The information on this page is intended to be used for general information only, and should not replace consultation with healthcare professionals. Please speak with a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions.
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Since the beginning of 2020, in response to the global outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Parkinson Society BC (PSBC) has been taking proactive measures to manage the potential for transmission.
PSBC remains committed to serving the Parkinson's community as we regularly monitor the situation. For official guidance on pandemic related precautions and news, please visit the Provincial Health Officer orders website.
Parkinson's Disease and Coronavirus Research
Recent meta-analysis conducted by Afraie et al. (2023) concluded:
- Mortality and hospitalization: Rates among elderly individuals with Parkinson's were comparable to the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Mental health: Increased prevalence of mental health disorders during the pandemic.
- Symptoms: Potential transient increase in Parkinson's symptoms noted.
- Variants: Current data insufficient to determine if newer variants pose greater risk.
Parkinson's Disease Specific Precautions
- Check your medications. Take inventory and reorder any that are running low.
- Talk to your doctor about the pneumonia vaccine. Seniors are most at risk to develop COVID-19 symptoms. While the pneumococcal vaccine does not provide protection against the new Coronavirus, vaccination against respiratory illness is highly recommended to protect your health (World Health Organization).
- Stock your Aware in Care kit in the event you need to educate a health care professional about your PD needs. Order one here.
- Have your Medical Alert Card handy. Keep it with you at all times. Print one here.
(Parkinson's Foundation, 2020)
Vaccines work by first exposing the immune system to a germ in small amounts, so if the body is exposed to the same germ at later date, it is “armed and ready” to fight it off. Traditionally, the original exposure to the germ was a weakened or inactive version of the targeted germ. With newer vaccines, the body is exposed not to a weakened germ, but to a specific type of mRNA. The mRNA instructs cells to produce a particular protein, which in the case of the COVID-19 vaccines, is a protein found on the surface of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Thus, when you are injected with a COVID-19 vaccine, your cells will produce this coronavirus protein in small amounts, which your immune system will immediately recognize as a threat. Your body will then begin to build an immune response by creating antibodies. These antibodies will remain in your body, so if you were to be exposed to the coronavirus after immunization, your body would know how to defend itself and naturally overcome the disease.
COVID-19 vaccines are administered by a small injection into the muscle of the shoulder. Typical side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are minimal, and do not pose any health risk. These may include pain at the injection site, body chills, fatigue, and mild fever. With any vaccine, there is a rare possibility of allergic reaction and other immune responses. Vaccines, like other treatments, must weigh the risks of getting the vaccine (minimal) vs. the risk of not getting the vaccine the potential for developing COVID-19. Speak to your doctor about any serious allergies or concerns you may have before being vaccinated.
As variants of coronavirus are rapidly changing, we recommend obtaining your vaccination information and options from the official source on the COVID-19 Immunization page of the Province of British Columbia's website.
Please note that starting in October 2023, everyone 6 months and older can get an updated influenza (flu) and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.
(Last updated October 30, 2023)