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Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I get?

Last Updated Mar 18, 2021 at 5:39 am PDT

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Summary

BCCDC says people cannot choose which vaccine they receive

Some vaccines offered in certain community settings; People can choose to take vaccine at clinics or wait for age group

NEWS 1130 is working hard to get you the information you need about the COVID-19 pandemic.

When you have questions, NEWS 1130 Gets Answers.

Question:

Canada now has four vaccines that are approved for emergency use. With each approval, however, many Canadians wonder which one is best. Can you choose which of the shots to get?

Answer:

The short answer to this is “no.”

The BC Centre for Disease Control stresses that all vaccines approved in Canada are safe, effective, and will protect you.

The BCCDC notes that anyone included in Phaser 2 of the province’s vaccine rollout will either get the Pfizer or Moderna shots — and will not get a choice between the two.

You will always be told which you are receiving.

The centre notes that the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are easier to store and don’t require the extreme temperatures the other two vaccines do. Therefore, these vaccines are slated for use within the community, likely being administered to essential workplaces where people can’t work from home. They are also designated for primary use in work settings where there have been outbreaks.

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The BCCDC says people offered vaccines through these clinics can choose to wait to receive a shot with their age group, or take it there.

“B.C. recommends you take the vaccine that you are offered so you are protected as soon as possible. The sooner people have been immunized in our community, the harder it becomes for the virus to spread. That protects us all,” the agency says.

That messaging echoes what has been said by health officials at all levels.

People are also advised against so-called “vaccine shopping.” The president of Doctors of BC recently told NEWS 1130 that even his own parents have had questions around vaccines and their effectiveness, wondering if they should “wait or hold out for a different” shot than the one they’ve been offered.

“My unequivocal answer to them is: ‘No, you should not wait,’” Dr. Matthew Chow said.