(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

AHS: Immunization is our greatest protection against COVID-19

Everyone is at risk of getting sick with COVID-19. As we’ve seen here in Alberta, even healthy people are at risk of severe illness and even death from this virus.

The best way to protect yourself, the ones you love and your community is by getting immunized.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and they save lives,” says Dr. Kristin Klein, Medical Officer of Health, Provincial Population and Public Health.

“They build antibodies to help prevent disease and make your immune system stronger. It’s much safer to get immunized than to get COVID-19.”

COVID-19 vaccines will not change your DNA and they will not give you the virus.

Everyone born in 2009 or before (turning 12 and up) can get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta. The COVID-19 vaccines are free. Book your appointment today at ahs.ca/covidvaccine.

COVID-19 and pregnancy

If you are pregnant, it is safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine at any time during pregnancy.

“The vaccine lowers your chance of becoming very sick from COVID-19 and spreading the virus to others, including your baby,” explains Dr. Klein.

Research to-date shows the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) are the safest type of COVID-19 vaccine to get during pregnancy. Visit ahs.ca/vaccinepregnancy for more information.

Vaccines work

Different people have different feelings and concerns about COVID-19 immunization, and that’s O.K. But we should all have the same information and support each other to learn more.

“We’ve seen how vaccines are working in Alberta to protect people and prevent outbreaks,” adds Dr. Klein. “For example, COVID-19 in continuing care facilities has been significantly reduced since residents were immunized.”

Deciding what is right for you

The decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice. However, we recommend all Albertans get immunized as soon as they can, no matter what vaccine option is provided.

“We understand you may be anxious about whether the COVID-19 vaccine is right for you,” says Dr. Klein. “We encourage you to speak with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Together, you can decide if the benefits of immunization outweigh potential risks based on your health and circumstances.”

We know you will make the best and most informed decision about your health, the health of the people you love and your community.

“We all must do our part to protect one another,” says Dr. Klein.

“Please get immunized as soon as you can. This will help us return to more of the things we love in life, sooner.”

Even if you’ve had the vaccine, remember to keep following current public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

• Wear a mask in public and in all indoor workplaces

• Stay at least two metres away from others

• Limit the number of people you come into close contact with

• Gather with others safely

• Practice good hygiene

• Stay home when you’re sick (this means isolating)

• Stay home if you’ve been in close contact with a person whose had COVID-19, or if you’ve returned from travel outside of Canada (this means quarantining)

For more information, visit ahs.ca/covid and ahs.ca/covidvaccine.

– Submitted by Alberta Health Services