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.

Submit proof of vaccination


Proof of vaccination can be uploaded online or through the Conestoga Mobile Safety app. You will need a copy of your vaccination receipt.

All students, employees and visitors will be required to provide proof of immunization to access Conestoga campuses and facilities by January 2, 2022.

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.      

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.       

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.

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 and facilities will need to be fully vaccinated (as defined by the Government of Canada) against COVID-19 as of January 2, 2022.       

How does Canada 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/COVISHELD, Janssen) 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 

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)

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. 

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.       

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.       

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 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.       

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."       

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.

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

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.