Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted

Castlegar doctor answers common vaccine questions Part 2

Family physician Megan Taylor answers common vaccine questions

Submitted by Dr. Megan Taylor

A group of Castlegar physicians feels it would be helpful to address some common questions that they have been hearing from their patients.

“While we know that these vaccines are very effective, we also know that many of our patients feel a bit nervous about the vaccines being new and have questions about safety, side effects, how the vaccines work and if they have a reason why they shouldn’t have a vaccine,” says Dr. Megan Taylor.

The answers to these questions from local patients will be published in a series of articles, this is the second in that series.

I’ve had a reaction to the flu shot before, does that mean I should not get a COVID vaccine or that I am more likely to have a bad reaction to it?

These are two entirely different vaccines. History of having had any type of reaction to a flu vaccine (or any other type of vaccine) does not mean that you will react badly to this vaccine. It does not increase your chance of side effects at all.

What can I expect from the vaccine? Are the side effects bad?

The side effects are similar to those of many vaccines that we administer. It is common to have some pain and redness at the vaccine site. Some people will have low-grade fever, chills, body aches and tiredness for 24-48 hours after vaccination. Shortness of breath and cough are not a side effect of the vaccine. If you have either of these symptoms you should be tested for COVID-19.

I have _____ medical condition. Can I still get the vaccine?

In general, there are no medical conditions that mean you should not get a COVID-19 vaccine. However, if you have questions about your particular health condition and how it might be affected by COVID-19 vaccination, please reach out to your family doctor or nurse practitioner. We are very happy to talk to you and answer these questions.

I am pregnant/breastfeeding. Can I get the vaccine?

Yes! The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada recommends COVID-19 vaccination should be offered at any time during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. We know that pregnant persons are more likely to become severely ill with COVID-19 (8 – 11 per cent of those infected will require hospitalization and 2 – 4 per cent will need ICU admission).

COVID-19 infection in pregnancy also increases the risk of preterm birth. We encourage all pregnant persons to talk to their maternity care provider about their personal risk of COVID-19 and weigh that against what is known and not known about COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy. For those who would like to read the full statement, it is available at

Will the Covid Vaccine give me a blood clot?

Each year 1-2/1000 people will develop a blood clot. COVID-19 infection is commonly associated with blood clots. About 1 per cent (1/100) people who have a mild infection (do not need hospitalization) will get a blood clot. While 5 per cent (5/100) with a moderate infection and 20 per cent (20/100) with a severe infection will develop a blood clot.

The COVID-19 vaccines including the AstraZeneca vaccine do not increase the risk of this type of blood clot. Even if you have a history of having a blood clot before, the vaccine does not increase your risk of a clot, though COVID-19 infection certainly does.

The AstraZeneca vaccine may be associated with a very rare type of serious blood clot that is triggered by a different mechanism than the usual type of blood clots that we think about. This type of clot occurs in two to four people for every one million people who receive the vaccine (1/250 000 – 1/500 000). You can read more about this at

What monitoring is done to look for side effects?

Canada has a system of local, provincial, and national surveillance to carefully monitor adverse events following immunization and detect any vaccine safety concerns. Once a vaccine is approved, its safety is continuously being monitored as long as it is used. In most provinces and territories, including BC, health care providers are legally obliged to report all serious and unexpected adverse events following immunization to the medical health officer.

Every serious or concerning event is reported to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). These reports are reviewed at BCCDC and also sent to the Public Health Agency of Canada system called the Canadian Adverse Events Following Immunization System (CAEFISS), as are reports from all provinces and territories. Additional monitoring for adverse events is being done through a system called CANVAS (Canadian National Vaccine Safety Network) through which recipients of the vaccine can enrol to self-report adverse events following receipt of the vaccine, with serious events being reported on to the regional health authority.

Vaccine safety is also monitored at the international level. The World Health Organization’s International Drug Monitoring Program collects reports from over 75 countries and uses these global data to monitor for any vaccine safety concerns. In addition, all vaccine manufacturers must report serious adverse events of which they become aware, in Canada or internationally, to Health Canada. For COVID-19 vaccines, manufacturers are expected to implement enhanced monitoring activities.

Can I talk to my family doctor about my concerns and whether or not I should be vaccinated?

Yes please! If you have a vaccine question, please call our office and leave a message with the receptionist stating that you would like to have your doctor call you about COVID-19 vaccination. You do not need to make an appointment! Just leave the message and we will call you back. It is very important that our community gets vaccinated and we want to make it as easy as possible to have your questions answered.

When can I get a vaccine?

Well, we wish it was tomorrow! Vaccine supply is still limiting our ability to vaccinate people. But it is coming, so let’s get ready. Everyone over the age of 18 is now eligible to register for vaccination. This is not the same as getting an appointment, but it does get your name on the list. That way, when vaccine supply increases you will be ready.

You can register by phone at 1-833-838-2323 and online at And don’t forget if you are in the Phase 1 or Phase 2 Groups or have a condition which makes you clinically extremely vulnerable, you are eligible for a vaccine appointment right now.

If I have been vaccinated, why do I have to keep following these stupid rules?

I thought you said the vaccine was really effective! We know! It is so frustrating. But we need more people vaccinated before the restrictions can be lifted. Your vaccine protects you. But it doesn’t fully prevent you from carrying the virus and passing it to someone who has not been vaccinated. Once enough of the population is vaccinated, the rates of COVID-19 infections will go down. We know this to be true from looking at our nursing home population and from other countries that have achieved higher vaccination rates. Please try to be patient.

PART ONE: West Kootenay doctor makes plea and answers questions about COVID vaccines

READ MORE: MY COVID STORY: From doctor to patient

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Christina Lake Fire Department’s Chief Joe Geary eyes the camera from behind the wheel of the department’s 40-year-old bush truck. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Christina Lake FD needs new equipment, upgrades, prompting loan by RDKB

It’s not whether the department needs the equipment, it’s how voters will pay for it, says Regional District

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read