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 look 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 widely available in Ontario and free to anyone 12 years of age or older. Visit Ontario.ca/bookvaccine to schedule an appointment.

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

Covid Vaccine

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 will require all students, employees and visitors accessing our campuses and facilities to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Read the full update for more information. 

Why is the college introducing a mandatory vaccination policy?

Protecting the health, safety and well-being of our college community is Conestoga's highest priority. 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.

The policy is in accordance with direction provided by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

When do the new rules take effect?

Conestoga's COVID Community Safety Policy took effect on September 7, 2021.

Read the full update for more information. 

How does the vaccine requirement affect the fall term that starts September 2021?

The COVID Community Safety Policy took effect on September 7, 2021, and is intended to support the continued health and safety of students, employees and community members. Read the full update for more information. 

Academic delivery plans previously announced for fall 2021 remain unchanged. Campuses will be open for essential learning activities and services, while many students and employees continue to learn and work remotely.

Screening, masking, physical distancing, and other infection prevention and control measures as recommended by Public Health will continue through the fall semester.

We will gradually increase the availability of on-campus, in-person services and activities as conditions allow.

Why is Conestoga not re-opening fully for classes and activities in September 2021?

Public Health experts confirm that Ontario has entered a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with case rates and hospitalizations rising, largely the result of the highly transmissible Delta variant. Given the increased risks, the province has delayed any further reopening or easing of public health restrictions.

To reduce potential risks and meet our commitments to students and employees, Conestoga will continue to restrict on-campus activities for the fall 2021 semester, providing a safe environment for those who are required to be on campus for essential learning or work purposes while providing all members of our college community with sufficient time to adapt to new requirements.

The implementation of the mandatory vaccine protocol is expected to allow a return to more normal college operations beginning in January 2022. 

Is Conestoga the only college requiring vaccinations for on-campus students, employees and visitors?

Ontario's post-secondary institutions are introducing vaccine requirements to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and protect the safety and well-being of students and employees. This direction is supported by the Government of Ontario, the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, and local Public Health units. 

Who needs to be vaccinated under the policy?

All students, employees and visitors accessing Conestoga campuses will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Will I need to provide proof of vaccination?

Yes. Proof of Vaccination can be uploaded through Conestoga's Mobile Safety App.

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

Exemptions to the policy will be limited to those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, or on other grounds protected under Ontario's Human Rights Code.

Contact covid19questions@conestogac.on.ca for more information. 

I am an employee working remotely. Can I choose not to be vaccinated?

Proof of vaccination or an approved exemption will be required to access Conestoga campuses or facilities. All Conestoga employees, including those working remotely, are expected to be able to work on campus as required, so will need to meet vaccination requirements.

What happens if I choose not to get the vaccine or share my vaccination status?

As the policy is implemented, members of the college community, contractors or visitors who do not provide proof of vaccination or an approved exemption will not be permitted access to Conestoga campuses or facilities.

Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in Ontario and free to anyone 12 years of age or older.

Visit Ontario.ca/bookvaccine to schedule an appointment.

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.

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.

Listen to an Ontario doctor share what to expect after getting a vaccine shot.

As an international student living in Ontario, can I get vaccinated?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are free to anyone 12 years of age or older in Ontario. 

If you do not have an Ontario health card, contact your local public health unit for more information and to book an appointment.

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."

How does Canada define being 'fully vaccinated'?

In order to be considered fully vaccinated in Canada, individuals must have received the full series of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of approved vaccines. 

Visit the Government of Canada 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)

In order to be considered fully vaccinated in Canada, individuals must have received the full series of an approved COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of approved vaccines.

Visit the Government of Canada website to learn more.

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 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

I will be living in Conestoga Residence. Do I need to be vaccinated?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccinations are required for Conestoga students living in residence for the 2021-22 academic year. Visit the official announcement for more information.

Please visit FAQ: Residence for more details about requirements, safety measures, living arrangements and move-in day.

I plan on participating in varsity sports at Conestoga. Do I need to be vaccinated?

Yes. Conestoga student-athletes participating in varsity sports in fall 2021 will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Visit the official announcement for more information.

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.