The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people, especially, seniors, get COVID-19 vaccines. They are safe, effective, and reduce your risk of severe illness. A vaccine is a substance that stimulates an immune response resulting in acquired immunity to a particular disease. Nearly 80% of the Canadian population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Seniors, people with lung problems, heart disease, brain and nervous system conditions, diabetes, obesity, cancer, certain blood disorders, and chronic kidney or liver disease are at higher risk of having more serious symptoms related to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccine delivers genetic material to our cells to build protection against the virus causing COVID-19, but the vaccines do not interact with or change DNA in any way since the material never enters the nucleus of the cell.
There are some common misconceptions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Some include that COVID-19 vaccines can cause variants and that COVID-19 vaccines may make you sick with COVID-19. Neither of these are true. Regarding the first misconception, new variants are caused by mutations, which are changes in the DNA sequence. Mutations may be caused by intrinsic (within the cell) or extrinsic (outside the cell) factors. Regarding the second misconception, you may experience side effects such as tiredness, headache, chills, fever, and/or nausea, after getting vaccinated. These are signs that the body is building up immunity against COVID-19.
The first dose readies your immune system and protects against the virus while the second dose provides optimal protection against it. It is recommended that everyone, especially seniors, get the COVID-19 booster shot as this provides increased protection against Omicron-related hospitalizations.
All individuals aged 18 and older are eligible to receive a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine 84 days after completion of the primary series.