can I do?

The choice to get a vaccine is personal and may be based on a range of factors including medical, religious or other. As always, staff and students are asked to treat their peers with respect, including understanding the private nature of health-related decisions.

I am an international student without a health card. Can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?

You do not need Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage to get a vaccine in Ontario. The Ontario government announced that people without a health card are eligible for the vaccine.

This includes people with temporary status, such as refugee claimants with Interim Federal Health coverage and international students who do not have OHIP. It also includes people with no status. According to the government of Ontario you can contact your local public health unit where you will be asked for another form of identification. Once the public health unit has confirmed your eligibility for vaccination, they will help book your appointment.

To find your local public health unit and contact number, visit Ontario.ca/bookvaccine and select the 'no Ontario health card' option from the drop-down menu under Health Card Type.

I am a Humber/UofGH international student, and my insurance will cover the COVID-19 vaccine. Can I get my vaccine on campus or elsewhere?

Vaccinations are available to those deemed eligible in the Province’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan and local public health. Please visit Ontario’s three-phase COVID-19 vaccination plan here for more information find your public health unit and check their website for details about vaccination and if you are eligible in your area.

How do I know who’s been vaccinated?

In general, you can’t know who has been vaccinated and who has not. That is private medical information.

I am worried about people on campus who are not vaccinated. What can I do?

The health and safety of the Humber/Guelph-Humber community is our top priority. Health and safety protocols have been put in place to help keep the community safe. More information about these measures can be found on humber.ca/campus-return and humber.ca/updates. If you have specific concerns regarding symptoms or exposure, use the Humber Guardian Self-Screening App or contact the COVID Reporting Health Team at covidreporting@humber.ca or 416.675.5007. Students may wish to discuss their concerns with their Program Coordinator, and staff may wish to discuss their concerns with their manager.

What do/can I say to my student or colleague who is not vaccinated?

The choice to get a vaccine is personal and may be based on a range of factors including medical, religious or other. As always, staff and students are asked to treat their peers with respect, including understanding the private nature of health-related decisions.

What if I am not comfortable being on campus with people who are not vaccinated?

Vaccinations are one of the health and safety measures that can help to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Other measures including continuing to ensure that everyone in class is physically distancing 2-metres (6 ft), wearing a mask (and face shield in some classes), and frequently washing or sanitizing hands are also important. Students may wish to discuss their concerns with their Program Coordinator, and staff may wish to discuss their concerns with their manager.

General Vaccine Information

How do I get the vaccine?

Members of the Humber/UofGH community are encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine as recommended by public health. Learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated.

Eligible residents can book an appointment at immunization clinics in Toronto using the province’s vaccination registration system or by calling the Provincial booking system at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY 1-866-797-0007). Find a clinic location.

Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?

There are the 2 types of vaccines: mRNA (messenger RNA vaccine: Pfizer & Moderna) & viral vector - AstraZeneca & Johnson and Johnson. None of the COVID-19 vaccines approved in Canada use the live virus that causes COVID-19. It usually takes the body approximately two weeks to build immunity/develop antibodies. after receiving a vaccine. It is possible that someone could become infected with the COVID-19 virus before or just after getting the vaccine and get sick. This happens because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection in the body.

What are the benefits of getting vaccinated?

  • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Canada are safe and effective at reducing the risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19. Learn more about the different COVID-19 vaccines. You can also find additional facts about COVID-19 vaccinations from this Public Health Agency of Canada page
  • All COVID-19 vaccines in development are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely to get COVID-19. Learn more about recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Based on government and health information about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine helps keep you from getting seriously ill even if you get COVID-19.
  • Experts continue to conduct studies to learn more about how COVID-19 vaccination may reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • In addition to protecting you, getting vaccinated may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Should I get the vaccine if I have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past?

Information provided regarding vaccine safety suggests that it is safe and beneficial to receive the vaccination even after having tested positive for COVID-19, but individuals with such questions or concerns should speak to their own doctors/health providers to determine what is best for them.

I think I have a low risk of contracting COVID-19; do I need to be vaccinated?

Anyone, at any age, can get sick with COVID-19 and become seriously ill or die.

According to the World Health Organization, asymptomatic people infected with the virus can be contagious, and the virus can spread from them to other people. For these reasons, it is crucial to consider getting vaccinated, which may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

There is no evidence that any of the current COVID-19 vaccines can completely stop people from being infected and consequently prevent transmission. However, all approved vaccines in Canada have nearly 100% protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death.

Can I stop following public health guidelines if I am vaccinated?

No. Only when enough people are vaccinated against COVID-19 and cases are down will it be safe to lift public health measures.

It is important to remember that COVID-19 will not be eliminated. Therefore, you will still need to follow some public health measures like physical distancing and wearing masks.

The Government of Canada has released information about what we can look forward to when a certain percentage of the population is vaccinated. See COVID-19: Life after vaccination for more information.

Effectiveness and Safety of Vaccines

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Vaccines must be tested to ensure they are safe and effective before being authorized for use in Canada. Once a vaccine has been approved for use in Canada, it is monitored for:

  • safety
  • effectiveness (how well it works) in people

Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada share responsibility for ongoing monitoring, which also involves:

  • provincial, territorial and local public health authorities
  • health-care professionals
  • the vaccine industry
  • the public

Information on vaccine safety can be found here.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective?

The data shows that all authorized vaccines work well at preventing serious illness requiring hospitalization and at preventing serious illness resulting in death.

All vaccination will reduce the burden of illness and death from COVID-19.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine have side effects?

According to Health Canada, most people who receive vaccines have no or mild side effects, but like any medicine, some people may experience some. Common side effects such as sore arm, muscle ache, headache or mild fever may occur, usually lasting only a few days.

These types of side effects are expected and indicate the vaccine is working to produce protection. As with any medicines and vaccines, allergic reactions are rare but can occur after receiving a vaccine.

Information regarding vaccine side effects can be found here. Any reported side effects following COVID-19 vaccination can be found here.

Can mRNA vaccines change my DNA?

According to Health Canada, messenger RNA (mRNA) is not able to alter or modify a person's genetic makeup (DNA). This is because the mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the cell's nucleus, where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body's natural defences to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease. Information about mRNA vaccines, how they work, safety, effectiveness, monitoring can be found here.

How quickly does the vaccine work? How long does it last?

Health Canada does not yet know for sure how long protection will last. It is likely to be at least several months, but repeat vaccinations are needed. Researchers are studying this closely. Learn more on Vaccine Efficacy Rates

Does the COVID-19 vaccine protect me from new strains of the virus?

According to Health Canada, while early data suggests that these new variants may be more transmissible, to date, there is no evidence that they cause more severe disease or have any impact on antibody response or vaccine effectiveness. However, more research is required to confirm these findings, and the Canadian and global medical, public health, and research communities are actively evaluating these mutations.

Learn more about variants, including the effectiveness of vaccines currently known, on the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases Website

How do I know there will not be long-term side effects from the vaccine?

According to the Canadian Red Cross, most of vaccine side effects occur shortly after receiving a vaccine, not months or years later. Once a vaccine is approved, scientists and government agencies continue to monitor its safety to identify rare side effects. These monitoring efforts also focus on vulnerable people, including people with specific medical conditions or pregnant women.