Vaccination remains the best defence against the most serious consequences of COVID-19 infection. All Conestoga students and employees are strongly encouraged to keep up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses when eligible, to help keep our community safe.
The health and well-being of the Conestoga community continue to be top priority. We will continue to monitor conditions and consult with public health advisors and may adjust plans based on guidance as the pandemic evolves.
Book a vaccine appointment
COVID-19 vaccines are available in Ontario. Schedule an appointment at a clinic or pharmacy.
Take the Government of Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment if you have any symptoms of illness or have tested positive for COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines available at the Medical Care Clinic
The new Moderna monovalent vaccine that targets the Omicron XBB variant is now available for students and employees at the Medical Care Clinic at the Kitchener - Doon campus (1A102). In alignment with the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations, the Ministry of Health recommends vaccination with a COVID-19 XBB formulation this fall, which better protects against the new Omicron XBB variant. Individuals aged six months and older are recommended to receive a dose of an XBB vaccine if it has been six months since their last COVID-19 vaccine or known COVID-19 infection.
Appointments can be scheduled online using the booking link or by calling 519-748-5220 ext. 3679. Individuals must bring their health card to the appointment or government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s licence or passport, if not a resident of Ontario.
Do I need to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to access Conestoga campuses and sites?
Conestoga has paused proof of vaccination requirements at all campus and site locations.
We continue to monitor conditions and consult with public health advisors. It may be necessary to bring back vaccine requirements on short notice to protect the health and well-being of our college community and create a safe environment for those who are most vulnerable.
Students are encouraged to keep up to date with COVID-19 vaccines to avoid disruptions to their educational experience should it be necessary to reinstate the policy.
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.
Immunization prevents the spread and reduces the impact of COVID-19. All Conestoga students and employees are strongly encouraged to keep up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses when eligible.
Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect yourself, loved ones and community against COVID-19.
I am fully vaccinated. Do I really need booster doses?
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.
Government of Ontario to learn more.
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.
Government of Ontario for more information.
When should I get booster doses?
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.
Booster doses can be taken at an interval of six months between completion of a primary series or between booster doses.
Government of Ontario to learn more and
schedule an appointment for your booster when you are eligible. Appointments are also available to Conestoga students and employees at the college's
Medical Care Clinic at the Kitchener – Doon campus.
I had COVID-19. Do I still need booster doses?
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.
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.
Government of Ontario for more information.
I am an international student. Can I receive booster doses?
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.
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.
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:
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
- Medicago Covifenz
The Government of Canada has approved additional vaccines acceptable for travel to and within Canada:
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.
Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines are free and widely available in Ontario.
Visit Ontario.ca/book-vaccine 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.
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,
- 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.
- Government of Canada: Vaccines for COVID-19
- Government of Ontario: COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario
- Region of Waterloo: COVID-19 Vaccine
- Brant County Health Unit: COVID-19 Vaccines
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health: COVID-19 Vaccine Information
- Huron Perth Public Health: COVID-19 Vaccine
- World Health Organization: COVID-19 Vaccines