Health and Safety

COVID-19 Vaccines: Your Questions Answered

COVID-19 Vaccines: Your Questions Answered

Getting vaccinated is a critical part of progressing to a post-pandemic world and getting back to doing what we love to do. To help get us there faster, everyone across Teck is strongly encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as you can – if medically able – to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community.

The continuing deployment of COVID-19 vaccines around the world has generated a number of new questions from employees. Below are some of the most common questions about the vaccines, with responses from Dr. Joshua Tepper, Teck's Chief Medical Officer.

  1. The COVID-19 vaccines were produced in record time. How do I know these were produced without compromising on safety and efficacy?

The COVID-19 vaccines were produced so quickly because of the unprecedented amount of money, research capacity and other resources that were invested in their development. Scientists based these vaccines on decades of knowledge about how to make vaccines that are safe and effective.

No short cuts were taken, no steps were missed in the approval process, and no safety measures were compromised in producing the vaccines available today. More than 3.2 billion vaccines have already been safely administered worldwide, with millions more being delivered every day.

  1. Do COVID-19 vaccines work?

Yes. The approved COVID-19 vaccines work extremely well. They lead to far fewer people getting sick and dramatically reduce the chances of dying from COVID-19. But we need to be vigilant and make sure more people continue to get vaccinated in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect ourselves, our loved ones and those who are most vulnerable.

  1. How do these vaccines work?

Like all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines stimulate the body’s immune system, getting it ready to fight the COVID-19 virus. This way, if you are infected with the virus, your body can immediately keep you from getting sick.

  1. Do the COVID-19 vaccines work against variants?

Yes. There is very strong statistical evidence that the vaccines do work to offer protection against new variants of concern, especially once people are fully vaccinated.

  1. How long does protection from COVID-19 vaccines last?

As these vaccines are new, we currently do not know how long immunity from COVID-19 will last. Experts are continuing to monitor how long immunity lasts and how effective the vaccines are at addressing COVID-19 variants. What we do know is that the vaccines are working very well and the sooner we get most people vaccinated the sooner we can safely return to normal.

  1. I’ve already had COVID-19. Why do I have to get vaccinated?

While having COVID-19 may give you some immunity for a limited time, you will still need to be vaccinated to be properly protected.

  1. Why should I get a vaccine if I can still contract COVID-19 later?

The goal of vaccines is not to prevent infection completely. Rather, the goal of the vaccines is to prevent serious symptoms that may put you at the risk of potentially life-threatening complications and death. They also help reduce the chance of you infecting other people if you are infected.

Vaccines are designed to help you fight the virus with minimal symptoms and complications should you get infected.

  1. Why should I get vaccinated if everyone else does?

While a vaccine protects the person who gets vaccinated, they may still be able to give you COVID-19 if you are not vaccinated, putting you at risk of serious illness, long-term health problems and death.

  1. Will we need booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Research is still underway regarding the efficacy and need for booster shots to maintain immunity against COVID-19. We hope to know more about booster shots later in 2021.

  1. Can the vaccines change my DNA or give me COVID?

No. The COVID-19 vaccines will not change your DNA. While you might have a sore arm or feel a bit unwell for a couple of days after getting vaccinated, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines.

It is impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

  1. What are the side effects of receiving the vaccine?

Most side effects of the vaccine are short-lived and not severe: tenderness or mild soreness at the injection site, general muscle aches, headache or low fevers. These symptoms typically don’t last more than two days. Any over-the-counter pain and fever medications will help improve symptoms.

  1. What if I have had a major allergic reaction to a vaccine before?

It is extremely rare to have a severe allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccines. Before getting vaccinated, you will be asked about key considerations, such as a history of allergic reactions. If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, it is important that you speak to a medical professional.

There is no gluten, egg or antibiotics in the vaccine.

  1. If I am vaccinated, will I still have to wear a mask at work?

Yes. You will need to continue wearing a mask at work for now. While a vaccine protects the person who is vaccinated, that person may still be able to give COVID-19 to others who are not vaccinated. Right now, getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, your co-workers and your community. Getting vaccinated is a critical part of progressing to a post-pandemic world, where we no longer need to wear masks to protect us from COVID-19. 

  1. I’m young. Do I still need to be worried about COVID-19?

Yes. Unfortunately, there are several variants now circulating, some of which are of concern. Variants of concern are more virulent and dangerous than the original COVID-19. They are making even young people, who did not exhibit strong symptoms with the original COVID-19, very sick, a lot faster. Young people can also develop ‘long haul COVID’, which has serious symptoms that can last for months or longer.

  1. Does the vaccine affect female fertility?

There is no evidence vaccines affect fertility and COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe in pregnancy. Pregnant women are encouraged to get vaccinated because infection with COVID-19 can be more serious for pregnant women. In women who are pregnant and vaccinated, evidence is showing that the vaccine not only protects the mother, but the baby as well.

  1. Does Teck require employees to have a COVID-19 vaccine?

We strongly encourage you to be vaccinated to protect yourself, your loved ones and those who are most vulnerable. Getting vaccinated is a critical part of progressing to a post-pandemic world where we no longer need masks to protect us and where things like travel, getting together with our friends and families, and large celebrations and events will be possible again.

  1. Where can I find more information on COVID-19 vaccines?

If you are looking for more information on COVID-19 vaccines, we recommend connecting with a medical professional. You can also visit the many trusted online sources of information, including official government websites and major public healthcare organizations, like hospitals and medical universities.

Please note, responses reflect best available evidence at this point in time.

Online sources to consider:

Canada

Government of Canada – Vaccines for COVID-19
Province of B.C. – COVID-19 Immunization Plan
BC Centre for Disease Control
Province of Alberta – COVID-19 vaccine program

Chile

Government of Chile – National COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
Government of Chile – Step by Step, We Take Care of Ourselves
Government of Chile – Ministry of Health

U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
State of Alaska – COVID-19 Vaccine Status Update
State of Washington – COVID-19 Vaccine

International

World Health Organization – COVID-19 Vaccines