Child and Youth COVID-19 Vaccines
All children and youth who are five years of age and older are eligible to get the first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccines approved for their age group.
On Friday, February 18, 2022, Ontario is expanding booster dose eligibility to youth aged 12 to 17. Youth can receive their booster dose six months (168 days) after a second dose. To book an appointment online, individuals must be 12 years old at the time of appointment.
COVID-19 vaccines are available free at the following locations:
Booking Your COVID-19 Vaccine
Importance of getting children and youth vaccinated against COVID-19
A COVID-19 vaccine can prevent your child from getting sick with COVID-19 and from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others.
Ontario data has shown that the majority of people who get seriously sick with COVID-19 (e.g., are hospitalized or in the ICU) are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can also help keep your child in school and more safely participate and play with other children during playdates, sleepovers and while playing sports and other group activities. Vaccine protection can also help prevent spreading the virus to family members at higher risk or who are unable to be vaccinated.
While children and youth who get infected with COVID-19 typically experience mild symptoms, some can get very sick, resulting in hospitalization, ICU admission or even death. Others can experience serious and longer-lasting symptoms (i.e. long COVID-19, post-acute COVID-19 syndrome).
The Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine is approved for children and youth. Children aged five to 11 will receive the paediatric Pfizer vaccine, which is a distinct formulation at a lower dose of one-third the amount given to individuals aged 12 and older.
You can find more information here: COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth | COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario
Approval and recommendations
COVID-19 vaccines are only provided if informed consent is received from the person to be vaccinated, including those aged 12 to 17, and as long as you have the capacity to make this decision. This means that you understand:
- what vaccination involves,
- why it is being recommended; and
- the risks and benefits of accepting or refusing to be vaccinated.
Even if you are able to provide informed consent, it would be a good idea to talk about this decision with your parent/guardian or an adult you trust such as your principal or a teacher. If you are not able to consent to receiving the vaccine, you require consent from your substitute decision-maker, such as their parent or legal guardian.
The Health Care Consent Act is an Ontario law about consent to treatment. You can see the Health Care Consent Act here: Health Care Consent Act, 1996, S.O. 1996, c. 2, Sched. A (ontario.ca).
Individuals are capable of consent if they are able to understand information relevant to deciding whether to consent to the collection, use or disclosure of their personal health information, and to appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of giving, not giving, withholding or withdrawing their consent. If the child is less than 16 years old, a parent of the child or a children’s aid society or other person who is lawfully entitled to give or refuse consent in the place of the parent may also give, withhold or withdraw consent. However, this does not apply in the context of information that relates to treatment within the meaning of the Health Care Consent Act, about which children have made a decision on their own, or counselling in which children have participated on their own under the Child and Family Services Act. A parent does not include a parent who has only a right of access to the child. If there is a conflict between a capable child who is less than 16 years old, and the person who is entitled to act as the child’s substitute decision-maker, the decision of the capable child regarding giving, withholding or withdrawing consent prevails. For more information visit: phipa-faq.pdf (ipc.on.ca).
Frequently Asked Questions
The most common side effect is a sore arm (pain, swelling and/or redness at the site of injection).
Other side effects that your child may experience as their bodies are building up protection include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea. These will go away within a few days.
Some children have no side effects.
No new serious side effects were seen in the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty®️) vaccine trials for children.
A severe allergic reaction (called “anaphylaxis”) after vaccination, is extremely rare (0.0002 - 0.0008%, or 2-8 per million doses for age 12+) and when it does happen, vaccination providers have medicines available that they can use to effectively and immediately treat the reaction.
You will be asked to stay for 15-30 minutes after you get your vaccine so your child can be observed and provided treatment in the rare case it is needed.
Myocarditis and pericarditis are rare side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine. This type of inflammation happens most frequently in young males after their second dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and in most cases can be treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medicines. While there is a small risk of this condition after vaccination, the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis is much higher among those who contract COVID-19.
Very rare cases of inflammation have been reported after COVID-19 vaccination. Cases reported were more commonly adolescent and young males after the second dose. Cases experienced mild illness and responded well to treatment and rest and symptoms improved quickly.
No cases of myocarditis or pericarditis were reported in the clinical trial for children ages 5–11 years.
Myocarditis and pericarditis happen more often in people with COVID-19 infection.
For more information, visit:
Long-term side effects are not expected from mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. mRNA does not stay in the cell longer than needed to generate immunity and is expelled from the body within a few days to a week.
Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects tend to happen within the first six weeks after vaccination and safety data submitted for children ages 5-11 includes data for a minimum of two months following the second dose. Safety monitoring is ongoing by both Health Canada, PHAC and monitoring agencies around the world.