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Is the COVID-19 vaccine required for everyone or are there exemptions?

Last Updated May 6, 2021 at 11:09 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

COVID-19 vaccine, like all other vaccines offered in Canada, is optional

While vaccine is not mandatory, health officials highly recommend you get the shot

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.


Amy asks: “Are there exemptions from taking the vaccine? Is it required for everyone?”


No, the shot is not mandatory.

The COVID-19 vaccine, like all other vaccines offered in Canada, is optional, although health officials highly recommend rolling up your sleeve.

Health Canada says vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect your health and COVID-19 vaccines provide instructions to your body’s immune system to recognize and fight off the virus that causes COVID-19.

While you could still get the virus even after getting a COVID-19 shot, studies show that vaccinated people may have less severe illness.

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While people are not forced to get one, a COVID-19 vaccine may be required to visit certain places and do certain things.

For example, Washington State University recently said it would require students coming to campus in the fall to have a COVID-19 vaccine. And the European Union is currently proposing to allow people who have been fully immunized against COVID-19 to enter E.U. countries for non-essential reasons.

No similar announcements have been in Canada so far.

Find a full list of previously answered questions and submit your own on our Gets Answers page.