Who should get the vaccine and who should not? - Jessica K. Summerfield MD, BScN, CCFP

Jan 29, 2021




*Please note that this article is currently being updated to reflect the most up to date information. Check back soon for an update.

Who should get the vaccine?

Almost everyone should get the vaccine.  Because the vaccines are not live viruses, you will not be getting the coronavirus, you’ll be getting a little piece of messenger RNA that produces a protein. There is no actual infection.

The mRNA vaccine trials did not include pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, so there are only limited data available on their safety. However, information is constantly evolving. The Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health (PCMCH) is continually reviewing evidence on the impact of COVID-19 in pregnancy. The PCMCH website further describes COVID-19 risks in pregnancy and the right for pregnant and breastfeeding individuals to be vaccinated (https://www.pcmch.on.ca/new-covid-19-in-pregnancy-update/). Have a discussion with your physician or healthcare provider who can advise you based on your personal health risks, exposures to the virus that causes COVID-19 and your preferences. 

If you have had a severe allergic reaction from things such as food, pets, venom, the environment or latex allergies, or a history of allergies to oral medications, you should still get vaccinated. Everyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored on site. If you have had a severe allergic reaction or have had any type of immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy, you should be monitored for at least 30 minutes.  And for all others, you should be monitored for at least 15 minutes after getting the vaccine.

Most people with cancer or a history of cancer should also get the COVID-19 vaccine. Discuss the risks and benefits of getting the vaccine with your oncologist. They can advise you and tell you when you should receive it. 

Who should not get the vaccine?

If you have had a severe allergic reaction (also known as anaphylaxis) to the first dose of the COVID vaccine, you will not be given the 2nd dose.

Those who are very sick on a ventilator with the COVID virus should not get the vaccine as their immune system is not working the way it should as it would out in the community.

If you have had COVID-19, wait until your symptoms have cleared and you are back to your usual state of health. Having COVID is not a reason for not getting the vaccine at some point in the future.

Further Reading:

Ontario Health, Cancer Care Ontario – The COVID-19 Vaccine and Cancer: Frequently Asked Questions 

About the Expert:

Dr. Jessica Summerfield

Dr. Jessica K. Summerfield MD, BScN, CCFP first studied nursing at Western University and worked as a nurse in Windsor for two years before returning to medical school. Dr. Summerfield is President of the Essex County Medical Society, and an Adjunct Professor at the Schulich School of Medicine. She is also a Family Physician and Hospitalist.

More Resources:

WE-SPARK Health Institute Resource Hub