Covid Vaccines Question and Answers
If a patient tells you:
I don’t need a vaccine…
I am not at risk/COVID-19 isn’t that bad.…
You can say…..
• COVID-19 is much more serious than the flu. In Canada, the flu kills
roughly 3,500 patients per year. In less than a year, COVID-19 has
killed 4 times that many.
• Even if a young and healthy person does not die of COVID-19
infection, they may have long term complications from COVID-19,
affecting multiple organ systems. Long-term effects include memory
loss, fatigue, body aches, unexplained breathing difficulties, and
damage to the lungs and heart. Clinics have already been set up
to support the many COVID-19 patients who, although they are no
longer infected, cannot go back to work or live a normal life.
• Flu facts. (Gov of Ontario, 2020)
• Long-Term Sequelae and COVID-19 – What We Know So Far (PHO, July 10, 2020)
• Emerging evidence: Prolonged symptoms of COVID-19 (CEP, 2020)
If a patient tells you:
I will wait to get the vaccine.
There are not enough vaccines to go around/I want
to see what happens to others who have received it.
You can say…
• The pandemic – and the lockdowns and public health measures
– will not end until the majority of Canadians are vaccinated. To
ensure we can vaccinate everyone as quickly as possible, it is
important that people access the vaccine the first time it is offered
• Canada has ordered more than enough vaccines – we have
purchased more shots per person than any other country in
the world! We will be getting those vaccines delivered over time.
The implementation plan of those vaccines is designed to most
efficiently end this pandemic. You can feel confident that when
you are offered one, it is because it is the right time for you to get
it. This is your chance to do your part to end the pandemic and get
back to normalcy quickly.
• If you wait to get vaccinated and get infected in the meantime,
you may end up in hospital – which would put more strain on the
system than getting the vaccine. •If Canadians wait to get the vaccine, more people will die.
If a patient says:
Is Bell’s Palsy a possible side effect of the PfizerBioNTech vaccine?
You can say:
• No. Among the almost 22,000 vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech
COVID-19 vaccine, there were 4 cases of Bell’s palsy. This number
of Bell’s palsy cases is consistent with the expected rate in the
general population and did not suggest it was caused by the
vaccine. Three cases occurred within one month after both doses
were completed, and one case occurred later than one month
after both doses were completed, and all four patients recovered.
• More research will be conducted as this was the only “imbalanced”
occurrence that happened more in the vaccine arm of the study
than the placebo arm.
• Those with previous history of Bell’s palsy may still take this vaccine.
• Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting December 10,
2020 FDA Briefing Document Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
• Product monograph, including patient medication information: Pfizer-biontech
COVID-19 vaccine (2020)
• Fact check: Clarifying claims around Pfizer vaccine deaths and side effects (Reuters,Dec 10, 2020)
If a patient asks you...
How can the vaccine have been developed so quickly?
You can say:
• The use of mRNA for vaccines and treatment of disease has been
around for a while – that’s one of the reasons why these vaccines
could be developed so quickly. mRNA vaccines have been used in
animal models for influenza, Zika, Rabies, CMV and others, and in
humans for cancer treatment and cancer vaccine clinical trials.
• mRNA vaccines are like CD players that can play any kind of CD –
classical music, rap or pop. The scientists had the CD player before
COVID-19 hit. Once they figured out the Coronavirus CD, they could
place it into the player and make the vaccine a lot faster than before,
since they used what was known and built on it.
• Over 70,000 doses have been tested in the mRNA phase 3 trials so
far, without any safety concerns.
• mRNA vaccines — a new era in vaccinology (Nat Rev Drug Discov, 2018)
• Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (NEJM, Dec 10, 2020)
• Promising Interim Results from Clinical Trial of NIH-Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
(NIH, Nov 16, 2020)