Vaccination for children and youth

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Click here for clinic schedule and booking information 

Children aged 6 months to under 5 years can receive the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine (slightly modified lower dose). 

Children aged 5-11 can receive the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine.

Children aged 12 and over can receive the adult dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

COVID-19 vaccine appointments can be booked online.

For clinic schedule and booking information, click here.

Please note: 

  • Children must be at least six months old at the time of the appointment.
  • Separate clinics are offered for people aged 5+ and for children aged 6 months to under 5 years.

Why should my child get vaccinated?

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread and reduce the impact of infectious diseases, from the seasonal flu to childhood illnesses like chickenpox. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and it works. Vaccines are the most effective tool we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine does not cause a coronavirus infection. It helps build up your child’s immunity to reduce the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 and can make symptoms milder. 

Why should parents and caregivers get their children vaccinated? Previous reports showed that children who got COVID-19 typically had mild symptoms.

Not all children have only mild symptoms. Vaccination is the best and safest way to protect all children, including those aged six months to under five years. Having children vaccinated also protects their family members, especially family members who are at risk of more severe illness.

Vaccines are safe

Health Canada has approved the use of the Moderna vaccine for people aged 6 months and over and has approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for people aged 5 and over. These vaccines have undergone a thorough vaccine approval process. They have been proven to:

  • be safe, effective, and manufactured to the highest quality
  • result in a strong immune response and prepare the immune system to fight against COVID-19
  • significantly decrease the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 
  • significantly decrease the risk of longer-term illness from multiple inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a rare but serious condition that can occur in the weeks following a COVID-19 infection

For children and youth aged 5-17, Pfizer is the preferred vaccine. This is because the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis, while still extremely low, is higher with the Moderna vaccine than with Pfizer.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth, click here

Vaccines help keep kids from getting sick again if they already had COVID-19

Even if a child already had COVID-19, vaccination is still important. While infection alone provides some protection, vaccination after a COVID-19 infection helps further improve the immune response. Studies in adults show that vaccination after infection provides stronger and longer-lasting protection. Vaccination remains one of the most effective ways for people to protect themselves, their families, and their communities against severe outcomes from COVID-19.

When should my child get their first and second doses?

Everyone aged six months or over at the time of their appointment is currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

To provide the strongest possible protection, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends waiting eight weeks between the first and second doses. This is based on evidence in adults that suggests longer timing between doses results in a stronger immune response and higher, longer-lasting vaccine effectiveness. This longer timing may be associated with a lower risk of myocarditis and/or pericarditis. 

For more information about who can get vaccinated, click here

When should my child get a booster dose?

A booster dose is recommended six months (168 days) after a second dose. You must be at least 12 years old at the time of your appointment. Children aged 6 months-11 years are currently not eligible for booster doses. 

What is a three-dose primary series for children and youth who are immunocompromised?

For children and youth who are immunocompromised, the primary COVID-19 vaccine series should include three doses. These children and youth can get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine eight weeks (56 days) after their second dose as part of the primary series.

In addition, immunocompromised youth aged 12-17 can get a fourth dose (booster) six months (168 days) after their third dose. They can also get a fifth dose (second booster) six months (168 days) after their fourth dose.

Eligible children and youth will need to provide their prescription, prescription vial, or a referral from a health care provider at the time of their appointment. Speak to your child’s health care provider for more information.

What is the recommended timing between a previous COVID-19 infection and COVID-19 vaccination? 

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and the Government of Ontario recommend that if your child had COVID-19, they should wait eight weeks after symptoms began or they tested positive (whichever came first) before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine dose, except:

  • Children with moderate to severe immunocompromised conditions should wait four to eight weeks after symptoms began or they tested positive (whichever came first) before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine dose.
  • Children who have had multiple inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a rare but serious condition that can occur in the weeks following a COVID-19 infection, should receive the vaccine dose when they have recovered or more than 90 days since MIS-C began, whichever is longer.

If you do not want to wait eight weeks, your child may receive their COVID-19 vaccine with informed consent once they have no symptoms and have completed their isolation.

What are the possible short- and long-term side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine for children?

COVID-19 vaccines, like all medicines, can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them.

The most common short-term side effects for children include

  • redness and pain at the injection site
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • chills
  • muscle aches 
  • loss of appetite

These side effects are typically mild to moderate. On average, they did not last longer than three days. Side effects can be a sign that your child’s body is working to develop their immunity. 

Serious allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are very rare and can be treated. To be safe, everyone who gets vaccinated is monitored for at least 15 minutes in case an allergic reaction occurs.

Following any vaccine, the vast majority of severe reactions occur within six weeks of receiving the vaccine. In the clinical trials, children were monitored up to 103 days after receiving their first dose of vaccine and no safety signals were identified.

The benefits of getting vaccinated and being protected against COVID-19 far outweigh the risks of any side effects from the vaccine. COVID-19 infection may cause longer-lasting symptoms and health problems for some people, including children, so it’s important that children get vaccinated as soon as possible.

All vaccines are monitored for safety, and serious side effects are extremely rare. Adverse events following immunization (AEFIs) are tracked and reported. For more information about AEFIs and AEFI reporting in Ontario, click here

For more information about possible side effects, click here

Kid- and family-friendly resources: Learn all about the COVID-19 vaccine

  • Children were invited to share messages on clinic white boards after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine.  Please enjoy these snapshots of their creative messages and drawings.

 

Additional resources for parents

Preparing your child for vaccination

Needles can be scary for some children and their parents. The CARD system (Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract) provides strategies to use before and during vaccination to make the experience a more positive one for you and your child. For more information about these strategies, click here.

 

 

After vaccination

Be positive and help your child feel good about the experience. Avoid focusing on the pain. Give praise to your child with phrases like, “You did a fantastic job,” or “Now you know you can do it!” 
Review any information your health care provider gives you about vaccines, especially information that describes any mild reactions that might happen. These reactions are normal and will go away very quickly. For more information about side effects, click here

It’s okay to still have questions about the vaccine. If you do, you can…

  • speak with your healthcare provider, pharmacist, or call THU at 866-747-4305, Ext. 6. 
  • contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre to speak to an experienced agent or health specialist at 1-833-943-3900. This service is available in more than 300 languages, seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired, or speech-impaired: 1-866-797-0007.
  • book a confidential appointment with a registered nurse through the SickKids COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service at www.sickkids.ca/vaccineconsult or 1-888-304-6558. Appointments are available in multiple languages.
  • Visit the links below or our Vaccine Resources webpage for more information

For more information about vaccination for children and youth, visit:

 

 

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