Vaccines

Immunizing most of the population is expected to prevent the spread and reduce the impact of COVID-19, getting ahead of highly transmissible variants and leading us out of the pandemic. Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect yourself, loved ones and community against COVID-19.

The health and well-being of the Conestoga community is top priority. High vaccination rates and continued efforts to follow public health measures will offer the best protection against the virus as we continue to safely re-open Conestoga campuses and sites.

Conestoga has introduced a policy that will require students, employees and visitors accessing any of the college's campuses to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Book a vaccine appointment


We can all help by getting vaccinated. 

COVID-19 vaccines are free widely available in Ontario. Visit Ontario.ca/bookvaccine to schedule an appointment at a clinic or pharmacy.

Vaccination appointments are also available at the Kitchener – Doon campus for Conestoga students and employees. Book now.

Submit proof of vaccination


Proof of vaccination can be uploaded online or through the Conestoga Mobile Safety app.

All students, employees and visitors are required to provide proof of immunization to access Conestoga campuses and facilities.

Download the app:

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Vaccine FAQ

Why should I get vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccines help build your immunity to the virus, making your body stronger to fight it off. This can reduce your risk of developing COVID-19 if exposed and make your symptoms milder if infected.                               

Immunizing most of the population is expected to prevent the spread and reduce the impact of COVID-19, getting ahead of highly transmissible variants and leading us out of the pandemic. Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect yourself, loved ones and community against COVID-19.

Conestoga's COVID Community Safety Policy took effect on September 7, 2021, and requires all students, employees and visitors accessing our campuses and facilities to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or an approved exemption.                               

I am fully vaccinated. Do I really need a booster dose?

Research has shown that receiving a COVID-19 booster will help protect against more severe outcomes from the virus and its variants. Protection after a primary vaccination series decreases over time, especially in the presence of variants of concern.          

A booster series is more effective at protecting individuals from getting COVID-19, preventing individuals from spreading COVID-19, and keeping individuals out of the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms.           

Visit the Government of Canada and the Ontario College of Family Physicians to learn more. 

Where can I view Conestoga's vaccination policy?

Conestoga's COVID Community Safety Policy is available online and posted to college policies, procedures, practices and guidelines under Office of the President.                                

How do I submit proof of vaccination?

Proof of vaccination can be uploaded online or through the Conestoga Mobile Safety app. View the submission guide for more information (contact vaccinequestions@conestogac.on.ca if you have trouble viewing the guide). 

To complete the process, you will need to provide the date(s) and product name(s) of each dose as well as a copy of your final vaccination receipt.                                 

If you received your vaccinations in Ontario, you can obtain copies of your receipt from the province's Ministry of Health.

If you have questions or require assistance with uploading, contact vaccinequestions@conestogac.on.ca.                                

The province has lifted proof of vaccination requirements. Is Conestoga lifting its vaccination policy?

Conestoga currently requires all students, employees, contractors and visitors to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 in accordance with the college's COVID Community Safety Policy.  

This policy remains in effect until further notice. When planning for the September 2022 term, all individuals who will be coming on campus for work or study purposes or to participate in in-person activities should assume they will be required to be fully vaccinated. 

Current policies and protocols may change based on evolving conditions, including the availability of updated scientific or medical guidance. Any changes or updates to vaccine requirements will be shared directly with the Conestoga community and posted as they become available. 

Who needs to be vaccinated under the policy?

All students, employees and visitors accessing Conestoga campuses and facilities need to be fully vaccinated (as defined by the Government of Canada) against COVID-19.                             

Will I need to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in the fall 2022 term that starts in September ?

Conestoga currently requires all students, employees, contractors and visitors to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 in accordance with the college's COVID Community Safety Policy.  

This policy remains in effect until further notice. When planning for the September 2022 term, all individuals who will be coming on campus for work or study purposes or to participate in in-person activities should assume they will be required to be fully vaccinated. 

Current policies and protocols may change based on evolving conditions, including the availability of updated scientific or medical guidance. Any changes or updates to vaccine requirements will be shared directly with the Conestoga community and posted as they become available. 

How does Canada/Ontario define being 'fully vaccinated'?

