COVID Vaccine-Specific Information

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General Resources Covering many Topics: 

Approval for the vaccines is following the usual processes to ensure safety and efficacy. The process could be expedited because:

  • more resources were made available
  • resources / work were shifted from other projects to focus on the vaccine
  • global agencies have been working together and sharing data
  • trials were undertaken in areas with high risk of COVID-19 infection so it didn't take long to accrue data

The vaccines have been shown to be ~95% effective beginning one week (Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine) to two weeks (Moderna vaccine) after the 2nd dose. Therefore, individuals may not be optimally protected until 1-2 weeks after receiving the second dose.  Maximum duration of immunity is not yet known; data continue to be collected.


Short-term adverse effects are similar to those experienced with other vaccines and no safety concerns have been identified. Long-term adverse effects are not known, though most adverse effects of vaccines appear fairly soon after the dose.

A traditional vaccine delivers the antigen directly by using a weakened form of the virus, while the mRNA vaccine gives the "code" for the body to make the antigen. This then triggers the immune response to make antibodies, which in turn help to fight the virus if exposed at a later date.
No. The mRNA only goes into the cytosol of the cell. DNA (genetic information) is found in the nucleus of the cell, which the mRNA never enters.  
No, the same product must be used for both doses.

Saskatchewan is applying a phased approach.

Initial pilot project (mid-December 2020): Regina General Hospital

  • Healthcare workers in emergency departments, ICUs, COVID-19 wards, and COVID-19 testing & assessment staff at Regina General and Pasqua Hospitals

Phase 1 (expected end of December 2020): Priority populations at higher risk:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Staff and residents of long term care or personal care homes
  • Residents age 80 years old and older
  • Residents over the age of 50 living in remote northern communities

Phase 2 (expected April 2021): Widespread distribution of the vaccine

  • General population

Unfortunately, at this time, the duration of protection after receiving one or both doses is unknown. The vaccine clinical trials have only provided us with short-term data. In general, a patient receives the greatest-proportion of short-term protection after the first dose, and the purpose of additional doses is to extend protection over the longer term. However, the mRNA technology for the use in vaccines is new and data continues to be collected.