KITCHENER -- Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in Waterloo Region, including locations, how to register, and who is next in line.

WHO CAN GET VACCINATED RIGHT NOW?

Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for children between five and 11 on Nov. 19. Children in that age group can start booking vaccine appointments on Nov. 23 in Waterloo Region.

Children's doses will be prioritized through the end of November into December, with a goal of vaccinating children before the holidays. There is an eight-week interval between first and second doses.

Third doses won't be available at regional vaccine clinics between Nov. 27 and Dec. 12.

Starting Nov. 1, Waterloo Region residents will need to book online for a second or third dose. First doses will still be availablefor walk-ins.

As of Nov. 6, people aged 70 and older, health-care workers in congregate settings, people who received a complete series of AstraZeneca or Janssen, and First Nation, Inuit, Métis adults and household members will be eligible for third doses.

The Pinebush clinic will scale back operations starting Sept. 4. The clinic will be open for walk-ins on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Starting Sept. 8, regional clinics will stop booking appointments and will instead offer vaccines through walk-ins only.

The region launched mobile buses vaccine clinic on July 21.

On Aug. 17, the province announced anyone born in 2009 is eligible to book a first dose.

Third doses will be available for vulnerable populations as of Aug. 18, with more conditions added on Sept. 14.

WHO IS NEXT IN LINE?

Vaccines are available to everyone 12 and older in Waterloo Region as of May 11.

Residents can book first and second doses online or walk into any regional clinic.

HOW WILL I FIND OUT WHEN I CAN RECEIVE THE VACCINE?

Waterloo Region's vaccination task force will share more information as it becomes available. Primarily, the task force will communicate vaccine updates through:

  • Social media and its website
  • Media outlets like CTV Kitchener
  • Community partners like pharmacists

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WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

A self-serve option for booking first and second doses will launch in Waterloo Region starting June 23.

Pharmacies and primary care providers can also adminster doses. Appointments can be booked directly with that provider.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE REGISTERING?

The COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary but strongly recommended.

You can't get COVID-19 from the vaccine—none of the vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada use the live virus which causes the disease.

Side effects for the vaccine are likely to be moderate and resolve in a few days. Those include pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint paint, chills or fever.

In rare cases, people have had allergic reactions to the vaccination. These can be treated and are usually temporary.

Once Canada starts using a vaccine, the country monitors its use to alert public health officials about any unusual adverse events that weren't previously reported.

WHO HAS ALREADY RECEIVED THE VACCINE?

As of Aug. 30, regional officials said more than 85 per cent of the eligible 12+ population had received their first dose of a vaccine.

More than 78 per cent of the 12+ population has been fully vaccinated, meaning they have received both doses and are considered immunized.

WHERE ARE THE VACCINES BEING DISTRIBUTED?

There are regional vaccine clinics distributing both first and second doses.

Walk-ins for first and second doses are available at all clinics.

Vaccines are also distributed at pharmacies and primary care offices, along with pop-up clinics and a mobile vaccine bus.

WHEN DO I GET MY SECOND DOSE?

Children's vaccines will have an eight-week interval between first and second doses.

People who received an mRNA vaccine as a first dose can get a second dose after 28 days have passed.

Walk-ins are available for first and second doses at all regional COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

On June 3, the province said people who received a first dose of AstraZeneca can choose to receive a second dose of AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine.

Second dose intervals for people who received AstraZeneca for a first dose were shortened to eight weeks on June 14.

WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?

If you work or live in a long-term care or retirement home or a congregate living facility, public health officials recommend that you contact your facility directly.

Those who work at a hospital should ask their occupational health and safety advisor.