In order to be considered fully vaccinated in Canada, individuals must have received                              

  • a full series of a Health Canada-approved vaccine (Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Janssen, Noravax, Medicago Convifenz) or combination of approved vaccines;
  • one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for travel to and within Canada (Covaxin, Sinovac, Sinopharm) followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine approved by Health Canada; or
  • three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for travel to and within Canada 
Your final dose in a series must have been administered 14 days prior to providing proof in order to be considered fully vaccinated.                   
 Visit the Government of Ontario website to learn more.                             
Which vaccines have been approved for COVID-19 in Canada?

After independent and thorough scientific reviews of safety, efficacy and quality, Health Canada has approved the following vaccines:                             

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Noravax
  • Medicago Covifenz

The Government of Canada has approved additional vaccines acceptable for travel to and within Canada:                             

  • Covaxin
  • Sinovac
  • Sinopharm

International students who have received one or two doses of an approved vaccine for travel to and within Canada should receive one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine approved by Health Canada in order to be considered fully vaccinated. 

How does Canada/Ontario define being up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations?

Up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations means an individual has received all recommended doses, including boosters, when eligible.   

Protection after a primary COVID-19 vaccination series decreases over time, especially in the presence of variants of concern. Experts recommend receiving a booster dose to provide strong and long-lasting protection against more severe outcomes from the virus and its variants.  

Visit the Government of Ontario for more information. 

I have been vaccinated outside of Canada. Is there guidance for COVID-19 vaccines not authorized by Health Canada?

New guidance from the Ontario Ministry of Health outlines that individuals who have received an incomplete or complete COVID-19 dose series of a non-Health Canada-approved vaccine (i.e., Sinopharm, Sinovac) should receive one additional dose of an mRNA vaccine in Ontario.

Vaccine appointments are available to Conestoga students 18 years of age or older at the Kitchener-Doon campus in the Medical Care Clinic. For more information, to consult with a medical care provider and/or to schedule an appointment, please visit the Medical Care Clinic.

Please note, in order to receive an additional dose, individuals must complete an out-of-province COVID immunization form. Contact your local Public Health Unit for more information.                                

I received one or both of my COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario. How can I obtain a copy of my vaccination receipt?

If you received your vaccinations in Ontario, you can obtain copies of your receipt from the province's Ministry of Health.                                

Are there exceptions to the vaccination rules? How can I be exempted?

High rates of vaccination are the most effective way to protect public health and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Exemptions to the vaccination policy will be limited to those rare cases where individuals cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or on other grounds protected under Ontario's Human Rights Code.                                

All exemption requests should be directed to covid19questions@conestogac.on.ca where they will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

What are medical reasons for an approved exemption under the vaccination policy?

Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization confirms that most people can and should be vaccinated against COVID-19. Valid medical exemptions include those who are allergic to a component of the specific vaccine (as confirmed by an allergist or immunologist), as well as those who suffered myocarditis or pericarditis after receiving their first dose. Individuals with a history of capillary leak syndrome should not receive the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccine.                                

All exemption requests should be directed to covid19questions@conestogac.on.ca where additional information will be provided. All requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

I believe I qualify for a creed/religion-based exemption from the vaccination policy. What steps should I take?

All exemption requests should be directed to covid19questions@conestogac.on.ca where they will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Those who make a request for this type of exemption should be prepared to provide additional information about their beliefs and how they prevent them from being vaccinated for COVID-19. Please note that personal or political beliefs will not be considered valid grounds for an exemption.

What accommodations will be provided for those who receive exemptions?

All exemption requests are carefully considered on a case-by-case basis. If you are eligible to receive an exemption, you will be contacted to discuss possible accommodations. Accommodations will depend on the specific restrictions tied to the reason you are unable to be vaccinated.                                

Please note that even if it is determined that you are eligible for an exemption, you may still not be permitted access to campus properties depending on other factors, including the need to protect the health and safety of other community members.                                

My request for an exemption was denied. What are my options?

All exemption requests are carefully considered on a case-by-case basis. If you are advised that you do not qualify for an exemption, you can return to campus after obtaining your COVID-19 vaccines and providing proof of vaccination in accordance with the policy.                                

Alternatively, you may consider deferring your studies or withdrawing from your program temporarily. In some cases, you may be able to return to your program at a later date. For more information, contact covid19questions@conestogac.on.ca.                                

What does the Ontario Human Rights Commission say about vaccine mandates?

On September 22, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released a new policy statement on COVID-19 vaccine mandates and proof of vaccine certificates. According to the statement, mandating and requiring proof of vaccination to protect people at work or when receiving services is generally permissible under the province's Human Rights Code (Code).                                 

