COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Most people are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Eligible age groups by vaccine:
- • Pfizer BioNTech: 12 years and older
- • Moderna: 12 years and older
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for people who:
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- have autoimmune disorders
- are immunosuppressed
A confirmed allergy to the COVID-19 vaccines is rare. If your health care provider has questions regarding allergies and COVID-19 vaccines s/he can contact an allergist.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) strongly recommends that two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine be offered to people in the eligible age group who are pregnant or breastfeeding. There is growing information on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy. There have not been any unique safety concerns raised about negative health effects from vaccine for pregnant people or their babies. Evidence is showing that antibodies from mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are present in breast milk after maternal vaccination with mRNA vaccines, which may provide some protection for breastfed babies. View more information.
Immunosuppression or immunocompromised status
People who are immunocompromised (have a weak immune system) were not included in the trials testing COVID-19 vaccines. However, immunocompromised people have received Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines during the pandemic. There have not been any unique safety concerns raised about negative health effects from vaccine for immunocompromised people. If you're immunosuppressed from disease or treatment, you may have a reduced immune response to any COVID-19 vaccine.
Recent data suggests that people with an autoimmune condition and normal immune system have a similar response to a COVID-19 vaccine than people without these conditions. There have not been any unique safety concerns raised about negative health effects from vaccine for autoimmune individuals.
Immunosuppression, auto-immune disorders, pregnancy and breastfeeding are not contraindications to COVID-19 immunization.
Medical Contraindications to COVID-19 vaccination
Medical contraindications against COVID-19 vaccines are limited in number, and include:
- a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g. anaphylaxis) after previous administration of a COVID-19 vaccine using a similar platform (mRNA or viral vector);
- an allergy to any component of the specific COVID-19 vaccine or its container [polyethylene glycol (PEG) for Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines];
- a history of major venous and/or arterial thrombosis with thrombocytopenia following vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine;
- a history of capillary leak syndrome (CLS) following vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
As a precaution, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that people who experienced myocarditis and/or pericarditis after a first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) should wait to get their second dose of mRNA vaccine until more information is available.
If you have a history of myocarditis or pericarditis and are still being followed by a doctor for related heart issues, please follow up with your healthcare provider before receiving the vaccine.
Nova Scotians who are concerned about their personal medical history and the available mRNA vaccines should speak with their healthcare provider.
For more information about Nova Scotia’s immunization strategy please visit: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/vaccine/.