COVID-19 & COVID-19 vaccines

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been something that the world has lived with since 2020. It has affected the health of millions of people, and unfortunately led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. It has also caused families and friends to be separated for long periods of times, disrupted local businesses, and created backlogs in the medical system. This has resulted in a loss of access to rehabilitation and support services for some people, including those in the brain injury community.

Canada has a COVID-19 immunization program in place to provide vaccines to anyone over the age of 12 who want them. Millions of doses have been administered, which has helped provinces and territories welcome visitors, expand business capacity, and aided the load on the medical system.

Understanding the COVID-19 disease and the vaccines is an important part of understanding how both impact daily life.

Effects of COVID-19

Symptoms of COVID-19 are varied, but there are a few that are more common [1]. These include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

While many people fully recover, there are a percentage of patients who experience the symptoms long-term. These symptoms can also negatively impact pre-existing health conditions.

In studies of patients with COVID-19, there have been several different long-term effects on organs as well [2], including:

  • Damage to the heart muscle
  • Damage to the lungs through an associated form or pneumonia
  • Neurological effects

COVID-19 is still a relatively new disease, and as such, a lot of the long-term effects are still unknown. That’s one of the reasons safety measures around the world were so extensive, and why many are still in effect.

The impact of COVID-19 on Canadians

COVID-19 has had more than health effects. Due to the nature of the disease and the safety measures in place, daily life has changed on a global scale. This includes:

  • Restrictions on the number of people in spaces
  • A shift to online services and appointments, leading to a reliance on digital devices and the Internet
  • Delay in medical procedures, appointments, and rehabilitation
  • Loss of income for local businesses, leading to economic uncertainty
  • Increased isolation
  • Increase in mental health challenges
  • Increase accessibility challenges (particularly online) that has created more barriers for the disability community

It will be years before the full health and societal impacts of COVID-19 are known. Many individuals will be coping with the results of their own pandemic experiences for a long time as well.

Information about the COVID-19 vaccine

While COVID-19 is still very much a part of daily life, the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines has made it possible for Canada to combat the disease and give people the opportunity to move back to in-person activities, seeing family and friends, and once again accessing supports and services that may have been unavailable at the height of the pandemic.

Health Canada has thoroughly tested and approved the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently in use in Canada. Only vaccines that have proven to be safe, effective and of high quality are authorized for use [3].

The COVID-19 vaccines in Canada do not contain any form of the COVID-19 disease, so can’t pass the disease onto you.

The vaccine is provided in two doses to give you the highest level of protection possible. The more people who have the vaccine, the more activities can be re-introduced.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

As with any vaccine, there are some side effects. These can include [4]:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Pain at the injection site

These side effects are short-term, and are a natural response to vaccines.

What’s in the COVID-19 vaccine?

Since there are different COVID-19 vaccines, they may have different ingredients. The Government of Canada has the medical ingredients for each of the authorized vaccines listed on their website.

Some individuals have allergies to certain medical ingredients, and as such may not be able to get certain vaccinations. Always consult a doctor if you are uncertain or need a second opinion on the vaccines.

The vaccine is the strongest tool against COVID-19

The COVID-19 is making it possible for families to come together, rehabilitation services to start up again, and other aspects of daily living to resume. It’s helping protect members of the community against a devastating illness.

If you are looking for more information about vaccines, or have any questions about the vaccination process, reach out to your doctor or a member of your medical team.

More information on COVID-19 vaccines

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