OHRC contends that individuals who choose not to be vaccinated based on personal preference or singular beliefs do not have the right to accommodation under the Code. Accommodations should be provided to those who are not able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for medical or disability-related reasons, unless such accommodations would significantly interfere with people's health and safety.                                

Will Conestoga offer COVID-19 testing or accept a negative test as an alternative to proof of vaccination?

No. All Conestoga students, employees and visitors accessing campuses and facilities need to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or an approved exemption. There will not be an option to produce a negative test.                               

Requiring vaccines as a condition for coming on campus will protect our students and employees and prevent the spread of infection as we move towards the full resumption of in-person classes and activities.   

I am taking a course through OntarioLearn at Conestoga. Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

Students in OntarioLearn courses will not be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they are accessing any of Conestoga's campuses or locations.

Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are free and widely available in Ontario.                              

Visit Ontario.ca/bookvaccine to schedule an appointment at a clinic or pharmacy.                

Vaccination appointments are also available at the Kitchener – Doon campus for Conestoga students and employees. Book an appointment through the Medical Care Clinic.                               

Not in Ontario? Visit Canada.ca/covid-vaccine or your local government's website to learn where and when to get vaccinated.                               

When should I get a booster dose?

All Ontarians are strongly encouraged to get a booster dose as soon as they are eligible to keep up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.        

Adults 18 and over can schedule their first booster dose appointment at an interval of three months (84 days) after their last dose. Appointments are available to Conestoga students and employees at the college's Medical Care Clinic at the Kitchener – Doon campus.        

Special populations, other age groups and immunocompromised individuals may be eligible for a second booster dose (or first booster in a three-dose primary series).        

Visit the Government of Ontario to learn more and book an appointment. 

I had COVID-19. Do I still need a booster dose?

It is important to get a booster even after recovering from COVID-19, as you are not immune and can still get the virus and spread it to others in your community. Research has shown that receiving a booster dose provides strong and long-lasting protection against more severe outcomes from the virus and its variants.       

Visit the Government of Ontario to learn more.

How long after I've recovered from COVID-19 can I receive a booster dose?

Experts recommend waiting three months after recovering from COVID-19 to receive a booster dose to ensure strong and long-lasting protection against the virus and its variants. Optimal timing can be discussed with a health care provider.     

Visit the Government of Ontario for more information. 

I am an international student. Can I receive a booster dose?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses, are free to all those eligible in Ontario.       

If you do not have an Ontario health card, contact your local public health unit for more information. To find your local public health unit and contact number, visit Ontario.ca/bookvaccine and select the "no Ontario health card" option from the drop-down menu under "Health Card Type."            

If you received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of Ontario, in order to receive a booster at the college's Medical Care Clinic, you must complete the Out-of-province COVID Immunization Form and wait for approval before making a vaccination appointment. Vaccination appointments at the Medical Care Clinic can only be made once public health issues a valid out-of-province QR certificate.       

You are still eligible to receive a booster dose at a public health clinic without an out-of-province QR certificate.       

Visit the Government of Ontario or contact the Medical Care Clinic for more information. 

I am an international student who received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of Ontario. How do I register my out-of-province vaccination?

International students who received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of Ontario (whether a Health Canada-approved vaccine or not) must complete an out-of-province COVID immunization form to ensure their status is registered with the provincial electronic immunization record system CoVAXon.                                 

This information is required by the Ontario Ministry of Health in order for individuals to receive future doses as well as to help better identify immunization rates. Each Public Health Unit is responsible for collecting information from its residents.                                 

Please register your out-of-province vaccination with your local Public Health Unit:                                

If you are not a resident of one of the above Public Health Units or are unsure, find your local Public Health Unit through the provincial locator.                                

Are the vaccines safe?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines have been rigorously tested during their development and carefully reviewed by Health Canada experts. Only vaccines that are proven to be safe, effective and of high quality are authorized for use in Canada.                                

Listen to an Ontario doctor talk about the resources and expertise behind ensuring COVID-19 vaccines in Canada are safe and effective.                                

Do the COVID-19 vaccines have any side effects?

Like any medication, COVID-19 vaccines may cause mild side effects that can last a few hours or a couple of days.                             

Common side effects may include:

  • redness, soreness or swelling around the injection site,
  • tiredness,
  • headache,
  • muscle and joint pain,
  • chills, and/or
  • mild fever.

Visit the Government of Canada website for reported side effects following COVID-19 vaccination in Canada.           

Myths and facts

Myth: The vaccines are unsafe because they were developed too quickly and not tested properly.

Fact: All approved vaccines are safe. The development of the COVID-19 vaccines progressed quickly due to a global focus of resources and tremendous effort.   

COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada have been rigorously tested during their development and carefully reviewed by Health Canada experts. In Ontario, the government continues to follow the guidance of Health Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.   

Listen to an Ontario doctor talk about resources and expertise behind ensuring COVID-19 vaccines in Canada are safe and effective.   

Myth: The mRNA vaccines will change my DNA.

Fact: COVID-19 vaccines cannot change your DNA.   

mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) provide instruction to your cells for how to make the virus protein. This protein will trigger an immune response that will help to protect you against COVID-19. After the protein is made, your cells break down the mRNA and get rid of it. The mRNA vaccines never interact with your DNA .   

Learn more about approved vaccines in Canada and how they work by visiting the Government of Canada website.   

Myth: I am young and healthy. I don’t need to get the vaccine if I’m not at risk.

Fact: COVID-19 is a dangerous virus that can have life-threatening complications for individuals of any age and health. There is no way of knowing how it will affect someone.   

Anyone can get the virus, be contagious while not showing any symptoms and spread it to others in the community who are not yet immunized. Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect yourself, loved ones and community against COVID-19.   

Listen to an Ontario doctor explain why getting vaccinated is important.   

Myth: I had COVID-19, therefore I have antibodies and don’t need the vaccine.

Fact: Even if you have had COVID-19, you are not immune to the virus and should still get vaccinated.   

The spread of new variants remains a significant threat. You can still get the virus, be contagious while not showing any symptoms and spread it to others in the community who are not yet immunized. Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect yourself, loved ones and community against COVID-19.   

Listen to an Ontario doctor explain the protection vaccines offer people who have had COVID-19.   

Myth: I can still get COVID-19 after being vaccinated, so there is no point.

Fact: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine substantially reduces the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death from the virus.   

Vaccines help build your immunity, making your body stronger to fight it off. This can reduce your risk of developing COVID-19 if exposed and make your symptoms milder if infected. As with other immunizations, you can’t fully eliminate the risk of infection, however, vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and those around you from serious illness.   

Listen to an Ontario doctor explain why getting vaccinated is important.   

Myth: The vaccines contain the COVID-19 virus and will infect me.

Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada do not contain the virus. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines. 

Learn more about approved vaccines in Canada, how they work and ingredients, by visiting the Government of Canada website

Listen to a Canadian doctor explain why you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines.  

Myth: It is not safe to mix COVID-19 vaccines.

Fact: mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) can be used interchangeably because they use the same technology.

Mixing mRNA vaccines with AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD or other vaccines approved by Health Canada and those approved for travel to and within Canada (Covaxin, Sinovac, Sinopharm) is also safe.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that not only is it safe to complete a vaccine series by using different mixes of COVID-19 vaccines, but that it produces a stronger immune response. This is based on studies from the UK, Spain and Germany.

Listen to a Canadian doctor explain why mixing vaccines is safe. 

Myth: I am pregnant. It is safer to wait until after my pregnancy to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Fact: Evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and recommended if you are or plan to become pregnant. 

Studies have demonstrated that COVID-19 vaccines have no impact on pregnancy outcomes or medical complications during pregnancy.  

If you are pregnant, even early on, and become infected with COVID-19, you are at a higher risk of severe illness, as well as an increased risk of high blood pressure, premature delivery and stillbirth.  

Primary care providers, obstetricians, midwives, pediatricians, and infectious disease experts all recommend pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19. It is important that you stay up to date with vaccines and receive all recommended doses, including a booster dose.  

Listen to an Ontario doctor explain why it is important to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when pregnant and why it is safe for people who are pregnant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

Myth: I am breastfeeding. It is safer to wait until I am no longer breastfeeding to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Fact: It is safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding. 

Studies show that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding does not disrupt breastfeeding or have an adverse impact on your baby.  

Vaccines, including booster doses, protect you from COVID-19 infection and will help prevent you from passing it to your baby or other family members.  

Visit the Government of Ontario to learn more.